MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – The Felician University baseball team lost two non-conference games in two different south Florida cities on Friday. Felician's day began with a 9-4 setback to Southern Connecticut State University during the Palm Beach Challenge at the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana. The Golden Falcons then trekked to Miami Shores, and were defeated, 10-7, by host Barry University.
Junior outfielder Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla.) went 5 for 8 on the day for Felician (2-13), combining to drive in four runs. Golden Falcon senior pitcher Tanner DeLucia (Shillington, Pa.) appeared in each game, totaling 2 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.
Southern Connecticut State (7-2) is ranked No. 8 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll, and gained a measure of revenge for its loss to Felician on Feb. 24 during the Northeast Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C. On Friday, the Owls out-hit the Golden Falcons, 11-9, drew nine walks off of four Felician hurlers, and stole six bases.
Playing as the home team, Southern Connecticut took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off of Felician graduate right-hander Rob Naughton (Levittown, N.Y.) (1-3). With two outs and the bases loaded, Owl junior Nick Lamberti (East Haven, Conn.) scored on a passed ball, and Mike DeMartino (New Haven, Conn.) followed two batters later with an RBI single.
All of Felician's run production on the day came in the top of the fifth. With runners on second and third and one out, Danny Healey Jr. (Brookhaven, Pa.) came up with a two-run single. After a flyout, a single by Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and an outfield error returned runners to second and third, and Aponte delivered a two-run single to put the Golden Falcons ahead.
The edge was short-lived, however, as a Jim Palmer (Milford, Conn.) RBI double and a two-run home run from Tyler Criscuolo (Branford, Conn.) placed SCSU back on top. Connor Redahan (Greenwich, Conn.) capped the four-run, six-hit uprising with an RBI single, and the Owls led, 6-4, after five
SCSU sophomore left-hander Nate Carney (Bristol, Conn.) (2-0) worked seven innings, allowing one earned run on nine hits. The Owls tacked on three runs off the Felician bullpen in the sixth for the final margin. Criscuolo scored three runs and drove in two for Southern Connecticut. Golden Falcons Aponte and Anthony Santoro (Freehold, N.J.) each ended up 2 for 4.
Barry appeared to settle Friday evening's affair early by plating seven runs on just three hits in the bottom of the third inning. Buccaneer junior Justin Lamazares (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) concluded the rally with a two-run homer.
Felician, however, moved itself back into contention. Aponte drove in a run with a fourth-inning single, and the Golden Falcons sent four runners across the plate in the fifth. Diesel's two-run double jump-started the big inning, which Aponte ended with another run-scoring single. Barry, however, pushed across two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth for a 10-5 edge and held on.
Diesel went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBI, and junior L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J.) was also 3 for 5 for the Golden Falcons. Aponte finished 3 for 4 as Felician out-hit the Buccaneers, 13-12.
Felician completes a stretch of five games in four days by facing regional foe Molloy College on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Miami Shores.