Senior Brian Ascolese
March 17, 2007
LAKE WORTH, FL - Five different Highlanders drove in runs, leading New Jersey Institute of Technology's baseball team past defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Manhattan, 5-3, Thursday afternoon in the first game of a two-opponent doubleheader at Dick Brown Field.
The Jaspers won 34 games a year ago, including a 2-2 mark in the NCAA Division I tournament. Manhattan arrived in the Palm Beach area having swept a three-game series in Miami at powerful Florida International.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning, when the freshman catcher Hagburg smacked an RBI single down the left field line scoring first baseman Rob Pietrocola, who started the two-out rally with a single into left field.
The Jaspers knotted the game at one on a RBI single to right by Rene Ruiz. Outfielder Nunzio Franzese started off the inning with a single to center.
NJIT freshman shortstop Miguel Lugo got the Highlanders going in the top of the sixth with a single to right. Craig Binkiewicz drew a walk and Matt Schlitter followed with a doubled to left, scoring Lugo. Tri-captain Derrick McCain grounded out to first, scoring Schlitter, as NJIT jumped ahead, 3-1.
Manhattan added two runs, on two hits and two errors in the bottom of the seventh, for a 3-3 tie.
The Highlanders rallied in the top of the eighth, as Lugo led off with a single. Binkiewicz laid down a sacrifice bunt beating out the throw and advancing to second on a Jasper error. Mitchell singled to right field and Turner hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Binkiewicz and pulling ahead 5-3.
For the Highlanders, Lugo was 2-for-4 with two runs, while Binkiewicz went 1-for-2 with two runs.
Senior Brian Ascolese recorded his first win of the season, pitching seven innings, letting up three hits and three runs. Relief pitcher Cory Kuzmik came in the eighth to face one batter and then picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning. Kuzmik faced four batters and struck out two. Brian Searls suffered the loss for Manhattan, falling to 0-1 on the year.
For the Jaspers, Ruiz finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Franzese went 2-for-2 with an RBI.