Baseball: PSU Brandywine’s Late Comeback Edges Gothic Knights

DAVENPORT, Fla. – The New Jersey City University Baseball team was defeated today, March 7, by the Penn State Brandywine Lions in a back and forth thriller. In the affair that saw four different lead changes, PSUB was able to make a late-inning comeback, defeating the Green and Gold 8-5.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the top-half of the third-inning, junior outfielder Bryan Fernandez (Sayreville, NJ / Sayreville War Memorial) got the action going for the squad, leading off the inning with a single down the left-field line, followed by a stolen base that moved him into scoring position for the hottest hitter in the NJCU (1-4) lineup, fellow junior outfielder Josh Hernandez (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista Community). The smooth-swinging lefty delivered again for Jersey City, scorching a ball to the opposite field, scoring Fernandez and tying the game up. Hernandez is now hitting a team-high .412 through his first four starts for the Gothic Knights.

NJCU was not finished there, as Hernandez continued the aggressive base-running with a stolen base for himself, setting up senior co-captain Ricky Voss (Eatontown, NJ / Monmouth Regional) to knock him in. Voss did just that, sending a fly-ball into left field to score Hernandez and give Jersey City the early 2-1 lead.

The Gothic Knights turned to freshman Andre Dean (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield) to make his first-career start for the squad. The stat line for the young Gothic would not necessarily show it, but Dean was impressive in his first start, despite battling through three different NJCU errors. The freshman finished his rainy afternoon with 4.1 innings pitched, four strikeouts and two walks.

Following a 1-2-3 inning from Dean, NJCU again put pressure on PSUB, this time, it was senior catcher Mitchell Leslie (Gibbstown, NJ / Gloucester Tech)who made his first start of the season behind the plate after returning from injury, and sophomore slugger Ali Pompey (Belle Meade, NJ / Trenton Catholic). Leslie started the top half of the fourth with a rocket to left, and then advance to second after another stolen base by Jersey City. Leslie did not have to wait long to round the bases, with Pompey finding the right field line for a double, bringing home the senior and extending the lead to 3-1.

The Lions did not go away without a roar, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fourth to retake the lead. As stated earlier, both teams went back-and-forth and this did not change entering the fifth.

NJCU retaliated with two runs of its own, retaking the lead at 5-4. The rally was started by Hernandez and Voss, who led off the inning with back-to-back walks. The Gothic Knights put the pressure on after junior Jimmy Vizzoni (Hamilton, NJ / Trenton Catholic) and Leslie notched hard-hit balls to the infield, causing a Brandywine throwing error that allowed New Jersey City to go back on top 5-4 heading into the bottom half of the fifth.

The Lions’ offense was too much for the squad, however, as they poured on four runs in the fifth and sixth inning, and ultimately won the seven inning game, 8-5.

Highlights:
– Jersey City ended the game with seven stolen bases, the most they’ve had in one game during the 2021-22 season.
– Also, the squad found success putting the ball in play, only striking out three times as a team.

Up Next:
Game two of today’s doubleheader was postponed due to rain, with a to-be-determined makeup date coming back up to the Northeast later this season. For now, NJCU returns to the field tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8, but this time the squad will travel to Auburndale, Fla, to take on Ohio Northern University at the Lake Myrtle Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 am

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