By David Spiegel
OLD WESTBURY– The Mount Saint Mary College baseball team (11-9, 5-1 Skyline) took over first place in the Skyline Conference for the time being after splitting with previous first-place SUNY College at Old Westbury (10-16, 8-3 Skyline) in a conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The Panthers took game one, 5-4, with a late run, but the Knights bounced back to take game two, 5-1. The Knights hold the lead over the Panthers in the standings by having a higher win percentage in conference games.
Old Westbury took an early lead in Saturday’s opener when Michael Cardino doubled in a run in the bottom of the second. The Knights finally got on the board in the sixth inning, taking the lead on a two-RBI single by senior left fielder Vinnie Carminati. Sophomore first baseman Matt Cahill added another in the inning by plating Carminati with a single to put the Knights up, 3-1.
Old Westbury did not waste any time taking the lead back, scoring three runs in its next at bat with four singles in the inning. Senior catcher Chris Chieffo tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Nick Yip broke the tie with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, which turned out to be the game-winning base hit.
Tim Ingram picked up the win for Old Westbury in game one, tossing all nine innings and allowing four runs. Sophomore reliever Ryan Turton suffered the loss after allowing the winning run in 1.1 innings of relief. Sophomore starter Brandon Lubrano went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs and striking out two.
Brandon Stein knocked in a team-high two runs to lead the Panthers, while Kevin Nicul went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Cardino hit 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Carminati went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a run and a stolen base in Saturday’s opener. Cahill hit 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Chieffo batted 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
The Knights cashed in in the fourth inning of game two with four runs in the inning. With first and third, freshman designated hitter Jimmy Papineau singled with runners on the corners to give the Knights the first lead of the game. Chieffo followed with an RBI single of his own to double the lead. Sophomore second baseman James Nakashian picked up the Knights’ third single in a row to load the bases, and then junior right fielder Rocco Pepe hit the fourth consecutive single to put the Knights up, 3-0. Carminati knocked in the fourth run on a fielder’s choice that brought in Chieffo from third.
The Knights grabbed their fifth run the next inning when Nakashian walked with the bases loaded. Cardino got the Panthers on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a single, but that was all the Panthers would get in Saturday’s finale.
Freshman starter Kevin Duffy, the reigning Skyline Conference Baseball Rookie of the Week, turned in another big start in a crucial game, going the complete seven innings and allowing just a single run to pick up the victory. Braylin Perez took the loss for Old Westbury, allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings of work.
Freshman shortstop Steve Notaro and sophomore center fielder Mike Leone each went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Saturday’s nightcap. Nakashian hit 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Papineau batted 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Cardino went 2-for-3 with the only RBI for the Panthers in game two. Jonathan Pagan scored the only run in a –for-3 outing.