Tennis, baseball, volleyball clinch CUNYAC titles

The Baruch Bearcats completed a CUNYAC title trifecta, with the men's baseball, volleyball and tennis teams clinching regular season conference championships and securing their spots in their NCAA Tournaments.  Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

The Baruch Bearcats completed a CUNYAC title trifecta, with the men's baseball, volleyball and tennis teams clinching regular season conference championships and securing their spots in their NCAA Tournaments.

Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

In less than three weeks, the Baruch Bearcats let it be known to the rest of the CUNY Athletic Conference that the road to the title went through them. 

The Bearcats clinched three CUNYAC titles in that span, with the men's baseball, tennis and volleyball teams winning conference titles and punching tickets to the 2019 NCAA Tournament in their respective sports.

Baseball

For the fourth time in school history and the first time in seven years, the Baruch College Bearcats baseball team won the CUNYAC Championship. 

The Bearcats swept the four-time defending champions, the College of Staten Island Dolphins in a best of three series, having won the first game by a score of 4-2 and taking care of business in Game 2 by a score of 5-3.

The Dolphins came out determined to tie the series, going ahead 3-0 after two innings. Then Matthew Lawlor was brought on to quiet the Staten Island bats.

The sophomore allowed just one run in his 5.2 innings of work. Lawlor's most important out may have been his first. With the bases loaded in the first inning, and with two runs already in, the Dolphins were poised to take a commanding lead. Lawlor, however, got the first batter he faced to groundout and keep the game within reach.

The Bearcats’ offense finally came alive in the third inning. After an Angelo Alessandro walk and a Davic Capellan single, tournament MVP Jorge Keith Mercado hit a single up the middle to bring home both runners and cut the deficit to 3-2.

Some sharp defense helped keep the Bearcats within a run. First baseman Conor McCabe pulled off the hidden ball trick on a Dolphin base runner to get the Bearcats out of a jam in the second inning. McCabe also made a stellar catch leaning over the railing of the Bearcat dugout to retire a batter in the sixth inning.

In the sixth inning, McCabe led the inning off with a hard-hit double to left field. 

Michael McGroarty then drove him in with a single, tying the game at 3 points. Liam O’Gara then put the Bearcats ahead for the first time in the game with an RBI groundout, driving home Kemal Deljanin. O'Gara scored himself on an RBI single by Alessandro, adding an insurance run to give the Bearcats a 5-3 lead.

Nicholas D’Angelo came into the seventh inning in a very tough spot. 

With the bases loaded and just one out, the sophomore flamethrower got exactly what he needed from the first batter he faced — a ground ball double play to end the inning unblemished. D'Angelo then retired the next five batters he faced. 

But with two outs in the ninth inning, the Dolphins looked to start a comeback rally.

The Dolphins loaded the bases and had the tying run on second base, but D'Angelo kept his composure and got the batter to fly out to Deljanin in center field. 

D’Angelo earned the save after keeping the Dolphins scoreless over the final 2.2 innings, securing the Bearcats’ first CUNYAC title in seven years.

Fresh off winning the CUNYAC championship, the Bearcats will now turn their attention to the NCAA Play-In series against the Eagles of Husson University in Bangor, Maine.

The Bearcats and Eagles will square off in a three-game series starting on May 10 and May 11 in Bangor. Due to concerns over weather, the games could be moved to May 11 and May 12.

The CUNYAC and North Atlantic Conference are each without an automatic berth, but the two conferences have a two-year agreement in which each champion playing against each other will earn a coveted NCAA Tournament berth.

The NAC will host first this year, while next season the CUNYAC will host to decide who plays in the NCAA Tournament.

Men's Tennis

The men's tennis team defeated the College of Staten Island to win its third straight CUNYAC Championship on May 3.

The Bearcats started slowly losing two of three in doubles, but came storming back in the singles to win the first four matches to record the 5-2 win at the Billie Jean King U.S. National Tennis Center in Queens.

Per postseason rules, the match was halted upon the Bearcats winning their fifth team point in singles match No. 4.

Leonard Margolis was named CUNYAC Championship MVP for leading the team to the title and berth to the NCAA.

In first doubles, Margolis teamed with Abhinav Srivastava to post a quick 8-0 shutout. He finished the match at second singles for the team's fifth point by winning 6-3, 6-2.

Hudson Kaylie and Srivastava posted convincing wins in singles, with Kaylie sweeping through in straight sets 6-0, 6-0 and Srivastava nearly matching that performance with a 6-1, 6-0 straight sets victory during match No. 4.

The Bearcats will play Goucher College from Towson, Maryland in their first round matchup in the 2019 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament at Middlebury College in Vermont. 

The winner will take on Middlebury, with the winner of that game moving on to the regional final.

The Bearcats will be making their ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and will be playing against Goucher for the first time.

Men's Volleyball

Just a few weeks prior, the men's volleyball team began the CUNYAC title trifecta by winning its first title since 2015 and defeating the Hunter College Hawks in five exciting sets on April 12 at the Hunter Sportsplex.

Nicholas Godino was named the championship MVP after he pounded out 16 kills against Hunter. He started the evening with nine kills in a tough four-set win to defeat the City College of New York in the semifinals.

The Bearcats used timely hitting and broke open a late tie at 21-21 in the fourth set by notching four of the last six points en route to forcing the fifth set tie-breaker.

The Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set, but the Bearcats never lost their composure and scored five of the last eight points to win their 10th CUNYAC title.

The Bearcats have competed against Hunter in 10 of the last 12 championships, dating back to 2005.

The championship match going five sets has happened seven times in CUNYAC history and this year was the first since 2016. 

The Bearcats lost in three sets to the SUNY New Paltz Hawks in their NCAA tournament first round match on April 19 at Endicott College. 

The No. 9 nationally ranked Hawks totaled 51 kills, hitting .363, while the Bearcats had 32 kills, hitting .267.

The Bearcats battled hard in the match, but the Hawks managed to stay consistently ahead to pull out the win.

Artem Zinkin led the attack with 10 kills and Meni Musheyev totaled six blocks in the Bearcats' fifth appearance in the NCAA. Rookie Stallone Shankar dished out 23 assists in the tough neutral site loss.

Finally, Nick Smith led New Paltz with 15 kills hitting .500.