BETHLEHEM, Pa. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | New Jersey City University scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth after tying the game with two runs in the fifth and got strong pitching from senior right-handed pitcher Fernando Guerrero (Elizabeth, NJ/Elizabeth) and rookie closer John Pudder (Manalapan, NJ/Manalapan) in a come-from-behind 3-2 road win against Moravian College on March 19. The win was the fifth straight for the Gothic Knights.
Trailing 2-0 after three innings, NJCU (5-3) plated a pair of runs in the fifth on RBI singles by freshman left fielder Leo Colon (Carteret, NJ/St. Anthony (Jersey City)) and senior third baseman Tom Pulcine (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) to even it at 2-2.
In the top of the ninth, junior right fielder Juan Pena (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy) led off with a single, advanced to third on a one-out pinch-hit single by junior Ty Hawkins (Point Pleasant, NJ/Manasquan) and with one out, Pena sprinted home to take the lead on a wild pitch.
Pudder, who came into the game in the eighth inning, hit the first batter in the bottom of the ninth. But after the Greyhounds (5-7) moved the tying run to second with a sacrifice, Pudder closed the door, getting senior center fielder Austin Markowski (Neshanic Station, N.J.) to pop up before striking out junior second baseman Ian Csencsits (Northampton, Pa.) swinging to seal the win.
Pudder (1-0, 1 save) won for the first time as a collegian, striking out three in two hitless, shutout innings of relief. Guerrero, the New Jersey Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, went 7.0 innings, striking out seven (three walks) while allowing only two runs and seven hits, scattering single runs in the first and second innings before blanking Moravian the next five frames.
Pulcine went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a walk to lead NJCU which won despite collecting just five hits.
For Moravian, senior first baseman Evan Kulig (Allentown, Pa.) batted 2-for-4 with one RBI and senior third baseman Tim Heard (Lebanon, N.J.) went 2-for-3. Junior right fielder Carmine Palummo (Chester, N.Y.) had one RBI.
Freshman righty Scott Poulson (Easton, Pa.) went the first 5.0 innings and struck out six (three walks), against two runs and three hits. Sophomore righty Rodney Berger (Catasauqua, Pa.) (0-1) took the loss in relief, allowing the go-ahead run and two hits in 2.1 innings of work (two strikeouts).
Moravian grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, as Csencsits tripled with two outs and scored on a double to left center by Kulig. Moravian made it 2-0 the next inning on a walk, double and ground ball by Palummo that resulted in an error. Moravian had just one hit in the final five innings.
NJCU got even in the fifth. keeping the inning alive. With one out, rookie first baseman Ricky Voss (Eatontown, NJ/Monmouth Regional) walked and stole second with two outs before moving to third on a wild pitch. Colon singled him in then stole second and scored when Pulcine singled on a 3-2 pitch.
- NJCU defeated Moravian in a one-run game for the second year in a row. NJCU won, 9-8, at home on May 5, 2018.
- The last three meetings and three of the last four since 2015 have been decided by one run. The last four have all been decided by two runs or less.
NJCU plays perhaps its most challenging non-conference game of the season tomorrow when it meets No. 5/7 ranked Swarthmore College at 3:30 p.m. in Swarthmore, Pa. in the makeup of a March 2 postponement. The Garnet enter the game 8-3 overall.
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