KINGS POINT, N.Y. (March 22, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball team won its home-opener over visiting, non-conference foe John Jay College, 16-14, at Lower Roosevelt Field on Tuesday. The victory, which came in a darkness-shortened eight innings, improves the Mariners' record to 4-9 on the season, while the Bloodhounds fall to 1-12.
Sophomore Bryson Campbell (Cool, Calif.) and freshman Kai Vitella (Lewes, Del.) had huge games at the dish for USMMA, as Campbell was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer, and three runs scored and Vitella was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs.
Both teams' starting pitchers had short nights, as the score was 8-8 through four innings of play. The Mariners jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as sophomore Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.) had an RBI single to left that wound up scoring a second run after the ball passed the left fielder, which also allowed Barnes to reach third. Vitella plated Barnes with a sacrifice fly to center in the next AB.
John Jay responded immediately in the next half-inning, as they brought four runs across to take a 4-3 advantage. USMMA tied up the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the third with an RBI-single up the middle by senior Jeff Suciu (Zanesville, Ohio) that scored Vitella.
The Bloodhounds scored four more runs in the top of the fourth to force the Mariners to go to their bullpen, but Merchant Marine answered back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score up yet again. Vitella hit a two-out, two-RBI single to center the scored junior Matthew Thomson (Memphis, Tenn.) and Campbell and then Barnes came around to score as well as the ball was misplayed by the center fielder. The next batter, junior Rick Kernan (Blythewood, S.C.), brought Vitella home with a single down the right field line.
The Mariners took the lead for good in the fifth inning, when they scored three times. Campbell hit a sacrifice fly that plated freshman Jesse Reinebold (Granger, Ind.), Barnes hit into an RBI fielder's choice that scored Thomson and then Vitella singled to right to score Barnes all the way from first.
After John Jay got one run back in the top of the sixth to make the score 11-9, USMMA put up a five-spot in the bottom of the sixth to blow the game open. Sophomore Steve Lucy (Leawood, Kan.) had a two-RBI single with the bases loaded that scored classmate Alex Gambino (Haddonfield, N.J.) and Reinebold and then Campbell hit the Mariners first home run of the season, a three-run shot down the left field line to make the score 16-9.
Despite their best efforts with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth, the Bloodhounds fell short as the game was called due to darkness.
Freshman John Kelly Jr. (Apex, N.C.) earned the victory, the first of his collegiate career, as he tossed 2.2 innings in relief and allowed just one run on three hits with two strikeouts.
For John Jay, Matthew Quirindongo suffered the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits in 1.2 innings of work.
Up next, Merchant Marine hosts Landmark Conference opponent Drew University in a three-game series this weekend at Lower Roosevelt Field. The first game, a single, nine-inning contest will be played on Friday, March 25, at 3:30 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.
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