LYNDHURST, N.J. – Felician University rode strong starting pitching performances from junior left-hander Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and senior righty Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J./Middlesex) to earn a pair of Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference baseball victories over visiting Nyack College on Saturday evening at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex. Felician survived a ninth-inning uprising from the Warriors for a 7-5 Game 1 win before claiming the nightcap, 5-2.
Junior shortstop Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) had a double, a triple, and two runs scored in each game for the Golden Falcons (12-6, 4-0), who are ranked fourth in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll.
Polgano (2-1) was dominant from the beginning in Game 1. He retired his first 12 hitters, including six by strikeout. He needed only 96 pitches (72 strikes) to work through eight frames, allowing no runs on four hits with a career-high 11 strikeouts and no walks.
The Golden Falcon offense staked Polgano to an early lead. In the bottom of the first, Strickland led off with a windblown triple and scored on a wild pitch. Felician put its next two runners on base, and Price, starting as the designated hitter, brought them both in with a double to left-center field. The hosts tacked on two runs on three hits in the third.
The score remained 5-0 until Andrew LaMura's (Brick, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) RBI double in the sixth. Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) led off the seventh with a solo home run, and Polgano handed the ball to the bullpen in the ninth.
Nyack pounced, using a Felician error, three hits, a walk and two wild pitches to tally five times. The game turned into a save situation for Golden Falcon closer Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty), who recorded the final two outs for his fourth save of 2015. With 14 career saves, Naif moved to within one of Matthew Facendo's all-time Felician record.
LaMura went 4 for 4 with two RBI, including the 150th hit of his career. He is the 12th Golden Falcon to reach that milestone. Diesel was 2 for 4 with two RBI. Senior Jesse Barton (Belle Glade, Fla.) went 2 for 4 with a double for Nyack (6-7, 0-2).
Price and Warrior senior Jose Corrales (Guatemala City, Guatemala) were locked in a tight contest early in Game 2, a scheduled seven-inning affair. The game's only run through the first four frames came in the bottom of the first, when Strickland was hit by a pitch, advanced on a wild ptch, stole third base and scored on another wild Corrales offering.
Through five innings, Price had allowed no runs on one hit, and the Golden Falcons gave him some breathing room in the fifth. With two outs, Strickland sent an RBI triple to right-center, and Polgano, starting at first base, followed with a single to right.
Nyack chased Price (1-0) in the sixth, receiving an RBI single from Ryan Kahl (Sebastian, Fla.). Quinn Taylor (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) entered with two outs and the bases loaded, and induced a ground ball to Strickland at short. Polgano made a nice scoop at the other end to prevent further damage.
Leading 3-1, Felician tacked in two runs in the sixth on an RBI triple by Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J./Burlington Township) and a Warrior throwing error. Naif came on again, this time in a non-save situation, and yielded a run on two hits before securing the victory.
Price gave up three hits, struck out eight batters and walked four over 5 2/3 innings. Carlos Pino (Miami, Fla.) had a triple for Nyack.
Felician hosts Queens (N.Y.) College in an add-on non-conference contest on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Lyndhurst.