The NJIT baseball team finished opening weekend with a 3-0-1 record as the final game of the four-game series ended in a 9-9 draw with Eastern Michigan.
Due to travel arrangements, both teams agreed that no inning would be start after 12:30 p.m. Central time. As the eighth inning concluded beyond that mark, the game was forced to end with a score of 9-9.
The last time the Highlanders were part of tie was against Saint Peter's on March 31, 2015, an 8-8 tie after 10 innings, called due to darkness.
NJIT posted 10 hits on nine runs, led by left fielder Julio Marcano (2-for-4) and second baseman Brett Helmkamp (2-for-4), who recorded a pair of hits in the game. Helmkamp and Paul Franzoni (1-for-4) each drove in two runs for the Highlanders. In addition to Franzoni, five different Highlanders registered a hit in the game.
NJIT used eight pitchers in the game. Freshman Darwin Rodas made his first collegiate start, pitching the first two innings, allowing three hits and three runs. Classmate Hunter Harris, the Highlanders fourth pitcher, pitched 2.2 innings, letting up three hits and one run.
The Highlanders opened the scoring the in the top of the first on a leadoff home run by third baseman David Marcano, his second of the season while Franzoni followed up with a two-run blast, his third of the season, extending the Highlander lead to 3-0. Helmkamp hit an RBI single in the inning to push the lead to 4-0.
After a scoreless second inning, Eastern Michigan tacked on five runs on two hits and one Highlander error in the bottom of the third for a 5-4 lead. The Eagles added a single run in the bottom of the sixth for a 6-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, shortstop Justin Etts hit an RBI single to right field, driving in Andrew Elcock, who led off the inning with a walk.
NJIT regained the team in the top of the eighth, 9-7, thanks to a three-run blast to left center by first baseman Nick Hussey. The home run for Hussey is his first of his collegiate career. Earlier in the inning, an RBI single to center field by Helmkamp, scored Matthew Cocciadiferro, who singled to second base.
Eastern Michigan's John Rensel Jr. delivered an RBI double in the eighth inning, tying the game at 9-9, were it would eventually end.
NJIT will return to action next weekend when the Highlanders travel to Virginia and take on Norfolk State in a three-game series. First pitch on February 23 will be a 1 p.m. (doubleheader) and Sunday will start at 12 p.m.