FLEMINGTON, NJ (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Sophomore first baseman ALEX WEINSTEIN(Colonia, NJ/JFK-Iselin) and senior center fielder MICHAEL PATTERSON (Piscataway, NJ/Piscataway) became the first players inNew Jersey City University to hit grand slams in the same inning and the tandem combined for 10 RBIs as NJCU scored nine runs in the fifth inning to overcome an 11-7 deficit and battled past Centenary College, 18-12 in a game two of a non-conference doubleheader on February 24 at Diamond Nation. The game was a seven-inning contest.
NJCU (3-3) pounded out 19 hits one game after defeating Centenary (1-5), 2-0 in 10 innings, in a pitcher's duel. Patterson chalked up a career-high six RBIs and was 2-for-4 with three runs, his first career NJCU homerun, and two steals. Weinstein rung up four RBIs on a 2-for-3 effort with one run; it was his first homerun of the season and fourth of his career.
NJCU's two-grand slam inning marked just the 10th time that has occurred in NCAA Division III history and the first time since Wheaton College (IL) hit a pair against North Central College (IL) on April 1, 2008.
Moreover, NJCU ended a nearly 10-year drought without a grand slam and hit only its fourth and fifth grand slams since records began being tracked in the category in 2000. The last slam was on April 15, 2003 by Phil Lospalluto, also versus Centenary College.
In a game where eight different players tallied multiple hits for NJCU, the Knights continued getting contributions from veterans and newcomers alike. In all, each of the nine batters in the starting lineup had at least one hit and one run scored.
Sophomore shortstop MICHAEL MARTUCCI(Bayonne, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) was 3-for-3 with a run and RBI. Freshman right fielderJOMAR CASIANO (Jersey City, NJ/Ferris)produced a 2-for-4, two-run effort in his second career start.
Senior left-hander PEDRO GARCIA (North Bergen, NJ/Saint Joseph of the Palisades)earned the victory (1-0) in relief, throwing the final 4.0 innings with three strikeouts and only one walk, while giving up just a lone unearned run in the seventh inning and just one single versus 15 batters faced over 60 pitches. He was the third of three Gothic Knight pitchers used, in place of sophomore KEVIN DEMAURO(Kearny, NJ/Kearny), who gave up four hits but walked five in 2.1 innings as a starter.
Freshman Joe Frankosky (Columbia, NJ/North Warren Regional), the second of five Cyclones to take the hill, took the loss (0-2), giving up six runs on seven hits in 2.0 innings while facing 13 batters (43 pitches).
Sophomore left fielder Nick Ortiz (Bronx, NY)went 2-for-4 for the second game in a row and scored three times with one RBI. Sophomore shortstop Kevin Litus (Freehold, NJ/Freehold)was 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
Also for the Cyclones, senior right fielder Ian Steepy (Elmwood Park, NJ/Elmwood Park Memorial) had two RBIs. Sophomore designated hitter Joe Forcellini (Hatfield, PA)and sophomore second baseman Ryan Mariotti (Prospect, CT) each scored twice.
Centenary answered with eight runs on six hits in the bottom of the third as 13 men came to the plate. Steepy had a two-run single to cut the deficit to 7-6 before coming across on a passed ball for an 8-7 edge. After two more RBI singles, Ortiz doubled, making the CC lead 10-7 and the Cyclones added another base hit for an 11th run and a four-run lead.
But the Cyclones were held to one hit after the third inning and NJCU responded with nine runs on 10 hits as 13 batters came to the plate in the historic fifth inning.
Rivera and Niech each singled to lead off andMartucci walked to load the bases. Weinsteincame to the plate and ripped a 2-1 pitch over the right field fence to tie the game at 11-11 with the first grand slam in 10 seasons.Matlosz followed with a single and after the hosts went to the bullpen, D'Errico andCasiano each singled to fill the bags yet again. Still with no outs recorded, Patterson stepped to the plate and launched the first pitch he saw down the right field line and out of the yard for a 15-11 lead, the second slam of the inning, and the eighth consecutive Gothic Knight to reach base. Senyszyn doubled and Rivera followed with another double to make it 16-11, before being retired at third base trying to stretch the knock into a triple. That concluded a record-breaking a streak of seven consecutive Knights to record a hit and 10 straight batters to reach base safely.
NJCU added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth on a two-RBI single by Pattersonto extend the lead to 18-11 before the Cyclones scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Knights will play their seventh came prior to their annual Florida spring trip on Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m. when NJCU faces Eastern Connecticut State University in a neutral field game as part of the inaugural 'Birthplace of Baseball Classic' hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology at Dobbelaar Field in Hoboken, NJ.