YAPHANK, N.Y. – Trailing 6-3 in their final at bat, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) baseball team plated four runs in the bottom of the ninth to complete a 7-6 comeback victory over Albertus Magnus College in their 2013 season opener at Baseball Heaven on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears (1-0) drew five walks in the final inning and scored all four runs with no outs to finish their fifth walk-off victory in program history.
After running a full count, junior Joe Mendez (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell) drew the base-loaded walk for the game-winning RBI and finished the day going 3-for-4, the Bears leading hitter.
Junior Mike Cundari (Staten Island, NY/St. Peter's), sophomore Chris Cutrone (Levittown, NY/Island Trees, HS) and sophomore Vinny Rossi (Bayside, NY/Holy Cross) each knocked two hits for St. Joseph's, Cutrone and Rossi also picking up a RBI each.
Senior Paul Piccirillo (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) earned the win on the mound coming in to work the 9th.
Albertus Magnus (0-1) got on the board first with a blast from Robert Gambardella in the second, before the Bears scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead, their only lead until the 9th. St. Joseph's started the frame on three straight hits from Cundari, Cutrone and Rossi. Rossi and Danny Zaretsky (Brooklyn, NY/Lincoln) each delivering a run.
But Bears starting pitcher Donny Pagano (Staten Island, NY/St. Peter's) found himself in a bases loaded jam in the fourth with no outs and nearly worked out of it unscathed before Michael Anastasio cleared the bases with a two-out double to the warning track en route to a four-run frame that put the Falcons up 5-2.
The Falcons tacked on another run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to move ahead 6-2. The Bears threatened in the bottom half of the frame to shrink the deficit leading off with four-straight hits to load the bases, but an inning-ending double-play had Albertus escaping with only one run allowed on a Cutrone single.
Falcons starter Mike Barillo carried a 6-3 lead into the final inning, but was pulled after allowing a leadoff walk and finished with a no decision allowing four runs and 10 hits, while striking out nine. Reliever Patrick Dornfried was unable to record any outs as Domenick Camerada (Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell) welcomed him to the game with a line drive single to center and Zaretsky and Brian Luebcke (Astoria, NY/Monsignor McClancy) drew back-to-back walks to cut the deficit to 6-4 and put the tying run on second.
Dornfried managed to force a double-play ball but the Falcon defense muffed the exchange at second and left the bases loaded with no outs and a one-run game. Two more bases-loaded free passes would seal the come-from-behind win for St. Joseph's.
Pagano would finish with a no decision, allowing six runs and eight hits, while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings of work. Senior Joe Chiusano (Brooklyn, NY/St. Edmund Prep) worked two perfect innings of relief.
The Bears and Falcons return to Baseball Heaven tomorrow for a twinbill with game one starting at noon.