Dukes Baseball win conference opener

Freshmen infielder Dylan Scaranda collected three hits and three RBIs in the victory over Atlantic Cape
Freshmen infielder Dylan Scaranda collected three hits and three RBIs in the victory over Atlantic Cape

In a game that was originally scheduled for Friday, the Dukes had to adapt as the opened up conference play against their neighboring rival, the Atlantic Cape CC Buccaneers.  As one of the most competitive conferences in the country, there are no days off in the Garden State Athletic Conference and Wednesday afternoon proved so.

The Dukes scored in every inning except the first and sixth innings and they needed every single run to defeat the Bucs 9-4.  Sophomore pitcher Steve Bowley kept the opponent in check for 5 innings as he scattered 5 hits, struck out 5, while giving up 3 runs.  Freshmen Joseph Nestel came on to relieve Bowley and kept Atlantic Cape from adding to their run total, which included a close play at the plate on a passed ball in the 7th.  Nestel was able to hold the Bucs scoreless in the 6th and 7th inning for the Dukes.  Sophomore Brandon Staub came in and pitched the final two innings, yielding 1 hit and one run.

On a windy afternoon, the Dukes offense maintained a steady pace of runs scoring in 6 of their 8 offensive innings.  Dylan Scaranda took the reins and led the Dukes with three hits and three RBIs, which included a big 2-RBI single late in the game to answer a 3-run Atlantic Cape 6th inning. Scaranda sparked the Dukes offense by leading off the 2nd inning with a towering fly ball that the winds would not allow to leave the park.  The hit landed for a triple and he was later driven in by Brian GallantePat Meenan and Nicholas Milhan each contributed two hits apiece, with Milhan driving in 3 runs and racking up 2 doubles.

Cumberland next takes the field on Sunday as they will play their first away games of 2018 which will be a doubleheader against Atlantic Cape.  First pitch is scheduled for 12 PM.

After the game, the Dukes will travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for their spring trip as they will take on some of the country's best programs, including last year's Division 2 NJCAA National Champion, the Kankakee Community College Cavaliers.