Baseball Takes Two From Regionally-Ranked Dominican; Streak At 8

Left-handed baseball batter in green jersey squaring to bunt.
L.T. Struble was 5 for 8 with two home runs and six runs scored in a Mar. 30, 2019, sweep of Dominican. (Dave Schofield)

LYNDHURST, N.J. – Senior shortstop L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) hit a pair of inside-the-park home runs and sophomore right-hander Nick Nardulli (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville) recorded a seven-out save as Felician University earned a 6-1 Game 2 victory over visiting Dominican (N.Y.) College and a sweep of the teams' Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex. Felician had captured Saturday's opening game, 12-8.

The games paired division leaders in the CACC. Felician (16-14, 10-2 CACC), which has won eight consecutive contests, completed a day with a winning record for the first time this season. Dominican is ranked No. 8 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll.

Struble, Felician's leadoff batter, went 5 for 8 on the day with six runs scored, four runs batted in and three stolen bases.

The Golden Falcons needed only one hit, a leadoff Struble single, to open a 2-0 first inning lead. Struble stole second and third bases and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Danny Healey Jr. (Brookhaven, Pa./Monsignor Bonner), who had been hit by a pitch, came home on a passed ball.

With two on and one out in the second, an opposite field fly ball by the left-handed hitting Struble beat the left fielder and rolled to the fence, allowing Struble to circle the bases and putting the hosts ahead, 5-0. Dominican (14-11, 7-5) scratched a run across in the fourth off Golden Falcon senior left-hander Jacob Nappi (Little Silver, N.J./Red Bank Regional), but left three men on base.

After having their first two batters retired, the Chargers loaded the bases again in the fifth. Felician turned to Nardulli, who had thrown 19 pitches to finish Game 1. On a 1-and-2 count, Nardulli retired the side on a fly ball.

Struble split the gap in left-center and again raced around the bags to lead off the sixth. He finished 3 for 3 with three runs scored and four RBI. Nardulli worked around a one-out walk in the sixth before pitching a perfect seventh for his fifth save of the season. Nappi (4-3) allowed six hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Felician recovered from an early 4-0 deficit to claim Game 1. The Golden Falcons cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the third on a Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge) sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Healey. During the next inning, the hosts took the lead for good, plating three runs on just one hit, Aponte's run-scoring infield single.

Felician broke the game open with four unearned runs in the sixth. With the Golden Falcons clinging to an 11-7 lead in the seventh, Kyle O'Neill (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) came on relief with the bases loaded, two outs, and a 2-and-0 count on the batter. After falling behind, 3-and-0, O'Neill recovered and recorded a strikeout.

Junior Jasson Corniel (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/CENAPEC) joined Struble, Aponte and Healey with two hits each, and Sean Downey (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) had a triple and scored twice for Felician. Sophomore righty Michael Gutierrez (Garfield, N.J./Garfield) (4-3) labored through five-plus innings for the victory, yielding four earned runs on six hits. He struck out five batters but walked seven. Dominican leadoff batter Kennee Torres (Yonkers, N.Y./All Hallows) went 4 for 6 with a double and two RBI.

Felician travels to Philadelphia on Wednesday for a noon doubleheader against the Jefferson Rams.