Farmingdale, NY| The St. Joseph's College (L.I.) baseball team was crowned Skyline Conference Champion for the second time in program history after edging Farmingdale State, 9-8, in 11th inning, walk-off fashion on Tuesday evening on the campus of FSC. The Golden Eagles will now move on to the NCAA Regional tournament and improve their record to 24-10 on the year.
Nick Girardi, who was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, led off the bottom of the 11th with a double to the right field fence. Mike Griffo was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second for Joe Lynn, who was able to move the runner over with a ground ball back to the pitcher. Daniel Campanelli waited on four balls and was walked with the next at bat, allowing Ryan Walsh to work the count 3-2 before finally drawing a walk to clinch the title for the Golden Eagles.
Girardi went a perfect five-for-five and drove in a run and scored five. Michael Catanzaro came out of the bullpen in the ninth and threw three perfect innings, striking out four batters.
The top-seeded Rams got off to a strong start in the first inning when they were able to loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. The first run of the game would score on a passed ball before Domenic Palumbo came to bat with the bases loaded and delivered a grand slam as the Golden Eagles found themselves trailing 5-0 in the top of the first.
In the bottom half of the first, Brendan Sullivan singled to center field, and Girardi would score him with his first triple of the game to put SJC on the board (5-1).
Palumbo would drive in his fifth runner in the top of the fifth with a single to third base as the Rams extended their lead to five (6-1).
The Golden Eagles started to inch back in the bottom of the fifth when Calabrese singled to the left side to drive in two runs cutting the deficit in to three (6-3).
In the bottom of the seventh Girardi hit his second triple of the contest to right center and would score on a passed ball to cut the lead to two (6-4). Lynn blasted a two-run triple to tie the game 6-6 later in the inning before Campanelli hit a ground ball at the pitcher which scored a run and fired the Golden Eagles into the lead (7-6).
In the top of the eighth, Farmingdale inched back into the game when Dalton McCarthy hit a long double to center field. The Rams had two outs with a runner on second and Kenneth Johntry hit a single to left field that scored a run and tied the game (7-7). Nick Attardi singled to left field once more to score Johntry as the Rams retook the lead 8-7.
Girardi led the bottom of the ninth, and recorded his fourth hit with a double to center field. He was able to advance to third after the shortstop misplayed a Calabrese grounder to put runners on the corners. Mike Griffo would work an eight pitch at-bat before finally making solid contact with the ball to score Girardi to tie the game again (8-8) and send the game into extras.
The Golden Eagles now await their next opponent at the NCAA Regional Tournament, which will begin on Wednesday May 18.