A six-run burst in the tenth inning for NJIT secured a 9-3 victory over Purdue in game one of the doubleheader, and the Boilermakers won the nightcap 9-8 on a walk-off base on balls at The Big League Camp Facility Saturday afternoon.
With the split on Saturday, NJIT picked up its second win over a Big Ten opponent (NJIT 8, Penn State 6; March 8, 2018), moving to to 6-3-1 while the Boilermakers', a 38-win 2018 NCAA Regional qualifier, stand at 2-10 on the season.
"I'm proud of the team," interim head coach Robbie McClellan commented after the Highlanders huge 9-3 win over Purdue. "The team played for each other and it's awesome to watch. They play every pitch of every game. Offense has been really good all year. It was great to see the defense and pitching catch up to it today."
Game One | NJIT 9, Purdue 3 (10) (Final)
NJIT scored the first run of the game in the first inning and added single runs in the fifth and sixth inning, taking a 3-0 lead over the Boilermakers. Purdue put up a trio of runs in the bottom of the eighth, knotting the game at 3-3. A six-run burst in the top of the tenth inning, broke the 3-3 tie and secured the Highlanders 9-3 victory.
Left fielder Julio Marcano drove in four runs for the Highlanders, including a home run, his second of the season and double, finishing 2-for-5 while first basemen Nick Hussey drove in a pair of runs, going 1-for-4.
Three Highlanders – third baseman David Marcano, Julio Marcano and shortstop Justin Etts each registered two hits in the win.
Junior right-handed pitcher, Tyler Stafflinger was credited with the no-decision, pitching an impressive seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and fanning five Boilermaker batters. Freshman right-handed pitcher Joe Georgini recorded his first collegiate win, pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit over the final three innings, striking out two batters.
Julio Marcano opened the scoring in the first inning on a solo home run to left field and twin brother David Marcano followed in his brother's footsteps, knocking out a home run of his own in the top of the fifth, putting the Highlanders ahead, 2-0, with a blast to left field.
Purdue scored all three runs in the bottom half of the eighth on three runs and two hits, knotting the game at 3-3.
In the top of the tenth, NJIT center fielder Michael Anastasia broke the 3-3 tie with an RBI single through the right side, scoring catcher Paul Franzoni, who led off the inning with a single to shortstop. Hussey reached first on a fielder's choice to the pitcher, scoring Justin Etts, the third batter in the inning for NJIT, who singled through the right side. Julio Marcano broke open the game with a two-out three-run double to the left field wall, increasing the Highlander lead to 9-3.
Game Two | Purdue 9, NJIT 8 (Final)
Etts led the Highlanders offensively, finishing 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs, including a solo home run in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 8-8. David Marcano and Matthew Cocciadiferro each registered two hits in the game.
Highlander starting pitcher Jared Kacso pitched 6.1 innings, allowing nine hits and six runs while striking out four batters. Freshman Hunter Harris, who faced four batters in the ninth was credited with the loss.
NJIT opened the scoring in the first inning, scoring twice on three singles, a walk and sacrifice fly. Etts and Anastasia each drove in a run for the Highlanders.
Purdue got on the board in the bottom of the third, scoring a pair of runs, on a Highlander balk and RBI single by Ben Nisle.
The Highlanders added a single run in the top of the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Julio Marcano to regain the lead, 3-2.
After a scoreless fifth and sixth for the Highlanders, Purdue tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the sixth, on a solo shot by Zac Fascia to right center.
In the top of the seventh, NJIT scored four run to take control again, 7-3, after a leadoff triple by David Marcano, back-to-back hit batters, one-out single up the middle by Etts, driving in a pair of Highlanders and costly wild pitches in the frame by the Boilermakers.
Purdue responded with a three-run rally in the seventh, 7-6, as NJIT reliever Evan Gegeckas struck out a pair of Boilermakers to get out of a bases loaded situation.
NJIT tied the game at 8-8 in the top of the ninth on a solo shot by Etts, his third of the season, but the Boilermakers, who overcame a 7-3 deficit, won the nightcap on a bases-loaded walk to give Purdue a 9-8 walk-off victory.
The two teams will return to action for the series finale on Sunday at 12 p.m. at The Big League Camp Facility.