Felician Captures CACC Regular-Season Crown With Sweep

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The Felician College baseball team earned a pair of come-from-behind victories on Saturday afternoon, sweeping its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader from host Chestnut Hill College, 8-6 and 6-5, at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. With the wins, Felician (24-20, 15-4 CACC) captured the 2012 CACC regular-season championship.

Felician won its first conference regular-season crown since 2002, and earned the top seed in this year's CACC Tournament. With a bye out of the playdown round, the Golden Falcons will open playoff action on Thu., May 10, at Wilson Field in New Castle, Del. Felician has won a season-high six consecutive games and 13 of its last 18.

"I'm proud of this group of guys," said ninth-year Felician coach Chris Langan, who was an assistant on the 2002 squad. "They have battled all year long and really believe that they are never out of a game."

Golden Falcon freshman pitcher Matthew Facendo (Hazlet, NJ) earned a save in both ends of Saturday's twinbill, putting him at six for the season.  Junior catcher/first-baseman Kevin Whitehead (Tonawanda, NY) had three doubles on the day. In Game 1, he went 3 for 4 with four RBI, including a tie-breaking two-run single in the seventh inning. Later, he threw out the potential tying run trying to steal third base in the ninth inning of Game 2.

In the opener, Chestnut Hill (19-23, 5-15) led, 6-2, after four innings. But the Griffins did not score the rest of the way off of the Felician bullpen, posting just three of their eight hits in the final five frames.

The Golden Falcons' comeback began with an RBI single by Casey Phillips (Englewood, FL) in the top of the fifth. Felician left the bases loaded without scoring again, but came up with two runs in the sixth when Whitehead blasted an RBI double and later scored on Phillips's single.

Felician took the lead for good in the seventh. With runners on second and third, and one out, Joe Petosa (Spotswood, NJ/Spotswood) tied the game with a run-scoring single. Two batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Whitehead came through with a single down the left field line to score a pair of runs.

Kenny Monteith (Denville, NJ) (4-0) picked up his second victory in four days, turning in 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, three-hit relief. Jack Fowler (Shrewsbury, NJ) pitched the eighth inning, and Facendo worked a perfect ninth.

Six of Felician's 11 hits went for extra bases, including a pair of triples by George Hajjar (Utica, NY). Petosa had a solo home run among two hits, and Phillips finished 2 for 4. The Golden Falcons survived seven stolen bases by CHC.

Felician took control of Game 2 with a six-run fifth inning, erasing an early 1-0 deficit. After loading the bases with three walks, the Golden Falcons received a two-run single from Jimmy Simpson (Biscayne Park, FL). Hajjar had a two-run single later in the inning, and Whitehead capped the rally with an RBI double.

Chestnut Hill responded with two runs in the sixth off of Golden Falcon starter Chet Godfrey (Millville, NJ) (5-4). The inning ended Godfrey's day with three earned runs allowed on three hits and four walks. In the eighth, Facendo entered with the bases loaded and one out. After hitting a batter, he yielded a run-scoring groundout to allow the Griffins to pull within 6-5, but escaped further damage.

After Felician left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth without scoring, CHC's Eric Blood (Perkasie, PA) led off with a walk and stole second base. But one out later, Whitehead gunned down Blood attempting to steal third, a play that loomed large when Joe Crane (Newtown, PA) followed with a single. Facendo then induced a flyout on a 3-and-2 pitch to end the game. Hajjar had two more hits and three stolen bases for the Golden Falcons.

Felician completes the regular season with four games in the week ahead, including a conference affair against Concordia (N.Y.) College.