LYNDHURST, N.J. – Helped by a pair of little-used reserve players, the Felician University baseball team won both ends of its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader from visiting Caldwell University on Sunday at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex. The Golden Falcons captured Game 1, 6-5, in 10 innings, before earning a 15-4 victory in the nightcap.
The games were the 2018 CACC openers for both schools. Due to scheduling quirks and weather postponements, Felician (4-14, 2-0 CACC) was playing for the first time since Mar. 10. The Golden Falcons snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Game 1 ended on a walk-off single by Golden Falcon junior catcher T.J. Greco (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington), who had entered the game as a defensive replacement three innings earlier and was making his first appearance of the season. Meanwhile, freshman infielder Trevor Cykowski (Woodbridge, N.J./Woodbridge) had two key hits off the bench in the opening game and went 5 for 6 on the day. Cykowski had obtained only one at-bat in Felician's first 16 contests.
Caldwell (0-11, 0-2) snapped a 3-3 Game 1 tie on an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning. Similarly, however, a Cougar error loomed large, as Felician took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With a man on first base and one out, Matt Diesel's (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) pop-up was dropped, placing runners on second and third. Mike Martone (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) tied the game with a groundout, and Cykowski, who had just come into the game in the top of the inning, followed with a go-ahead RBI double, plating Diesel.
The Golden Falcons turned to Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty) in the top of the ninth to close. But Caldwell tied the game without a hit, using a pair of leadoff walks, a sacrifice and a groundout by Quintin Quartararo (Lakewood, N.J./Toms River North).
Diesel led off the 10th with a double. Cykowski singled to right field one out later, but Diesel had to be held at third base. Greco, however, hammered the first pitch he saw through the drawn-in infield on the left side to end the game.
Naif (1-0), the fifth Felician pitcher of the game escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the 10th and earned the victory. Caldwell left 16 runners on base in the contest, as the Golden Falcons survived issuing 10 walks and five hit batsmen. Graduate third baseman Michael Bernstein (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner) was 3 for 6 for the Cougars.
Felician banged out 18 hits in Game 2. The Golden Falcons led, 10-2, after five innings, and added a five-spot in the seventh. Junior transfer Jacob Nappi (Little Silver, N.J.) (1-3) was the beneficiary on the mound. The left-hander worked through five innings to earn his first Felician victory, giving up two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts.
The Golden Falcons jumped on top with three first-inning runs. L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) singled, stole second and third bases, and scored on a wild pitch. Later in the frame, Anthony Santoro (Freehold, N.J./St. John Vianney) lined an RBI double down the left field line, and scored on a triple by freshman Sean Downey (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth).
Caldwell bounced back for two runs in the second, highlighted by an RBI single from Chris Herrera (Passaic, N.J./PCTI), but Felician used RBI singles from Cykowski and Santoro to plate two in the third. The hosts then broke the game open with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Santoro went 3 for 3 with three RBI, and Struble was 3 for 5 with three runs scored and three stolen bases. Cykowski and Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) also had three hits apiece for Felician. Caldwell's Quartararo was 2 for 4.
Felician returns home on Wednesday to face Chestnut Hill College in a CACC doubleheader at 1 p.m. in Lyndhurst.