NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College baseball team came back from three runs down in a 6-4 victory over the American Athletic Conference's Rutgers in non-conference action at City Park. The Gaels (4-13) knotted the score at 4-4 after senior RF Joe Smith's two-run double in the third inning and took the lead on an RBI single by junior LF Jimmy Guiliano in the seventh to pick off the Scarlett Knights (10-14).
Rutgers scored twice in its first at bat following a one-out RBI double by LF Vinny Zarillo. First baseman Joe D'Annunzio drove in the second run on a sacrifice fly.
Iona got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a deep sacrifice fly by sophomore 1B Christian Choman.
Rutgers manufactured a run in both the second and third innings. After sacrificing runners to second and third, an RBI groundout by CF Mike Carter drove in the run in the second. They mirrored the setup in the third with the sacrifice and scored on RF Tom Marcinczyk infield base hit.
In the bottom of the third the Gaels rallied with two out. Sophomore SS Vinny DeMaria drew a walk to load the bases. On an 0-2 count, Rutgers LHP starter Ryan Fleming bounced a ball to the backstop that allowed Choman to score from third. Smith ripped the next pitch into the right field corner to knot the score at 4-4 and wound up on third base with a triple.
Smith's arm kept the score tied in the bottom of the fifth. With one out and runners on first and second, Marcinczyk singled to right field. Smith threw a one-hop strike to C Alex Beckett to cut down Zarrillo at the plate.
Iona took the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Senior 2B Bobby Vitulano was hit by the first pitch of the inning. After stealing second base, he advanced to third on a line drive single by senior CF Joe Torres. Guiliano laced the second pitch he saw into right center to advance Torres to third. Sophomore DH Carmine Palummo found the shortstop-third base hole to score Torres and plate a key insurance run.
Rutgers threatened in the eighth inning putting two runners on with one out. Sophomore LHP Andrew Pucillo battled back from a 3-1 hole to strike out SS John Jennings looking to get the second out. He induced a fly out to short left field to end the inning.
Pucillo earned the win in relief after coming on to start the seventh inning. He allowed a hit and a walk and had two strikeouts for his first collegiate win. Sophomore RHP Max Bruckner came on in the second inning and pitched five strong innings. He scattered seven hits and allowed just one run in the outing. Sophomore RHP John Daddino came on to close the ninth inning, allowing one base runner with two strikeouts to earn his first save of 2014.
Guiliano was the lone Gael with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Beckett reached base three times via a walk and scored a run. Torres reached twice with a hit and a walk and scored twice.
Rutgers had four players with multiple hits with Zarillo and Marcinczyk having two hits and RBI in the loss. RHP Kevin Baxter (1-4) took the loss for the Scarlet Knights. He allowed two runs and three hits over five innings in relief.
The Gaels return to MAAC play Saturday in a doubleheader at Manhattan at Van Cortlandt Park beginning at noon.