DURHAM, NC – The Iona College baseball team was unable to sweep an opening weekend series at North Carolina Central this afternoon, falling 7-5 in Durham.
Marcus Washburn came in during the top of the ninth to earn the save for the Eagles (3-4), getting one out during a bases-loaded opportunity for the Gaels (2-1). Jon Budesa led off the inning with a single followed by a Matt Byrne walk and pinch hitter Seth Hoagland being hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. However, Nick Caregnato and Washburn each recorded an out to close out the win for NCCU.
The Eagles built a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on one swing as sophomore Carter Kovalick sent a homerun over the rightfield fence. The Maroon & Gold responded in the next half inning, claiming a 4-2 lead that included a three-run homerun from Lou Matarazzo.
NCCU put together a similar response, scoring two more runs in each of the next two innings to plate a pair of runs in three straight offensive frames. Iona got one of those runs back in the top of the sixth as Sean Scales scored on a ground out.
With a 6-5 lead, the Eagles added one an unearned run in the eighth as Carter Williams was credited with two stolen bases before taking home on an error.
Byrne, Scales and Budesa along with Tyler Bruno all tallied two hits each to lead Iona. Matarazzo picked up a game-high three RBI while Andrew Camiolo came out of the bullpen to strike out three in 1.2 innings in the effort.
The Gaels return to North Carolina next weekend for a three-game series starting on Friday at UNC Asheville.
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