NEW CASTLE, Del. (May 14, 2016) -- The Felician University baseball team went 2-for-2 on Saturday with a pair of wins over Philadelphia University to claim the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Baseball Championship at Wilson Field in New Castle, Del. The Golden Falcons won game one, 9-2, and then regrouped to stave off a furious PhilaU rally in game two to pick up a 13-8 triumph to win the program's second conference title in the last three years.
Felician improved to 32-19 on the season, which is a program record for wins in a single season. The top-seeded Golden Falcons swept the conference baseball titles this season, as Felician won the regular championship and raised the post-season tournament's trophy and banner. Philadelphia completed its season at 23-28, as the win total marked the most for the Rams since the 1995 campaign.
The Golden Falcons earned the CACC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, which will begin on Thursday at a site to be determined. The NCAA will announce its official brackets on Sunday night at NCAA.com(.)
CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL GAME 1: FELICIAN 9, PHILADELPHIA 2 // Boxscore
Matt Diesel drove in a game-high three runs and was one of six Golden Falcons to log multipe hits to pace the team's offensive attack. Bruce Strickland was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Matt Blandino pitched 2.1 innings of relief to earn the win on the mound for Felician. He came on to relieve starter Drue Brooks in the fifth inning after PhilaU got a two-run homer from Fernando Garza to trim Felician's lead to 3-2. Blandino was cool on the mound, as he yielded just one base hit over 2.1 innings of work to earn his first win of the championship tournament.
Felician plated three runs in the second, seventh and eighth innings to pick up the seven-run win. Diesel highlighted the seventh with a two-run single to center field, scoring Strickland and J.R. Meneses, and then knocked in another run in the eighth. Andrew LaMura added an RBI double to center in the eighth.
Jonathan Gottschall started on the mound for Philadelphia and took the loss after yielding six runs -- four earned -- on 11 hits over 6.0 innings. Brandon Quaranta and Steven Wells added a pair of hits in addition to Garza's blast.
CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL GAME 2: FELICIAN 13, PHILADELPHIA 8 // Boxscore
Felician put a crooked number on the board in the second inning, as the Golden Falcons plated seven runs for an early 7-0 advantage. LaMura had the highlight of the inning with a three-run shot, as Felician sent 10 batters to the plate.
Philadelphia, though, didn't fold and came around to score three times in the fifth to pull within four runs. Felician countered with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning, including an RBI double to center field by Meneses.
The Rams kept coming in the sixth, as Matthew McGee singled to lead off the inning and Andres Valbuena worked a four-pitch walk to allow Garza to follow and laser a three-run homer over the fence in left field. The homer not only pulled the Rams to within four runs, but was also the 200th of Garza's impressive collegiate career. Wells added an RBI sacrifice fly later in the frame to trim the deficit to three runs (10-7).
PhilaU had another incredible opportunity in the seventh inning, as the Rams loaded the bases with nobody out. However, some solid pitching and defense by Felician limited Philadelphia to just one run to trim the score to 10-8.
Felician took advantage of that in the bottom of the eighth with three insurance runs. Danny Naif, who worked the final four innings on the mound for Felician, shut the door on PhilaU in the ninth to pick up his ninth save of the season -- which leads the conference.
Dean Loucka started on the mound for the Golden Falcons and earned the win to improve to 3-4 after going 5.0 innings and yielding three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and five walks.
LaMura drove in a game-best four runs, while Martone and Meneses each added a pair of RBI. In addition to Garza's three RBI for Philadelphia, Quaranta and Wells knocked in a pair each as well.
LaMura was named the most valuable player of the championship and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Strickland, Jason Polgano, Matt Kleinstein and Meneses. Three Rams made the team, including Garza, Quaranta and Casey O'Donnell, who earned two wins on the mound in the championship. Also making the all-tournament team was the Dominican College duo of Carlos Lopez and Arbely Soto, and Chestnut Hill College pitcher Patrick Kelley.
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
2016 CACC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Patrick Kelley (Chestnut Hill)
Carlos Lopez (Dominican)
Arbely Soto (Dominican)
Fernando Garza (Philadelphia)
Casey O'Donnell (Philadelphia)
Brandon Quaranta (Philadelphia)
Matt Kleinstein (Felician)
Andrew LaMura (Felician)
J.R. Meneses (Felician)
Jason Polgano (Felician)
Bruce Strickland (Felician)
MVP: Andrew LaMura (Felician)