UAlbany baseball drops close game against NJIT to open postseason


Stony Brook, N.Y. (NEWS10) — UAlbany held a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning but NJIT rallied for five runs and held on for a 5-4 victory in each team’s opening playoff game. 

“The bottom line is that they pitched a little better than us,” coach Jon Mueller said. “The message here is that someone has to come out of the loser’s bracket tomorrow, so why not us. We have a quick turnaround against a very good team in Stony Brook and we’ll get back to work then.”

Key Stats 

  • Ray Weber took the loss after he pitched eight innings and allowed five runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
  • Josh Loeffler hit a pinch-hit home run the eighth inning.
  • Brad Malm went 1-for-2 with one RBI and one walk.
  • Tyler Stafflinger earned the win after he pitched seven innings and allowed three runs (none earned) on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
  • Jake Rappaport earned a two-inning save to preserve the win.
  • Julio Marcano, Matt Cocciadiferr and Paul Franzoni all hit homeruns for the Highlanders.

How it Happened 

  • The first 11 hitters of the game were retired before John Daly produced the game’s first hit with a double in the bottom of the second inning. 
  • Ray Weber did not allow his first hit until two outs in the third inning, where he escaped a two-runner jam after surrendering a walk.
  • UAlbany stuck first in the bottom of the third inning when Josh Gurnack scored on a Chase Carroll hit to the outfield that NJIT left fielder Julio Marcano dropped.
  • After Dolan Ocasal singled on a bunt that put Carroll on third with a throwing error, Will Feil and Brad Malm produced back-to-back sacrifice flies that extended UAlbany’s lead to 3-0.
  • After all-six batters in the fourth inning were retired, NJIT got on the board when Paul Franzoni hit a solo home run to center field that cut the Great Danes’ lead to 3-1. 
  • In the bottom half, Gurnack reached on a walk and initially advanced to second base on a balk that was reversed after an umpire’s conference. After the reversal, UAlbany was sent down in order.
  • After two scoreless innings, NJIT broke through in the eighth inning with four runs, all coming with two outs. J. Marcano hit a game-tying two-run home run, followed two batters later by a Matt Cocciadiferr two-run home run that gave NJIT a 5-3 lead.
  • With First Team relief pitcher Jake Rappaport taking the mound in the eighth inning, Josh Loeffler hit a pinch-hit solo home run to cut the deficit to 5-4.
  • In the top of the ninth inning, NJIT loaded the bases with one out. Rob Manetta came in to relieve Steven Turk and struck out both NJIT hitters to get out of the bases loaded jam.
  • In the bottom half, Marc Wangenstein led off the inning with a double. After Gurnack moved him over with a flyout, UAlbany could not drive in from third and NJIT sealed the 5-4 victory.
  • With the win, NJIT will face Maine, while UAlbany will face Stony Brook in the elimination game.

Next: UAlbany will face Stony Brook in the elimination game, schedule for 10 a.m. Friday, May 28.

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