BROOKLYN, N.Y.— Led by timely hitting and complete games by sophomore Baylor Sundahl and senior John Sostarich, the Sacred Heart baseball team earned a huge doubleheader sweep over LIU Brooklyn on Friday afternoon. The Pioneers (20-34, 13-13 NEC) earned a 6-5 come from behind victory in game one courtesy of redshirt junior PJ DeFilippo's two-run home run in the top of the seventh and a 3-1 victory in game two to eclipse the 20-win mark for the eight-consecutive season.
The Blackbirds (22-27, 12-13 NEC) struck early in the opening game as Joe Curcio roped the RBI single to shortstop in the bottom of the second inning to take the 1-0 lead. Reigning NEC Player of the Week, Harrison Preschel picked up the sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third inning to push the lead to 2-0. SHU threatened with a runner on third for the second straight inning in the top of the fourth but Blackbirds starter Patrick Clyne was able to escape the inning. LIU Brooklyn got two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as Luis Arias scored on a throwing error by sophomore Baylor Sundahl and Dom Paiotti hit a RBI single up the middle.
SHU looked to make things happen in the top of the fifth inning as freshman Stephen Thibault opened the inning with a single. Senior Ted Shaw and junior Anthony Capozziello followed that up with a single to left field and bunt single respectively to load the bases. Senior Keith Klebart then smashed a grand slam over the left field fence to tie the ball game at 4-4. The Blackbirds took the lead again in the bottom of the fifth as Arias lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Pioneers were faced with two outs in the top of the seventh against LIU Brooklyn's closer Mike Kreiger but Klebart delivered his third hit of the ballgame to extend the inning. Up to the plate stepped the Pioneers leading hitter, DeFilippo delivered the biggest hit of the season driving the 3-1 offering from Kreiger over the right field fence for the 6-5 lead. Sundahl only yielded one hit over the final two innings for the first complete game victory for SHU this season.
Klebart picked up his 11th multi-RBI game of the season, tying his season high with four RBI. Klebart and Shaw picked up their 15th and 16th multi-hit games of the season. Sundahl tossed his first career complete game for his fourth victory of the season.
The Pioneers kept the momentum rolling into the start of game two as DeFilippo picked up the RBI groundout with runners on second and third. LIU looked to answer in the bottom of the inning earning three straight walks to load the bases with one out. Sostarich picked up a big strikeout to Curcio to escape the jam. Senior catcher Jake Friar extended the Pioneers lead to 2-0 with his sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the second inning.
LIU Brooklyn got on the board in the bottom of the third inning with their first hit of the game courtesy of Andrew Turner's RBI single to left field. Both Nick Freijomil and Sostarich kept both offenses scoreless through the fourth and fifth innings.
SHU was ready to make some noise in the top of the sixth inning as junior Dan Schock roped the double to left field and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Friar, junior Alex Perry hit a double to right field to score Schock from third for the 3-1 lead. Will Jackson got the strikeout to Shaw to get to two outs then Brown worked a full count walk to load the bases.Up to the plate stepped, Klebart who teed up the 3-2 pitch from Jackson off the left field foul pole for what was presumably his second grand slam of the afternoon. But the runs were brought back as LIU appealed to first base, where Klebart was called out for missing the bag to end the inning.
The Blackbirds looked to carry that momentum into the bottom half of the inning as they worked runners on first and second with two outs. Anthony Capo delivered the RBI single to center field but Perry came up big, nailing Curcio at third base before the run scored keeping the score 3-1. LIU then brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on second, Sostarich picked up the huge swinging strikeout to end the ball game.
Schock led the Pioneers with two of the teams six hits in the second contest. Sostarich threw the first complete game of his career, tying a career single-game high seven strikeouts and season win total with his fourth victory.
The magic number for the Pioneers to earn a spot in the 2017 Northeast Conference Baseball tournament is one. SHU can clinch with a win against LIU Brooklyn in the series finale, tomorrow starting at 1:00 p.m. or a Wagner loss to Mount St. Mary's.