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Baseball: Purple Knights fend off Molloy

By David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness report checked against official box score.)

BRIDGEPORT, CT- In game 4 of the home and home series between Molloy and the Bridgeport Purple Knights, UB was able to pick up a big win at home Sunday afternoon. Bridgeport starter Dave Egeland gave up 2 of Molloy’s runs and left with the visitor’s leading. He was replaced by P.J. Martino who pitched 5 innings for the win as most of UB’s offense came while he was on the mound. Martino didn’t allow a hit out of the Lions and his relief Ray Kreiger allowed just 1 hit and 1 run. Martino struck out 4 and Egeland 2. Ronald Bauer got the loss for Molloy giving up 8 runs before being pulled in the 6th. Bauer also walked 7 and struck out 4. Reliever Shawn Klotsche gave up 4 runs in 1.1 innings of work. Joseph Nastasi was the most effective Molloy pitcher facing 4 batters and striking out 3 of them.

With Molloy up 2-0 in the bottom of the 2nd, Tim Bickford came to the plate and smashed the ball over the left fence for a home run. UB would threaten but not pick up any more runs in the inning. Alex Jannotta came up with a great grab of a liner to end the top of the third, and UB came to bat. In the bottom of the third, Jose Negron was called out on strikes, and Molloy left the field, the umpire’s conferred and it turned out Negron had fouled off the last pitch to the Lions returned. Negron singled to left with a full count. John Ascenzia was then walked, and Bickford singled to right scoring Negron to tie the game. Ascenzia moved to third. Soon afterward, Bickford stole second,a and as the catcher was attempting to deal with him, Ascenzia stole home. UB was now up 3-2.

Tyler Theiss opened the bottom of the fourth doubling down the line. Dylan Steigerwald bunted the ball and confused Molloy allowing him to reach first. He later stole second, and a wild pitch allowed Theiss to score. Jannotta walked Tyler Gambardella advanced the runners on a ground out. Casey Ouellette hit a grounder, which led to Jannotta being caught in a run down. Steigerwald scored in the meantime, and Ouellette eventually made it to second. After a wild pitch he was on third. Negron walked and stole second, then Ascenzia walked, but a ground out ended the inning. Still UB was now up 5-2 in short order.

Martino opened the top of the fifth with two strikeouts and then a ground out took care of the side. He later held off threats from Molloy in the top of the sixth as well.

In the bottom of the sixth Ouellette singled to right. Negron then advanced him on a ground out. Eventually with two outs, Bickford came up, and they intentionally walked him. This resulted in the absurd occurrence of Casey McCone smashing a three run homer to left. This was the end of Bauer’s day. The inning wrapped up with UB now up 8-2.

Steigerwald came up with a critical defensive play in the seventh when the wind carried a popper in an odd direction, he awkwardly made the diving catch to keep a runner off, and two batters later the half inning was over.

Steigerwald then began the bottom half getting first base on an interference call. Jannotta singled to center, then Gambardella hit it by the short stop (ruled as an error) and Steigerwald came to home. Ouellette walked loading the bases, but Negron didn’t bring them home. Ascenzia however doubled to left driving in two more runs. Bickford than flied out to shallow right and Ouellette tagged and hustled home. Ascenzia was thrown out post run trying to get to third. The score was 12-2.

In the eighth, Brian Murphy made it to first when his grounder was bobbled by Steigerwald. He would soon steal second, and Kevin Podell’s single drove him home. While UB tried to get a throw home, it went wild allowing Podell to get to second. He later was advanced to third but there he would stay.

Bridgeport eventually made short work of the Lions in the top of the ninth to end it. Bridgeport posted 12 runs 13 hits and 2 errors to Molloy’s 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 errors.

UB is now 14-8, but 10-6 in conference. Molloy falls to 15-15 and 4-8 in the conference.

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