BROOKLYN, NY – New Jersey City University jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the St. Joseph's College baseball team staged a late rally, posting deuces in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't overcome the Gothic Knights in the final frame, falling 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon at MCU Park.
Freshman Sean Jarocki (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) started off strong in his first career start, holding NJCU (6-22) to two hits through three innings. NJCU got on the board first in the third after a leadoff single by Rob Gonzalez, who stole second and third before scoring on a Francisco Ramirez sacrifice fly.
The Gothic Knights tacked on another run in the following inning on a two out single to left by Chris Mirabile that scored Andrew Rivera, who singled two batters earlier.
Jarocki ran into some trouble in the fifth finding himself in a bases loaded jam with one out after a issuing a walk and a pair of Bears miscues. The Gothic Knights plated a run on each of the next three batters on a Jarocki hit batter, a single by Andrew Rivera and a sacrifice fly by Thomas Lacik. Jarocki escaped the inning when catcher Danny Zaretsky (Brooklyn, NY/Lincoln) thwarted a steal attempt of home. Jarocki (0-1) would go six innings and take the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits, striking out one.
T.J. Janho kept the Bears off the board through six innings, scattering five hits and St. Joseph's moving runners into scoring position, but unable to produce any runs.
St. Joseph's finally got to Janho in the seventh with Jon Mendez (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) starting off the frame with a leadoff single. Zaretsky repeated with another single two batters later and both moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Chris Pacifico (Brooklyn, NY/St. Edmund's) then delivered them both home with a two-out single to center. After forcing a groundout to close the seventh, Janho (2-2) left the game up 5-2, giving up eight hits and striking out five.
The St. Joseph's relievers kept the Bears within reach holding NJCU scoreless over the final three innings. Joe Chiusano (Brooklyn, NY/St. Edmund's ) came in to pitch the seventh and worked himself out of a bases loaded situation and came back to retire the side in order in the eighth.
The heart of the Bears touched up NJCU reliever Michael Kelly for two more runs in the eighth to pull within one. Kevin Diaz (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell) set the table with a stand up double to left center extending his hitting streak to five. Joe Mendez followed with a double to center, scoring Diaz. Then Jon Mendez capped a 3-for-4 day with a triple to right that scored his namesake, also extending his hitting streak to five, but the Bears stranded him at third with one out.
Chris Vargas (Brooklyn, NY/Nazareth Regional) kept the game a one-run affair holding NJCU scoreless in the ninth, despite facing Gothic Knights at second and third with no outs.
Zack Markle took the hill for NJCU in the 9th earning the save with a 1-2-3 inning, but got some help from his defense with rightfielder Jorge Gutierrez robbing Steven Trudden (Broad Channel, NY/Cathedral Prep) of a leadoff pinch hit that could have changed the complexion of the inning.
St. Joseph's falls to 5-18, dropping their second one-run game this season at MCU Park. The Bears return to action facing Mount Saint Mary on Thursday, April 21st at Padavan-Preller Field in Bellerose, Queens. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.