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Red Hawks Drop Game One Against NJCU

by Demsi Ramirez

After coming off a two-game losing streak, Montclair State University was looking to get back in the win column against New Jersey City University (NJCU) on April 18.

The starting pitcher for the Red Hawks was graduate student Patrick Cuccurullo. This was his sixth start this season, and he has a 2-2 record.

At the top of the second inning, an RBI single that was grounded out to third base gave NJCU the first lead of the day. The lead was quickly extended to two thanks to an unearned run giving an NJCU runner a run to home base.

In the bottom of the third, junior outfielder Max McLoughlin hit a base hit to left field. Fifth-year outfielder Miles Feaster followed up with another base hit which allowed McLoughlin to advance to second and Feaster to first.

Graduate infielder Sam Angelo hit one off to left center field that bounced off the wall and allowed McLoughlin and Feaster to run to home base. The game was tied at 2-2.

That gave Angelo his 53rd RBI this season, but his only hit of the game as he was intentionally walked three times.

“Based on the season he had last year and what he’s continuing to do this year, It’s not too shocking,” Feaster said. “Last year he had the most walks per game, and I can’t really disagree with them. I wouldn’t really want to pitch to him either.”

Cuccurullo had five strikeouts through five innings at one point and did not allow the Gothic Knights to score for two straight innings.

Graduate student pitcher Patrick Cuccurullo pitched five and two thirds with four earned runs. Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

Graduate student pitcher Patrick Cuccurullo pitched five and two thirds with four earned runs. Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

“I thought Cuccurullo did a good job. [He] gave us a chance to win it, but overall I was pleased to see Cucc out there competing,” head coach Dave Lorber said.

In the top of the sixth inning, NJCU hit an RBI single to left center field to get back into the lead, but Cuccurullo would stop another run from scoring before his day ended. Cuccurullo finished with a pitch count of 95 and delivered with seven strikeouts. Both were season highs for Cuccurullo.

“[Cuccurullo], he’s had a weird year. He’s dealing with an injury where you don’t know how he’s going to feel one way or another but he’s had a positive attitude,” Feaster said. “He wants the ball and I think that’s a great thing especially when your pitcher wants the ball. Especially him, he’s been here for five years with me as well. Everyone has got a lot of confidence in him, so if he wants the ball, then we want him to have the ball.”

Coming in at pitching for the Red Hawks was freshman pitcher Christian Addotta. The Gothic Knights increased the lead to three with a double to right field. The Gothic Knights advanced a runner into scoring position and later scored the run on a single to center field. A hit to left center later in the inning brought the lead to three runs after a double steal. The score was now 5-2, and the Red Hawks had not scored in three straight innings.

In the top of the seventh inning, Addotta put away three batters with three straight outs. Then in the bottom of the inning, stepping up to the plate was junior outfielder Marcus Johnson. He drilled a triple to left center field to bring Feaster home, cutting the Red Hawks deficit to two.

NJCU intentionally walked Angelo, and junior catcher Matt Shuhet drew a walk during the next at-bat to load the bases with two outs. But the Red Hawks could not capitalize and NJCU escaped the rally with a flyout to end the seventh inning.

It was now crunch time for Montclair State, needing two runs to even the game and to complete the comeback in the ninth. The Red Hawks had two runners on base and now at-bat was Angelo. NJCU intentionally walked him for the third time, and the home crowd began to boo. However, it allowed the bases to be loaded.

Shuhet hit a sacrifice fly to center field that cut the deficit to one. Montclair State had two runners on base but with two outs, Gisonda flew out to center. The game finished 5-4 and Montclair State suffered their third straight loss.

“The good thing about the NJAC is that you don’t play every team just one time,” Feaster said. “So we get to go back tomorrow and get another chance at it. As far as losses, what’s more important is what we’re going to do tomorrow.”

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