MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – An eighth-inning solo home run proved to be the difference as Felician University dropped a 3-2 non-conference baseball decision to LIU Post on Friday evening on Crosley Field at the Ripken Experience Complex. The game was played as part of the Northeast Challenge.
LIU Post is ranked No. 9 and Felician No. 10 in the preseason NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll.
Felician, the designated visiting team, pushed home a run in the top of the sixth inning to even the score at 2-2. Jordan Folgers (Moriches, N.Y.) drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second base, and scored on Sean Downey's (Elizabeth, N.J.) two-out single to left field.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth. Senior right-hander Tony Rivera (Staten Island, N.Y.) took the mound as the Golden Falcons' third pitcher of the day. But the first batter he faced, Pioneer senior designated hitter Michael Manzione (Glen Cove, N.Y.), sent a drive over the center field fence for a go-ahead homer. Rivera (0-1) retired the next three Post hitters, but Felician was left with only one chance to tie or take the lead.
The Pioneers (1-4) sent freshman righty Joshua Loeschorn (Butler, N.J.) out to attempt to close the game. Felician graduate student Ronnie Sessa (Chester, N.J.) however, led off with a pinch-hit single. Freshman Jake Stoller (Merion Station, Pa.) executed a sacrifice, and Sessa advanced to third on a wild pitch while Mike Martinez (Union City, N.J.) was at the plate.
Martinez eventually sent a chopping ground ball toward the first base position. Sessa broke, and Post first-sacker Andy Camilo (Bronx, N.Y.) threw home. Sessa was called out on a very close play. With Martinez on first, L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J.) walked, but Loeschorn followed with a strikeout to secure the Pioneer victory.
LIU Post moved ahead with two unearned runs in the third. The Pioneers used a walk, a hit batsman and a bunt single and took advantage of two Golden Falcon errors.
Felician (0-5) out-hit the Pioneers, 7-5. Struble was 2 for 3, and Anthony Condito (Nutley, N.J.) hit a second-inning home run to open the scoring. Post sophomore lefty Michael Andreoli (Wantagh, N.Y.) (1-0) struck out four batters in three-innings of shutout, two-hit relief to earn the victory.
Golden Falcon starter Alex Schwartz (Voorhees, N.J.) did not allow an earned run in a five-inning no-decision. He gave up four hits and two walks while striking out two.
Felician faces another regionally-ranked club, the University of New Haven, on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Myrtle Beach.