By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor
The College’s baseball team defeated top-seeded Rutgers University-Camden in the opening round of the 2015 New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship Tournament on Saturday, April 28. However, the team later fell to Kean University and RUC in a second match, ending their chance to take home an NJAC title.
It was a back and forth in the first game between the Lions and RUC until the seventh inning. Freshman pitcher Joe Cirillo gave up two runs in the first inning but pitched a phenomenal game, earning his sixth win of the season. Cirillo struck out four in six innings. Senior Anthony Cocuzza, who was named NJAC Co-Player of the Year, also had a huge game. Cocuzza had a hot bat, going 4 for 5 with three RBIs.
Junior Garen Turner singled to center and advanced to second on an error. Senior Michael Murray hit a single up the middle, scoring Turner and cutting the deficit to, 4-3. Murray moved into scoring position and then came home to tack on the tying run, off a base hit from junior John Rizzi.
It was the seventh inning that was huge for Turner. Cocuzza led off the inning with a single, and after one out, it was Turner’s turn to step up to the plate. Turner blasted a two-run home run, making it his second of the season and giving the College its first lead of the game.
The Lions did not stop there — the team added three more runs in the eighth inning. Freshman Steve Bucci walked and Rizzi laid down a bunt single. Junior Mark Mari loaded the bases with still no outs. Cocuzza, who was having a successful night, got his third hit of the game, scoring two when the RUC left fielder misplayed the ball. Senior Josh Limon hit a sacrifice fly to give the Lions a 9-4 victory.
Junior Steven Volpe threw a complete game in the College’s win against Rowan University on Friday, May 1.
Volpe silenced the Profs up until seventh, but that was the only run he allowed during the Lions 5-1 defeat of Rowan.
The Lions moved to the winner’s bracket after their consecutive runs, but fell short to Kean, losing 8-6 on Saturday, May 2. The team got off to a good start, scoring early in the game, but couldn’t hold off the Kean offense.
Unfortunately, losing to RUC 7-3 on Saturday, the Lions have been eliminated from the conference tournament. The team showed tremendous effort and perseverance throughout the entire season. The Lions end with a 18-18 record. This was their 18th consecutive season competing in the NJAC tournament and their eighth straight playoff run under head coach Dean Glus.