NEWARK, N.J. – Felician University totaled 31 base hits in winning both ends of its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference baseball doubleheader from host Bloomfield College, 9-5 and 15-5, on Saturday at West Side Park. The twinbill ended seven hours, 35 minutes, after the Game 1 first pitch.
Felician needed 11 pitchers to get through the pair of nine inning contests. The final one was senior right-hander Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J.), who tossed a scoreless bottom of the ninth of Game 2. The appearance was the 92nd of Naif's Golden Falcon career, breaking his tie with Jack Fowler (2012-15) for the all-time school record.
Felician senior third baseman Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J.) went 5 for 9 on the day. He scored five runs and drove in five, including a grand slam home run in the nightcap. The Golden Falcons (17-19, 15-5 CACC), who ran their winning streak to six games, took over first place in the CACC South Division by percentage points over Wilmington (Del.) University.
Senior Christopher Cabral (Lodi, N.J.) was 3 for 7 for Bloomfield (9-14-1, 4-8 CACC).
The Golden Falcons jumped out to a 5-0 edge after 2 ½ innings of Game 1, but the Bears scored three times in the bottom of the third and once more in the fourth to pull to within 5-4.
Both teams plated a single run in the sixth. In the home half, after an RBI single by Juan Reina (Paterson, N.J.), Bloomfield loaded the bases with two outs on a single and a walk. Freshman Nick Nardulli (Staten Island, N.Y.) entered for the Golden Falcons and preserved the Felician lead with a strikeout.
Nardulli fanned all five batters he faced before giving way to Rob Naughton (Levittown, N.Y.) with one out in the eighth. Naughton induced a flyout and a groundout to end the frame. Felician tacked on three runs in the ninth, including two on a Ron Sessa (Chester, N.J.) single.
Naughton worked around a hit batsman to retire the Bears in the ninth. Nardulli (2-0) was credited with the victory, and Naughton earned his first save of the season. Sessa and Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla.) each had two hits and drove in two runs for Felician. Cabral was 2 for 4 and Reina finished 2 for 5 for the Bears.
Felician rapped 19 hits during Game 2. The Golden Falcons scored three runs in the first inning and led, 8-2, after six. Strickland's longball, Felician's first grand slam in more than four years, highlighted a five-run seventh.
Junior transfer Tony Rivera (Staten Island, N.Y.) was awarded the pitching victory via the NCAA "prearrangement" rule. Making his first start of the season, Rivera (1-0) yielded two runs on two hits over four innings, with four strikeouts and three walks.
Strickland was 4 for 5 and scored three times, and classmate Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) was 3 for 5 with a double, triple, and four RBI. Diesel took two at-bats needing a home run for the cycle, but popped up in the sixth inning and grounded out in the seventh.
Senior Brenden Cuni (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and junior L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J.) were each 2 for 3 with three runs scored for Felician. Senior Isaac Pichardo (Passaic, N.J.) homered for Bloomfield, which was held to five hits.
Felician hosts Goldey-Beacom College on Tuesday at noon in Lyndhurst, N.J. The Golden Falcons swept a doubleheader from the Lightning on Apr. 11 in Hockessin, Del.