Baruch Bearcats win CUNYAC regular season


Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

The Baruch College Bearcats baseball team won the CUNY Athletic Conference regular-season title with three games to play after splitting a doubleheader against the John Jay College Bloodhounds (5-27, 4-6 CUNYAC).

Before the loss, Baruch was undefeated in the conference competition.

In the opener, where Baruch won 10-2, Bloodhounds pitcher Marlon Hiciano struggled to locate the strike zone in the first. After hitting the second batter with a pitch, he walked four straight batters while throwing only one strike. Luke Lombardi walked to score Joseph Cocozza for the game’s first run.

John Jay tacked on a pair of runs later that inning, capitalizing on two errors.

The Bearcat offense later overwhelmed the Bloodhounds’ pitching to pull ahead, scoring seven additional runs. By the end of the game, four Baruch hitters had two RBIs, including Pedro Tejada Jr, who went two for three with a two-run homer.

Lawlor earned his fourth win of the season after pitching a complete game. He kept his opponent at bay, allowing five hits and two runs. He struck out seven batters.

Later that day, a disastrous second inning propelled John Jay past Baruch, 6-4, handing the team its first conference loss.

The opposing team chased Benjamin Akerman after one and 2/3 innings, who allowed five runners to score on five hits and one walk in the second.

A Baruch rally in the final inning came short of tying the game. Four of five batters reached base to start the seventh, prompting a John Jay pitching change to closer  Juan Maldanado. Lombardi hit a two RBI single to cut the lead to two runs with one out. However, Robert Wakely was thrown out while trying to advance to third for the second out of the inning.

Brian Hwang singled to set up a man on first and second, but Maldanado secured his first save after Natanael Castillo hit a fielder’s choice.

After the week, Lawlor was named conference Pitcher of the Week for the second-straight week and Tejada Player of the Week.

Earlier on April 12, both teams played in another doubleheader where Baruch swept John Jay with Bearcats pitchers limited their opponents to two runs.

Hwang singled with two outs in the first to score Thomas Drouin , who led the inning off with a walk.

The Bearcats’ bats came out in the second and added four more runs to their lead. Two batters had extra-base hits, Castillo with an RBI triple and Nicolas Umile with a two RBI double.

David Sierra Perez limited the Bloodhounds to six runs and one hit in seven innings, earning his second win of the season.

Cocozza led the Baruch offense past John Jay, 14-1, after batting four for four with five RBIs. He hit a three-run homer in the fifth in the second game.

Baruch continued their conference schedule with a rematch against the City College Beavers (3-17). The Bearcats pummeled the opponent, scoring over 30 runs in the doubleheader.

Wakely doubled in the first, driving in two runs to give Baruch an unwavering lead. Baruch won, 11-2.

City College cut the lead to two runs by the fourth, but Baruch added to their lead in the late innings, scoring another four runs in the seventh, three of which came from a Tejada three RBI homer.

Lawlow pitched another complete game, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out a career-high nine batters.

The second game was tied at four runs up until the third inning when Baruch’s offense exploded and scored eight runs in consecutive innings. The Bearcats won, 24-8.

Cocozza and Lombardi led the team with four RBIs each.

Lawlor was named Pitcher of the Week and Cocozza was named Rookie of the Week at the end of the week.

The team then played two non-conference matches against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (18-13) and the St. Joseph’s College of Brooklyn Bears (4-22).

The Merchant Marine Academy handed Baruch their first loss in nine games after the Bearcats allowed seven unanswered runs in the late innings and lost 8-11.

Against the Bears, the Bearcats had two innings where they scored five and won 16-11. The team had as large as an 11-run lead.

Cocozza led the offense in RBI with five, including scoring an inside-the-park grand slam.

The Bearcats will end the regular season with four straight away games: first at the Ramapo College Roadrunners (13-19-1, 5-9 New Jersey Athletic Conference) on April 26 and a rescheduled match against Farmingdale State College (19-11, 11-5 Skyline Conference) on April 28. Their final game will be a doubleheader at Lehman College on April 30.