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College Baseball:
Brand's Grand Slam Lifts William Paterson to Ninth-Inning Rally Past Rutgers-Camden

Thursday, April 20, 2006

By Mike Ballard
RutgersCamden Sports Correspondent

CAMDEN - Junior catcher Ryan Brand (Monroe Township, NJ/Marlboro) hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning, capping a six-run frame to rally the William Paterson University baseball team to an 8-6 victory over Rutgers University-Camden in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game here April 20.

The Pioneers improve to 21-10 overall and 8-4 in the NJAC, while the Scarlet Raptors fall to 19-11 and 6-5.

William Paterson entered the ninth inning staring at a 6-2 deficit, but the Pioneers opened the frame with back-to-back singles by junior center fielder Rick Pignatello (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Hills) and junior second baseman Wayne Poppe (Sloatsburg, NY/Suffern). Pignatello went 4-for-5 with three runs and two stolen bases on the day to spark the Paterson attack from the leadoff spot.

Those two singles chased sophomore reliever John Gladden (Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Township), who was relieved by sophomore Joe Ambrozy (Haddon Township, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep). Ambrozy got the first out of the inning on a foul fly to left field, but junior first baseman Ted King (West Windsor, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro South) followed with an RBI single and was removed for pinch-runner Jason Blanks (Hoboken, NJ/Hoboken). Back-to-back walks to junior third baseman Mike Rivera (Jersey City, NJ/Hudson Catholic) and senior right fielder Pete Zaccheria (Parsippany, NJ/Parsippany) forced home another run and brought in junior Kevin Engel (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township) to relieve Ambrozy.

Engle notched the second out on a pop up to second base before Brand, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, turned his first at bat into a game-winning grand slam. It was his first home run of the season.

Rutgers-Camden threatened in the bottom of the ninth inning on two-out singles by senior first baseman Matt Calloway (Blackwood, NJ/Highland Regional) and junior center fielder Nate Buchter (Blackwood, NJ/Highland Regional). Sophomore Ryan Lobban (Ramsey, NJ/St. Joseph-Montvale), the fifth Paterson pitcher, worked out of the jam with a strikeout to end the wild game.

William Paterson scored a first-inning run after Pignatello hit a leadoff infield single, stole second and advanced on a ground out. King was hit by a pitch and stole second, with Pignatello scoring when the throw sailed into center field.

The Raptors got that run back in the bottom of the first following a leadoff single by senior shortstop Brian Jakubowski (Audubon, NJ/Audubon). He advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out double by Buchter, who went 4-for-5 with one run and three RBIs on the day.

With the score tied at 1-1, Rutgers-Camden opened the third inning with back-to-back walks to senior third baseman Tyler Inkster (Audubon, NJ/Audubon) and Jakubowski. Following a sacrifice by Calloway, Buchter delivered an opposite-field RBI single to left. Senior second baseman Nick Faragasso (Sewell, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) followed with a two-run single to center.

Paterson scored an unearned run on a fifth-inning error, but the Raptors tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh on an error and two hits, including an RBI single by Jakubowski. That gave Rutgers-Camden a 6-2 lead, setting the stage for Paterson's ninth-inning comeback.

Freshman Dan VandeVrede (Lincoln Park, NJ/Pequannock), the third Paterson pitcher, worked one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one, to collect his first collegiate victory. He is 1-0. Ambrozy (0-1) took the loss.

The Scarlet Raptors travel to Ewing Friday to take on the nation's second-ranked team, The College of New Jersey, in a 3:30 p.m. NJAC battle. The Pioneers return to action Saturday when they entertain Montclair State University in a noon NJAC doubleheader.

Photos by Hugh Tsung

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