By Steven M. Glassman
Director of Sports Information
May 7, 2018
CRANFORD, NJ— Union County College (10-31 Overall, 5-23 Region XIX Division III) sophomore first baseman Tavis Brunson went two-for-four (including a home run), with three RBI and two runs scored as the Owls defeated the Manor College Blue Jays (2-20, 1-15), 8-3 in the final NJCAA Division III game for both schools.
The Owls opened the scoring in the bottom of the first on a Brunson one-out RBI ground out to first and a sophomore Dylan Walicky one-out double to center.
The Blue Jays cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth. Freshman second baseman Hector Morales (Philadelphia, PA/Esperanza Charter) led off with a single to right off of starting pitcher Mark Perez. Freshman center fielder Trevor Schmanek (Philadelphia, PA/St. Joseph's Prep) advanced Morales to second on a ground out to second. Morales went to third on a Perez throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Morales scored on a one-out Perez wild pitch.
Union County added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings. Sophomore designated hitter Jordan Diaz one-out sacrifice fly to right in the fourth and Brunson's none-out, two-run home run to right accounted for the Owls' scoring.
Manor scored a two-out run in the top of the sixth. Freshman catcher Abimael Mercado (Philadelphia, PA/Juan Ponce De Leon [PR]) reached on a freshman shortstop Calvin Colon throwing error. Freshman starting pitcher Samuel Pena (Philadelphia, PA/Liceo Vespertino Pedro MIR [DR]) singled to right and moved Mercado to second. Perez' wild pitch allowed Mercado advance to third and Pena to second and Walicky's throwing error scored Mercado on the play.
Union scored in the bottom of the sixth on a Colon two-out double to right. The Owls completed its scoring in the bottom of the seventh on a Walicky one-out double to left. Altogether, they scored runs in four straight innings.
The Blue Jays finished its scoring in the top of the eighth off of freshman relief pitcher Juan Morales. Schmanek reached on an infield single to Morales. Mercado's single to right moved Schmanek to third. On the play, Mercado advanced to second on sophomore second baseman Luis Rullan's fielding error. Freshman right fielder Francis Beras' (Philadelphia, PA/Mariana Bracetti) two-out fielder's choice ground out to the pitcher scored Schmanek.
Batting Leaders: Morales and freshman shortstop Jose Romero (Philadelphia, PA/Frankford) each had two hits. Romero also had two doubles and Morales scored a run. Freshman Sauriel Baez (Philadelphia, PA/Esperanza Charter), freshman right fielder Courtney Maddox-Kent (Philadelphia, PA/Edison), and Mercado each reached base twice. Maddox-Kent and Mercado each stole a base for the Blue Jays.
Walicky went three-for-four (including a double) with two runs scored, two stolen bases, and a RBI. Colon and sophomore center fielder Kenneth Matta also each had two hits. Matta contributed two runs scored and Diaz knocked in two for the Owls.
Pitching Leaders: Pena struck out seven (and walked one) in 6 2/3 innings pitched for Manor.
Perez struck out nine (and walked three) in six innings for the victory. He also allowed six hits and two runs (one earned). Morales collected the save, throwing three innings, striking out three, allowing three hits, and one run for Union County College.
Next Game: Manor plays the USCAA Central Pennsylvania College Knights (15-13) on Tuesday, May 8 at Lawnton Field in Lawnton, Pennsylvania at 3:30 p.m. This will be the final regular season game for both schools.