MADISON, N.J. – For the first time since winning the season opener, the New Jersey City University baseball team moved one game above .500 after beating fellow Jersey rival Drew University this afternoon, Friday, March 25. It is also the fourth victory of the last five games for the team. Despite scoring 57 runs on that stretch, Jersey City trailed a freshman today Andre Dean (Bloomfield, NJ/Bloomfield), who turned in his best performance of his young career as a Gothic Knight, throwing 6.0 scoreless innings with two punches, while allowing only four hits. This outstanding performance from the right-hander earned him his first career victory and dropped his ERA by nearly four points.
The offense did everything it needed and nothing more for NJCU (7-6) today, scoring two runs on six hits. The offense was led by the senior receiver Mitchell Leslie (Gibbstown, NJ/Gloucester Tech) as the cleanup hitter led Jersey City with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate on the low-scoring affair, including an RBI single in the sixth to give the team a 2-0 lead.
The early sunny afternoon was the first junior right fielder Josh Hernandez (Lake Worth, FL/Park Vista Community), who scored a hit down the middle, then stole the second to move into scoring position for the middle of the scorching Gothic Knight roster. Senior Center Fielder Ricky Voss (Eatontown, NJ/Monmouth area) advanced Hernandez by shooting a ball on the ground in second. NJCU should wait for the lead, as the junior third baseman Jimmy Vizzoni (Hamilton, NJ/Trenton Catholic) fielded a ball on the sack of third base for the end-of-inning double play.
On the mound, Dean worked in and out of trouble, but the rookie kept his cool throughout and officially blocked five Rangers (2-14) on base, including four in the scoring position in his first career victory. Finally, the NJCU bats came to life after Leslie led the top half of the fifth inning with a rocket into the opposite field for the double. A walk by another junior left fielder Bryan Fernandez (Sayreville, NJ/Sayreville War Memorial) put pressure on the Rangers with two runners and one out. Green and gold made the most of Drew’s errors and scored on an error following a ground ball by a second-year second baseman Ali Pompey (Belle Meade, NJ/Trenton Catholic) to put NJCU ahead at 1-0.
In the bottom half of the inning, Dean returned a first hit, but he didn’t have to worry for long as his battery partner Mitchell downed a Rangers runner trying to steal the second, restoring the momentum. to gothic knights with three rounds to play. Later, Voss continued his 15-game on-base streak (dating back to last season) with a huge double to left field, again putting a runner in scoring position for the middle of the drive. Again, the green-and-gold catcher came in with a clutch base hit, hitting Voss via a lazer to the opposite field, extending NJCU’s lead to 2-0.
That was all the Jersey City pitching team needed. After Dean completed his final run of work in sixth, junior Justin Wiltsey (Hamilton Township, NJ/Hamilton West) came in to close the door. The right-hander did just that, finishing the last three innings of work without allowing a single Ranger run. The junior dominated his action on the mound, allowing only two hits and one walk. But Wiltsey had to thank his midfielder late in the game, as the second-year shortstop duo Justin Moreno (Brooklyn, NY/Trenton Catholic) and Pompey turned two double plays in the last two innings. The right-hander finished the game on his own, forcing a Ranger to swing and miss to seal the 2-0 victory and recorded the first save of his career.
The team takes advantage of this victory for 12 hours before resuming the fight tomorrow, Saturday March 26, to face the Muhlenberg College Mules. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. in Allentown, Pennsylvania.