The Montclair State Red Hawks baseball team has had plenty of high-scoring games throughout this season. That's expected when you have the highest-scoring offense in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. However, the game on Friday against the William Paterson Pioneers turned out to be anything but high scoring as just one run was scored in what turned out to be an electric pitcher's duel. Despite this, Montclair State was able to pull out with the victory, scoring that one run in walk-off fashion.
Patrick Cuccurullo & Riley Weis: The Pitcher's Duel
As with any low-scoring game in baseball, you'd assume both starting pitchers would have excellent performances. This game was no exception as Montclair State's left-handed ace Patrick Cuccurullo had his best outing yet, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing just three hits and one walk. Most of all, he struck out ten, a new career-high. Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, the pitching staff on the other side was almost equally as dominant. William Paterson's right-hander Riley Weis tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings as well as allowing just three hits against Montclair State.
"It's the games you want to pitch in," said Cuccurullo. "It's the games you want to play in going head to head. I just think for an entire staff, me, Gonzo, everyone, it was a great feeling."
Along with Cuccurullo's electric day on the mound, Montclair State also got some critical outs out of the bullpen, specifically from right-handed reliever Darren Gonzalez. Gonzalez gave the Red Hawks two shutout innings allowing just one hit. In his last four appearances, he's tossed 7 1/3 innings and has not allowed an earned run. Likewise, William Paterson got some key pitching out of their bullpen, as Neil Telidevara tossed 2 2/3 innings allowing just one hit.
"Definitely a high pressure situation," said Gonzalez. "Gotta give credit where credit is due. My man Cucc pitched seven great innings of baseball. Kept us in the game the whole time. Bats are gonna come alive eventually. We have a great offense. High pressure situation. Just went out there trying to do my job. Throw strikes. Let the guys behind me work. Just blessed to get into an opportunity like this and help my boys get a win."
Anthony Guarino Walks It Off
Unfortunately for William Paterson, that one hit Telidevera gave up turned out to be all the difference, as it came in the bottom of the ninth. Myles Feaster took first on a hit-by-pitch as Anthony Guarino stepped to the plate. Guarino went into the at-bat 0-for-3 on the day. He couldn't have picked a better time for his first and only hit of the ballgame, hitting a line drive down the left-field line and to the wall, allowing Feaster to score from first and giving Montclair State the walk-off victory 1-0.
"My goal is see fastball, hit fastball," said Guarino. "1-1 count. I was expecting fastball inside. Pulled it, got a base hit out of it and won the game."
Anthony Guarino lines one down the line scoring Feaster from first and the Montclair State Red Hawks walk it off over the William Paterson Pioneers 1-0! They improve to 11-1 in the NJAC and 26-7 overall. MSU will play two against Stockton tomorrow. #ComeFlyWithUs #JerseySports pic.twitter.com/mJivchq1aY
— Adam Grassani (@AGrassani6) April 22, 2022
Up Next for Montclair State
The Montclair State Red Hawks currently stand with an 11-1 record in the conference and a 26-7 record overall. They're currently second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, trailing only Kean University. Montclair State will play a doubleheader against Stockton University on the road Saturday, April 23, before returning home Thursday, April 28, for Senior Day and their last home game of the regular season against Kean University.