WATERBURY, Conn. – Senior outfielder Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla.) batted a combined 7 for 9 with four extra-base hits to lead the Felician University baseball team to victories in both ends of its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader with host Post University on Saturday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. Felician claimed the first game by a 16-10 count before winning Game 2, 3-2.
Each team entered the day leading its respective six-team CACC division. Felician (24-18, 18-6) maintained its three-game edge over second-place Chestnut Hill College in the South Division with eight conference games remaining. The Golden Falcons are ranked No. 7 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll. Municipal Stadium is the site of the main draw of the 2019 CACC Championship tournament from May 9-11.
Despite having played a seven-plus hour doubleheader in Delaware the previous day, the Golden Falcons came out clicking on offense. After the first three innings of Game 1, Felician built a 9-4 lead. An RBI double by Danny Healey Jr. (Brookhaven, Pa.) in the fifth handed the Golden Falcons a six-run lead, but the Eagles pushed across two runs in the fifth, then received a two-run single from Evan Schaffner (Boynton Beach, Fla.) in the seventh to pull to within 10-8.
Felician renewed its breathing room in the eighth. The Golden Falcons took advantage of two Eagle errors and a two-run single by junior catcher Gino Tortoriello (New Egypt, N.J.). The visitors used four extra-base hits to tack on three runs in the ninth.
The Golden Falcons worked four Eagle pitchers for 17 hits – including eight doubles and a triple – and nine walks. Junior right-hander Alex Schwartz (Voorhees, N.J.) (5-1) benefited from the explosion, starting on three days' rest and laboring through five innings. He allowed six runs (four earned) on 10 hits.
Mike Martinez (Union City, N.J.) tied a Felician record with three doubles while driving in four runs. Healey went 4 for 5 with two doubles, three runs, three RBI and two steals, while Aponte was 4 for 6 with two doubles, a triple, three runs and two RBI. Leadoff man L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J.) scored three runs and swiped three bags.
Game 2, a scheduled seven-inning affair, saw Felician senior Will Kazura (Linwood, N.J.), also starting on short rest, match up with Post freshman Chris Torres (Simi Valley, Calif.). The Eagles struck first. Nicholas Gastin (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) led off the bottom of the second with a double and was immediately brought home on a single by Danny Di Marzo (Fishkill, N.Y.).
Felician scored all of its runs in the fourth. After a double play left none on with two outs, Jordan Folgers (Moriches, N.Y.) and Aponte rapped consecutive singles. Jasson Corniel (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) followed with a double to deep left field that allowed Aponte to circle around from first base to give the Golden Falcons the lead for good. Tortoriello came up with a run-scoring single for a 3-1 Felician advantage.
The Eagles left the bases loaded without scoring in the home half of the fourth. When an error extended the Eagle fifth inning and placed the potential tying run at second base, Felician turned directly to closer Nick Nardulli (Staten Island, N.Y.), who recorded a strikeout to escape the jam.
Post reliever Brett Pisaneschi (East Quogue, N.Y.) kept the Golden Falcons off the scoreboard the rest of the way, working around a leadoff triple by Aponte in the sixth. Nardulli avoided trouble after a single opened the sixth. He ran into trouble in the seventh, though, as Tyler Melko (Knoxville, Pa.) tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly. Nardulli issued a walk, but a flyout and strikeout ended the game.
Aponte was 3 for 3 and Folgers 2 for 4 for Felician, which out-hit the Eagles, 8-7. Kazura (3-2) allowed five hits and struck out six over 4 2/3, and Nardulli needed 44 pitches for his second seven-out save of the season and his league-leading eighth overall.
In defeat, Torres (0-3) allowed six hits and three walks during five innings while striking out four. Melko and Gastin were each 2 for 4.
Felician, which is 7-1 versus members of the CACC North, faces another interdivision foe on Apr. 17, meeting Concordia (N.Y.) College for a 1 p.m. doubleheader in Bronxville, N.Y.