Rob Pietrocola's CG 3-hitter led NJIT
May 13, 2007
VESTAL, NY - New Jersey Institute of Technology got two strong complete games in Sunday's well-pitched baseball doubleheader split at America East Conference-leading Binghamton. The Highlanders took the first game, 3-1, behind the three-hit pitching of Rob Pietrocola and Binghamton bounced back for a 3-2 win in the nightcap, spoiling a complete game by NJIT senior Brian Ascolese.
Binghamton, one of the top teams on NJIT's schedule in the Highlanders' first year facing Division I competition, boosted its overall record to 24-16 after Sunday's split. The Bearcats, who are 15-4 in America East, came in having won eight of their previous 11 games, making the performances by NJIT's Pietrocola and Ascolese all the more impressive.
Pietrocola (1-3), who tossed his first complete game, allowed just the three hits and struck out five. However, he had to work around seven walks, three errors and a hit by pitch to strand 11 Binghamton runners.
Ascolese (2-5), who had an earlier complete game win at Army, scattered eight hits and allowed two earned runs as the hard-luck loser on Sunday.
The Highlanders, who have amassed 12 wins with eight scheduled games left in their first campaign against Division I opponents, backed Pietrocola with an eight-hit attack.
With the score tied, 1-1, NJIT got what proved to be the game-winning runs in the top of the seventh inning. Senior LF Derrick McCain led off the NJIT seventh with a double. RF Kwesi Mitchell (2-for-4) followed with a single, moving McCain to third. Mitchell then moved ahead to second on a wild pitch. 3B Mike Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, sending home McCain with the go-ahead run and Mitchell over to third base.
After an intentional walk to 1B Austin DeRogatis, Mitchell was thrown out at third base for the second out. C Elliot Hagburg walked, 2B Chris Cardone walked to load the bases and then DeRogatis scored NJIT's third run on an infield single by SS Miguel Lugo (2-for-3).
Given a 3-1 lead, Pietrocola was immediately challenged to hold it in the bottom of the seventh. Binghamton got a leadoff walk that was erased on a double play. However, the Bearcats got two more runners on a single and an error, but they were left on the bases when Pietrocola induced an inning-ending fly out.
Pietrocola allowed a harmless bunt single in the eighth, but he had to work out of one more jam in the ninth. He hit the leadoff man to start the frame. After striking out CF Henry Dunn, Pietrocola made an error, putting the tying runs on base with one out. Again, he came up big, striking out 3B Ryan James looking and sealing the win on a fly out by 1B Brandon Hitchcock.
DH Matt Schlitter (1-for-4), drove in the first NJIT run in the first inning after CF Craig Binkiewicz had opened the game with a single and then stole second. DeRogatis (1-for-3) had a double for the Highlanders.
The three Binghamton hits off of Pietrocola were registered by different players. The Bearcat run came in the bottom of the sixth, when 2B Matt Simek led off with a walk and then came around on RF Jeff Monaco's double. Binghamton starting pitcher Mike Van Gorder (5-3) took the loss, allowing all three runs and seven hits in 6.1 innings.
In the seven-inning second game, NJIT spotted Binghamton a 1-0 lead in the first inning, before tying the score with a run in the second and going up, 2-1, with another run in the third. The Bearcats tied the score again in the bottom of the third and scored the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out bunt single by Dunn that chased home James, who was in as a pinch runner.
Binghamton used two pitchers, who combined for a one-hitter. NJIT's Binkiewicz led off the game with an infield single for his team's hit. Starter Jeff Dennis (4-1) went the first six innings, allowing the one hit, two walks and two runs (one earned). Reliever Khalid Afify got his sixth save with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
NJIT got both of its tallies on aggressive baserunning. Trailing, 1-0, NJIT pulled even in the second inning. Mitchell walked and then stole second with one out. He went to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a strikeout wild pitch.
The Highlanders took a 2-1 lead on an unearned run in the third. Lugo, leading off, reached base and went to second on an error and then third on a sacrifice bunt by Binkiewicz. Lugo later scored from third on Schlitter's ground out.
Binghamton tied the game, 2-2, with an unearned run of its own in the third inning and that score held until the bottom of the sixth. The first Bearcat batter, C Pat Haughie, was hit by a pitch. James came in as a pinch runner and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. He advance to third on a fly out to center and scored on Dunn's bunt.
NJIT, which is done with its 2007 home schedule, is slated to play its last in-state game when it ventures seven miles to the East for a visit to Saint Peter's in Jersey City on Wednesday at 4:00 pm.