NEWARK, NJ – The Sacred Heart baseball team split an afternoon doubleheader with the NJIT Highlanders Saturday afternoon at River Front Stadium. The Pioneers dropped game one 5-3, before rebounding with a 6-3 win in the finale. SHU is now 15-11 on the season.
Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT) was hit with the loss in game one after giving up a grand slam in the eighth inning. Kerski, who had given up only three earned runs all season, was lit up for five against NJIT.
Senior Conor McEvoy (Watertown, CT) went three-for four with a RBI and a run scored in game one.
The Highlanders struck first in the second inning with a Tom Bouck RBI double to right center to score Ed Charlton from first.
The Pioneers evened things in the fourth inning when McEvoy doubled home Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY). Sullivan started the two-out rally with a walk.
McEvoy was once again in on the action in the seventh, leading off the inning with a base hit. After advancing to third on a Matt Charmello (Rossmoor, CA) fielder's choice, McEvoy scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Derick Horn (Valatie, NY). Victor Sorrento (Monroe Township, NJ) followed Horn with a RBI double to left center field to score Charmello and give SHU a 3-1 lead.
After three straight singles off Kerski loaded the bases in the eighth, right fielder Matt Weckerle smacked a clutch grand slam to put the Highlanders up 5-3.
The Pioneers were unable to muster anything in the ninth and dropped game one.
In game two, the Pioneers scored three in the sixth and rebounded from game one with a 6-3 vicotry. Reliever James Cooksey (Norwalk, CT) registered the win after giving up two unearned runs in four innings out of the bullpen.
Unlike game one, Sacred Heart jumped out to the lead in the top of the first inning of game two. McEvoy continued his sensational day at the plate with a bases loaded walk to put SHU up 1-0. Sophomore Jesus Medina (New York, NY) started the rally with a base hit, while freshman Zack Short (Hurley, NY) and Sullivan both initiated walks.
NJIT responded right back in the bottom half of the first when Teddy Bickert came around to score on a Charlton fielder's choice.
Sacred Heart kept the pressure on NJIT in the third inning. After Short forced a walk to start the inning, Sullivan pushed him over to third on a single up the middle. McEvoy would then continue the rally and load the bases with a walk. Short was able to trot home on a Dan Perez (Seymour, CT) double play. Following the double play, Sorrento came up with a two-out single through the left side to score McEvoy and put SHU up 3-1.
Down, but not out in the fourth, Weckerle was once again able to bring NJIT back with a double to score Bickert.Weckerle would then come around to score and tie the game on a Mike Rampone ground out to short.
Short and McEvoy once again struck for Sacred Heart in the sixth. After back-to-back base hits by freshman Keith Klebart (Orange, CT) and Medina, Short singled to left field to give SHU to 4-3 lead. After a Sullivan walk, McEvoy put the finishing touches on his terrific day with a single to left field to score Short and Medina and put SHU up 6-3.
Cooksey closed the door on the Highlanders with a scoreless sixth and seventh.
Sacred Heart and NJIT will play another doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, this time at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. It will be Sacred Heart's first two home games of the 2014 season.