Staten Island rallies for CUNYAC title

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (May 5, 2018) - Needing two victories to win the title, top-seeded College of Staten Island rallied in the waning moments of both games to stun No. 2 seed John Jay College, 5-4 and 8-6, in the 2018 CUNYAC/MCU Baseball Championship Saturday at the CSI Baseball Complex.

Game #1: Staten Island 5, John Jay 4 - F/11
Down to their final out and trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, CSI junior infielder Anthony DiMarco stepped to the plate with the tying run on second.

On a 2-1 pitch from John Jay's Sean Napier, DiMarco ripped a single to center that brought around freshman pinch-runner Khalid Zahrieh for the game-tying run, forcing extra innings. Sophomore designated hitter John Pomarico opened the frame for the Dolphins with a single to left to set the stage.

"I was just looking to put the ball in play," DiMarco commented about the at-bat. "Coach always says to put the ball in play and anything can happen. That was my mindset, but thankfully I got a good pitch and put it into centerfield."

Napier went an astounding 10.1 innings for the Bloodhounds, tossing a total of 153 pitches, but left the game with the potential winning run on first in the 11th.

Senior pitcher Christian Rodriguez was then summoned out ot the bullpen and started his outing by allowing a stolen base and throwing a wild pitch, putting the winning run just 90 feet away.

From there, CSI lead-off hitter Jordan Wilson lifted a fly ball to center, giving freshman pinch-runner Scott Fodor an opportunity to tag up. The subsequent relay throw home by John Jay's Jurrel Diaz was late, propelling the Dolphins to the walk-off victory.

Senior pitcher Derek Jentz got the win in the decision for Staten Island. He threw two scoreless innings and struck out a pair of batters in the process.

Game #2: Staten Island 8, John Jay 6
In the last and decisive game of the tournament, the two teams combined to leave five runners on base in the first two innings, but John Jay broke through in the third.

In one of the more surprising ways to open the scoring, Diaz broke for home on a 1-2 pitch and managed to somehow evade Sean Becker's tag to put John Jay in front.

The Bloodhounds would add three more runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to grab a commanding 6-0 advantage.

Diaz continued his torrid play, lacing a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth, while junior outfielder C.J. Meyer singled up the middle for a pair of runs in the seventh.

Rodriguez was impressive on the hill for John Jay with seven scoreless innings. Yet, it all fell apart for the Bloodhounds in the eighth.

Staten Island shockingly put up an eight-spot to rally all the way back for an 8-6 lead. The Dolphins put together seven hits in the frame, including DiMarco's go-ahead and eventual game-winning RBI double that brought Wilson all the way around from first.

It wasn't so simple for the CSI bullpen in the ninth though. After getting the first two outs, senior pitcher Thomas Musso issued a pair of walks and hit a batter to load the bases and put the tying and winning runs on base.

Musso went to a full count against John Jay's Jeremy Scheetz, and on the payoff pitch, induced a game-ending flyout to centerfield to secure the title.

"It means the world to us, especially the team," said DiMarco. "This whike year, we have always been fighting, trying to get wins. Some games didn't work our way, but this team had a lot of fight. I couldn't be prouder."

"It's an awesome feeling for the school and program. Winning four in a row is unbelievable," CSI Head Coach Michael Mauro stated. "It's a different feeling, because you're dealing with different guys every year. They gutted it out, and it makes it so much fun. This moment makes it so worth coaching, all year round. It's an unbelievable feeling."