JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Ramapo College sophomore right fielder Matt Carovillano (Middlesex, N.J.) entered the day with just four RBIs in 14 games this season and six in 23 games in his career. But Carovillano enjoyed a career day. His two-run double in the second inning gave RCNJ a 2-0 lead before Carovillano capitalized with his first career homer in the sixth—a grand slam that broke open a tight 2-1 game and carried RCNJ over New Jersey City University, 12-3, in the back end of a New Jersey Athletic Conference baseball home-and-home series on April 18 at the Thomas M. Gerrity Athletic Complex.
Ramapo improved to 18-10 overall and 9-3 in the NJAC, good for a share of third place. RCNJ, which won game one of the series on Wednesday, 7-1, has won five straight. Meanwhile, NJCU has fallen into an uncharacteristic losing drought, dropping to 12-15 overall (2-10 NJAC) with its seventh straight loss—its longest stretch since losing nine straight in mid-April in 2016.
RCNJ junior right-handed pitcher CJ Growney (Avenel, N.J.) tied a season and career high with nine strikeouts while walking none to improve to 3-3 on the season. In 8.0 innings over 115 pitches, he allowed two runs and six hits.
Freshman righty Paul Tannucilli (Old Bridge, NJ/Old Bridge), the reigning NJAC Rookie Pitcher of the Week, struck out a career-high five batters, entering the day with four K's on the season, but suffered the loss (0-2) in 7.1 innings of work before giving way to two relievers. RCNJ scored five insurance runs in the top of the ninth off NJCU's bullpen to pad an 8-2 lead.
In defeat for NJCU, freshman catcher Anthony Palmisano (Colonia, NJ/Colonia) hit his second career home run in the seventh inning and batted 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. He also threw out two runners at third trying to advance on a wild pitch to end the second and eighth innings. Senior shortstop Nick LoGatto (Helmetta, NJ/Spotswood) went 2-for-4 with two runs and his 14th steal of the season.
All told, Carovillano was 2-for-5 with six RBIs and one run. Junior left fielder Kyle Buser (Ramsey, N.J.) was 2-for-4 with two runs, one RBI and a walk and senior catcher Liam Duffy (Cranford, N.J.) was 2-for-4 with one run. Sophomore shortstop Anthony Kuzmenko (Green Brook, N.J.) walked twice and scored two times. Junior first baseman Matt Meola (Union, N.J.) and senior designated hitter Nick Camilleri (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) each scored twice.
In the second inning, Meola singled with one out, Camilleri hit a slow roller to shortstop and Carovillano doubled to right center for a 2-0 lead.
After NJCU stranded the leadoff man on base in the second and third innings, the Gothic Knights tied it in the fourth. LoGatto doubled with one out and scored on an RBI single to left by senior center fielder Jesse Kraft (Nutley, NJ/Saint Mary-Rutherford). NJCU left the tying run in scoring position.
That led to the sixth. Duffy singled, Buser doubled and with one out, an intentional walk loaded the bases. NJCU got a key close force play at the plate for the second out. But with two outs, Carovillano lifted a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence for a 6-1 lead and NJCU count not mount a comeback. Kuzmenko led off the seventh with a double and later scored for a 7-1 lead before Palmisano launched a long one-out solo shot over the left field fence in the seventh. RCNJ tacked on five runs in the ninth, the final two on sac flies. NJCU got one run back in the ninth when LoGatto singled, took second and third uncontested and scored on a ground ball.
With rain in the forecast for Saturday, NJCU's home conference doubleheader against Montclair State on April 20 will be moved to Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls, N.J. and first pitch adjusted from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting. NJCU will bat as the home team in both ends of the doubleheader.
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