NEW CASTLE, Del. – The Philadelphia University baseball team scored five times in the final two innings to come from behind and knock off top-seeded Felician University 8-6 in the opening game of the double-elimination Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Friday morning on Wilmington University's Wilson Field.
Philadelphia (22-26)—in the CACC Tournament field for the first time in three years—moves into the tournament's winner's bracket and will face Dominican (N.Y.), a 5-3 winner over Chestnut Hill on Friday, May 13 at 9 a.m. The victory goes straight to the championship round on Saturday, while the loser plays in an elimination game against the Felician/Chestnut Hill winner at 2 p.m. Friday.
The Rams trailed 4-3 heading into the eighth innings and manufactured three runs to take a 6-4 advantage.
With runners on the corners on a Michael Melendez (Lansdale, Pa./Christopher Dock) double and a Dan Klusman (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth) bunt single, Steven Wells (Yardley, Pa./The Hun School) lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Melendez for the tying run. Matthew McGee (Forrest Hill, Md./John Carroll) stepped up two batters later and laid down a perfect bunt down the first-base line to reach safely and score Klusman to put Philadelphia in front. Andres Valbuena (Miami, Fla./Doral Academy) tacked on an insurance run in the next at-bat, dropping a bunt for a base hit and bringing home David McTaggart (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth).
After Felician (29-19) got a run back on a Bruce Strickland single during its turn in the eighth, Wells crushed a Danny Naif pitch, sending it over the right field fence for his CACC-leading 12th home run of the season, and extending the gap to 8-5 in the ninth.
Andrew LaMura capped off a 3-for-4 game with a solo homer in Felician's half of the ninth.
With Philadelphia leading 2-1, Felician pushed three runs across, two on a Brennan Price one-out double, to jump in front 4-2 after three. The Rams got a run back in the fourth on a Valbuena RBI single.
All nine starters had at least one hit for the Rams, who had 14 as a team. Fernando Garza (Laredo, Texas/Alexander), Klusman, Wells, McGee, and Valbuena recorded two hits each.
Felician's offense—which posted 15 hits—got three hits a piece from Price, LaMura, and Strickland.
Philadelphia received a strong outing from starter Casey O'Donnell (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham), who gave the Rams seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on 12 hits, and struck out four to improve to 5-4. Jonathan Gottschall (Reading, Pa./Governor Mifflin) threw the final two innings, fanning two, to earn his first collegiate save.
The Golden Falcons' Matt Blandino was hit with the loss after surrendering six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in 7.1 innings.