WILMINGTON, Del. – No. 1 seed Felician College suffered a 1-0 loss to event host and No. 2 seed Wilmington (Del.) University in Saturday's championship round of the 2012 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Baseball Tournament at Frawley Stadium.
Felician, which was seeking its first CACC crown, saw its season come to an end with an overall won-lost record of 27-24. The runner-up finish matches the Golden Falcons' best result in the conference tournament, also achieved in 2006. Felician, the conference's regular-season champion, would have needed two victories over the Wildcats on Saturday to claim the title.
Wilmington (32-16) captured its third CACC championship in the last four years. The Wildcats earned the league's automatic berth into next weekend's NCAA Division II East Regional.
Saturday's only run came when Felician reliever Matthew Facendo (Hazlet, NJ) hit Wildcat shortstop Jonathan Rodriguez (Jersey City, NJ) with a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Felician stranded seven runners for the game and had three others erased on the basepaths.
Wilmington sophomore left-handed pitcher Justin DeLong (New Castle, DE) and Golden Falcon sophomore righty Stephen Paladino (Brooklyn, NY) made offense hard to come by, with each tossing shutout ball for the first six innings. Felician had a two-on, none-out rally thwarted in the fifth inning on a strikeout and a line-drive double-play, then saw a runner cut down at home plate trying to score from second base on a single with two out in the sixth.
In the decisive seventh, Paladino issued a walk and a single after one was out. One out later, another walk loaded the bases. The Golden Falcons turned to Facendo, who plunked Rodriguez on a 3-and-1 count to plate WU catcher Matt Lopes (West Deptford, NJ). Felician put its first two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, but left the bases loaded without scoring.
Paladino (2-3) gave up three hits, struck out five batters, and walked two in 6 2/3 innings in the hard-luck loss. DeLong (8-2) also tossed 6 2/3, scattering six hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Reliever Nick Marics (Edison, NJ) retired all four batters he faced, and Jordan Oncay (Newark, DE) struck out three consecutive batters in the ninth for his 11th save and the title.
Mike Farrell (Lincroft, NJ) went 2 for 4 for Felician, as did Brandon Payne (New Castle, DE) for the Wildcats.
A complete tournament recap with boxscores and photos can be viewed at http://www.caccathletics.org/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/2012CACCFinalBaseball.