The annual Route 55 Series always leaves college baseball fans in the southern New Jersey area well entertained, and the 2018 version did not disappoint. A doubleheader matchup of the #1 CCC Dukes and the #2 RCGC Roadrunners provided a well-played, tight ball game that many in attendance had expected. Timely hits and big-time pitching performances took the stage as both teams left the park with a victory each as RCGC was victorious in game 1, 4-1, and the Dukes bounced back for a 3-2 win in game 2.
In game 1, the Dukes came out swinging as Ryan McIssac and Nicholas Milhan stroked back to back singles with 1 out in the bottom of the 1st inning. Dylan Scaranda followed up with a towering fly ball to deep right-centerfield that would score McIssac and give Cumberland an early 1-0 lead. That would be all RCGC starter Nick Evangelista would allow as he would keep the Cumberland offense in check for the remainder of the matchup. As Evangelista held the Dukes at bay, Cumberland hurler Anthony Capasso was equally as impressive. The freshmen righthander scattered 6 hits, tallied 6 strikeouts, in 5 2/3 innings, but could not escape the 6th inning unscathed.
The Roadrunners would add 3 in the inning to take a 3-1 lead and chase Capasso from the game. RCGC would add an insurance run in the 7th to close out the scoring and win the matchup 4-1.
Game 2 had the Dukes score early once again as Nicholas Milhan delivered a drive over the left field fence to give the Dukes a 1-0 in the 1st inning. After RCGC answered with a run of their own in the top of the 2nd, the Cumberland offense would methodically manufacture a run to the tie the game as Patrick Meenan would drive in Donnie Stone to bring the Dukes back into the lead at 2-1. The Roadrunners would answer yet again tying the game up in their half of the 3rd inning, but CCC would not be denied. Darrius Land led off the bottom of the 3rd inning with a single and would advance to third on consecutive pass balls. Ryan McIssac would then single him in to give the Dukes the lead once again at 3-2.
That is all sophomore righthander Steve Bowley would need. Bowley would go 5 2/3 innings, scattering just 4 hits and striking out 6. After running into trouble late in the 6th inning, Nick Hillesheim entered the game and promptly led the Dukes out of the 6th without giving up a run. He would go on and close the 7th inning to grab his 2nd save of the season.
The split moves the Dukes to 19-5 (11-2) on the season and they next play Friday as they host the Cougars of Camden County College. Start time is scheduled for 3 PM.
- Friday's single 9-inning game between CCC and RCGC was halted in the 6th inning due to rain. The Roadrunners currently leads the contest 3-2. The restart of the game is still to be scheduled.