Golden Falcons, Griffins Trade Low-Scoring Baseball Victories

Baseball swing #2
Danny Healey was involved in both Felician Game 1 ralliles on Apr. 20, 2018. (Dave Schofield)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – A pair of capable offenses played as if there were something strange in the air on a sunny but cool April 20th, as Felician University and host Chestnut Hill College managed only three runs each in splitting a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference baseball doubleheader on Friday at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. Felician claimed Game 1, 3-2, in 10 innings, while Chestnut Hill recovered enough to capture Game 2, 1-0.

The Golden Falcons (20-20, 18-6 CACC) extended their winning streak to a school-record-matching nine games with their victory in Friday's opener. Instead of breaking the mark in the nightcap, Felician was shut out for the first time this season.

The Golden Falcons settled for a split of their four-game CACC South Division season series with Chestnut Hill (16-16, 12-10). The teams also took a game apiece on Mar. 28 in Lyndhurst, N.J.

On Friday, senior Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J.) was 3 for 8 with three doubles on the day. Classmate Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) went 3 for 6, and fellow senior Mike Martone (Brick, N.J.) had a hit in each game. Griffin leadoff man Ameir Uzzell (Levittown, Pa.) was 3 for 8 with a double and a triple.

Game 1 began by pitting Felician junior left-hander Jacob Nappi (Little Silver, N.J.) against CHC senior righty Patrick Kelley (Pipersville, Pa.). The duo matched zeroes for five innings before the Golden Falcons broke through against Kelley in the top of the sixth.

With one out, Danny Healey Jr. (Brookhaven, Pa.) sent a triple into the right-center field gap. A groundout with the infield in put Kelley on the verge of escaping, but Ron Sessa (Chester, N.J.) drew a walk and stole second base. On a 3-and-2 pitch, pinch-hitter Martone drove in both runners with a single to left field.

Nappi was lifted after seven scoreless frames and 105 pitches, and the Griffins pounced on the Felician bullpen in the eighth. A double and a fielding error placed runners at the corners, and John Contoudis (Jenkintown, Pa.) put the hosts on the board with a sacrifice fly. Following a walk and a double steal, Eric Gilham (Deptford, N.J.) tied the game with a sharp single.

Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J.) took the mound for Felician and forced the Griffins to leave the bases loaded without scoring again. Naif and CHC's Billy Bethel (Yardley, Pa.) (4-2) kept the game even until the 10th. Diesel led off with a single, was sacrificed to second base, and scored one out later on Healey's single to center field.

Naif (3-1) set down the Griffins in order in the bottom of the 10th. In 2 2/3 scoreless innings, he gave up one hit, one walk and one hit batsman while striking out three.

Diesel was on base four times and joined Strickland and Healey with two hits apiece as the Golden Falcons out-hit Chestnut Hill, 8-7. Uzzell was 2 for 5 and scored a run for the Griffins.

Game 2 was a scheduled seven-inning contest, and CHC freshman righty Will Shaffer (Sicklerville, N.J.) (1-2) went the distance on a three-hit shutout, needing only 77 pitches (54 strikes). He struck out three batters with no walks and two hit batsmen, but Felician stranded all five of those men. Felician's best chances to score came with two on and one out in the third inning, and a runner on second with one out in the third.

Golden Falcon freshman Michael Gutierrez (Garfield, N.J.) (2-4) allowed a quick first-inning run, but was otherwise nearly as effective. In six innings he gave up four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Uzzell led off the first inning with a triple on a 3-and-2 Gutierrez offering. Following a strikeout, Alec Craig (Hammonton, N.J.) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Shaffer made the run stand up for the rest of the afternoon.

Strickland had a double and Diesel and Martone the other safeties for Felician. Craig was 2 for 2 with a double for the Griffins.

Felician continues a six-game weekend by hosting a CACC doubleheader against Post University on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Lyndhurst, N.J.