PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- In their first game of the UMES Tournament, the Saint Peter's University baseball team was able to rally back from a three-run deficit to defeat the defending Ivy League champions, Cornell University, 4-3.
The Peacocks trailed the Big Red by three runs heading into the bottom of the eighth, but were able to tally four runs during their turn at bat to capture the come from behind victory.
"Today our guys showed immense character and never gave up. Due to the difficult weather, both teams faced a challenge in creating offense, but our approach never changed and we were finally able to break through in the eighth", commented Head Coach Sean Cashman after the win.
Junior Zach Hopf (Woodbridge, N.J./Woodbridge) threw seven innings and scattered three hits in the no-decision. Hopf struck out four, walked four and was charged with an earned run.
Center fielder Matt Mancini (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) went a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate in the leadoff spot, while scoring a run and recording an RBI.
Freshman right handed pitcher Nathaniel Leon (Brooklyn, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) was credited with the victory for Saint Peter's; pitching two/thirds of an inning and giving up just one hit.
Senior Ethan Jackson (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) notched the first save of his career, pitching a scoreless ninth.
Tom D'Alessandro led the Big Red, going 2-for-3 while driving in all three of the squad's runs. Brenton Peters scored two runs for Cornell.
The score was knotted at zero, until Cornell was finally able to break through for the first run of the game in the sixth on an RBI single up the middle by D'Alessandro. D'Alessandro expanded the Big Red lead to 3-0 by delivering a two-RBI base hit two innings later.
Saint Peter's bats soon came to life however, as Nicholas Henriquez (Paramus, N.J./Paramus) singled on to start the eighth, followed by a base hit by Brian Schroeder (Iselin, N.J./Iselin) to put runners at first and second. Two batters later, pinch hitter Pat Farell (Jersey City, N.J./Marist) would be hit by a pitch to load the bases for Mancini, who singled home the first Peacock run.
An RBI single to left center field by William Rawson (Asburn, Va./Broad Run) brought the Peacocks within one (3-2), while a fielder's choice RBI by catcher James Smith (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) scored Alberto Rodriguez (Hackensack, N.J./St. Joseph's Regional-Montvale) to knot the score.
A double steal with two outs gave Saint Peter's what proved to be the game-winning run, as Mancini stole home while Smith was thrown out at second.
Saint Peter's will face off against tournament host UMES tomorrow morning at 11:30am, and will then match up against the Big Red again at 2:30pm.
Reigning NJCBA Division I Rookie of the Week John Leiter (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) will receive his first collegiate start against the Hawks, while senior Mathew Yuhas Freehold, N.J./Freehold Boro) takes the mound against Cornell in the night cap.