MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Felician University baseball team concluded its four-day, four-game stay at the Northeast Challenge with a 16-8 non-conference victory over Molloy College on Sunday afternoon on Griffith Field at the Ripken Experience complex. Felician (1-6) snapped a season-opening six-game losing streak.
Molloy is ranked No. 8 and Felician No. 10 in the preseason NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll.
The Golden Falcons, who, as the designated home team, scored in seven of their eight offensive innings, produced six doubles and three home runs among their 15-hit attack. Freshman catcher Jake Gilbert (Valrico, Fla.) hit his first collegiate round-tripper, and senior Danny Healey Jr. (Brookhaven, Pa.) and junior Mike Martinez (Union City, N.J.) also went deep for Felician.
Molloy (0-4) took the lead after the top of each of the first three frames, but each time, Felician answered in the bottom half. Trailing, 4-2, the Golden Falcons took the lead for good after Healey's two-out drive left the field inches inside the left field foul pole in the bottom of the third for a three-run home run.
Felician broke the game open with four more runs in the fourth. Martinez and Anthony Condito (Nutley, N.J.) came up with one-out run-scoring singles, and Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla.) drove in another run with a groundout. Healey capped the rally with an RBI single.
Felician lifted starting pitcher Will Kazura (Linwood, N.J.) after four stanzas, and the Lions crept within 9-6 after plating a pair off the Golden Falcon bullpen in the fifth. Sophomore Tyler Pepper (Shoreham, N.Y.) entered to escape a bases-loaded, two out jam in the inning. Pepper and classmate Nick Nardulli (Staten Island, N.Y.) combined to strike out four batters over 3 1/3 scoreless innings to allow the Felician offense to pull away.
The Golden Falcons scored seven times in their final three at-bats. Back-to-back homers by Martinez and Gilbert highlighted a four-run seventh.
Kazura (1-0) was credited with the victory via the NCAA's "prearrangement" rule. He was charged with four earned runs on six hits while striking out two batters. Condito was 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI, and Martinez scored four runs and drove in three while going 2 for 5 plus a walk from the leadoff spot. Healey (four RBI), Gilbert (three runs), and Ronnie Sessa (Chester, N.J.) (double, three runs) also had two hits each for Felician.
Junior Sean Hogan (East Meadow, N.Y.) hit a first-inning home run for Molloy, which had 14 hits but left 13 runnerson base. Lion seniors Michael Wall (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and Nick Marino (Plainview, N.Y.) each had a double among three hits.
The Golden Falcons are off until playing Queens (N.Y.) College on Mar. 5 in Lantana, Fla.