STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Powered by a complete game two-hit shutout from freshman Mitch Brigando (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep), the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) baseball team earned a doubleheader split with the College of Staten Island, falling 4-1 before taking a 2-0 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Morales Field.
The two-hitter is the fourth in school history and is the single game record for fewest hits in a game.
St. Joseph's (4-5) has now won three of their last four games after a three-week layoff, while Staten Island (3-4) has dropped two out of three.
In the opener, the Dolphins got off to a strong start as they got to Bears starter Donny Pagano (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) with three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead. St. Joseph's responded with a run in the top half of the second on a fielder's choice to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Pagano would settle in and pitch three scoreless innings surrendering only two hits, but the Bears bats were unable to come to life as they mustered only three hits over the course of the game. Staten Island struck again in the fifth, plating a run on an RBI double off Pagano to take a 4-1 lead and used the combination of three pitchers to secure the win. Pagano finished the day going 5 1/3 innings, surrendering four earned runs, while fanning three.
The nightcap saw a pitcher's duel unfold between Brigando and Dolphins starter John Baggs in a game that only lasted one and a half hours. St. Joseph's was able to capitalize on one of their few chances throughout the contest in the first inning as junior Chris Cutrone (Levittown, N.Y./Island Trees HS) singled home senior Mike Cundari (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) to put the Bears up 1-0.
Brigando silenced the Staten Island bats right from the start as he retired the first 11 batters to begin the game and held the Dolphins hitless until the sixth inning in only his second collegiate start. With St. Joseph's up 1-0 heading into the top of the six, the Bears would add an insurance run on a senior Joe Mendez (Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell) RBI single that plated junior Thomas McKenna (Bellerose, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) to give St. Joseph's a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.
The two-run lead was more than enough for Brigando who got through the sixth with no issues before running into a jam in the seventh, but got through it unscathed to finish off the shutout. Brigando finished with five punchouts and only walked two in securing his first collegiate win.
McKenna led the Bears at the plate on the day, going 3-for-6 with a run scored, recording one of St. Joseph's three hits in the opener. Junior Vinny Rossi (Bayside, N.Y./Holy Cross) went 2-for-6 on the day, knocking two hits in the opener.
TURNING POINT – GAME ONE
After holding the Bears scoreless in the top half of the first, the Dolphins sent seven batters to the plate, scoring three runs on three hits to take a 3-0 lead after one which proved too much for St. Joseph's to overcome as the offense was stymied by Staten Island pitching.
TURNING POINT – GAME TWO
The first two batters of the game for the Bears were retired before Cundari drew a walk and would come around to score later in the inning on a Cutrone single. Brigando would keep the Dolphins batters at bay throughout the rest of the game and St. Joseph's tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to seal the win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORES
- Other Contributors: Mendez (1-for-4, RBI) Cutrone (1-for-5, RBI, R)
- The Bears offense recorded eight hits and the Dolphins accumulated ten hits on the day.
- The two teams combined for three errors on the day with all coming in the first game.
- Both games were well pitched as there were only six walks combined over the course of the day.
- Freshman Anthony Van Sise came in and pitched 2/3 scoreless innings in game one.
THE BEAR FACTS
- St. Joseph's is now 4-10 all-time against Staten Island and have now split the season series in back-to-back seasons.
- Brigando improves to 1-1 on the year, while Pagano falls to 0-2.
- Mendez has a team-high eight RBIs on the year.
- The shutout is the eighth in program history.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS – LEHMAN
St. Joseph's returns to the diamond on Saturday, March 22nd, facing Lehman College in a doubleheader at the SJC Outdoor Complex beginning at 12 p.m.