WALL TWP. – The moment left-hander Chris Murphy enters a game, the Colts Neck baseball team knows it is as good as over, but that did not stop the Cougars from giving their lights-out reliever some breathing room Monday against St. Rose.

After St. Rose chipped an early five-run deficit down to one, the Cougars turned to Murphy, who reined in the Roses enough for Colts Neck to pull away with a 10-4 win to improve to 3-0 to start the season.

Colts Neck scored a run in the top of the sixth and four more in the top of the seventh to turn a 5-4 edge into a comfortable win. Murphy saved the game for senior left-hander starter Mario Ferraioli by throwing three shutout innings while allowing a hit, a walk, a hit batter and striking out five.

Senior Jordan Gonzalez (left) picked up two hits Monday in Colts Neck's win over St. Rose. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Three of the four Colts Neck runs in the seventh were unearned, with senior right fielder Tyler Kay and senior Sam DeVitis collecting the lone RBI of the frame. Kay and DeVitis were two of four Cougars to go 2-for-5 on Monday, including junior center fielder Mike Antico and senior third baseman Jordan Gonzalez. Gonzalez also scored two runs, while Antico and DeVitis each stole two bases and Kay drove in three runs.

Murphy worked exclusively out of the bullpen last year and was an All-Shore selection as a junior while pitching for the Shore Conference Class A North champions. He has appeared twice in Colts Neck’s first three games, earning the win as a starter over Neptune on Friday before picking up the save in relief on Monday.

“My main concern is doing whatever the team needs me to do to win,” Murphy said. “There are going to be times where it works out and I can start a game and help us that way, but there are going to be other times when the game's close and I’m rested and ready to go. If we’re winning games, it’s all the same to me.”

Ferraioli allowed three earned runs in the bottom of the third and one unearned run in the fourth to cap his second start of the season, which was good enough to improve his record to 2-0. The senior left-hander allowed three hits, walked five and struck out four on the mound, and also delivered a first-inning RBI single to give Colts Neck a 4-0 lead.

“I haven’t hit in two years, so this has been kind of unexpected,” said Ferrailo, who was 3-for-4 at the plate in his win over Middletown South on opening day. “I didn’t hit at all last year, so I’ve just been trying to get comfortable again. I’m not trying to do too much, and I think that’s helping me.”

Kay staked Colts Neck to a 3-0 lead in the first with a bases-loaded, two-run single down the third-base line that drove in two runs and allowed a third to score when the throw from St. Rose third baseman Joe Volpe got away from Purple Roses catcher Nick DelRusso.

Senior first baseman Tyler Kapuschinski gave Colts Neck a 5-0 lead with an RBI single in the second that scored Antico from third after the junior doubled to lead off the inning. Kapuscinski was a perfect 2-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored and a stolen base. Both of the hits for the left-handed swinging Marist College recruit were to the left side of second base, which has become a trademark of the All-Shore first baseman.

“I’ve always been comfortable going to the opposite field,” Kapuscinski said. “It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and it helps me as an approach. For some reason, when I try to pull the ball, I don’t hit the ball as well, so my approach is always to stay up the middle or to left-center.”

St. Rose scored three runs in the bottom of the third thanks to two free passes and a hit-by-pitch, which bounced and hit clean-up hitting Johnny Kussmaul and forced in a run to make it 5-1. Junior Mike Gowen made it 5-3 with a two-out single to left-center that scored sophomores Brandon Mocogy and Brendan Hueth.

Purple Roses senior center fielder Travis Cloney singled and scored on an error in the fourth to cut the lead to 5-4. Cloney – a left-handed hitter – went 2-for-4 on Monday with a double and two runs scored while facing nothing but left-handed pitching.

Murphy also allowed a left-hander to reach base when he hit Gowen in the top of the fifth and then walked sophomore J.P Traynor to put the tying and go-ahead runs on with one out. Murphy then struck out the next two batters, and outside of a ground-ball single by Volpe, the Roses could not reach base against him the rest of the way.

“Sometimes, I won’t be able to get fully loose and those first couple batters will be like the end of my warm-up,” Murphy said. “Obviously, I don’t want to put guys on base, but once I feel like I’m locked in, I’m not worried about pitching with runners on. I feel like that’s when I’m at my best.”

 

Box Score

Colts Neck 10, St. Rose 4

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Colts Neck (3-0)

4

1

0

0

0

1

4

10

13

2

St. Rose (0-2)

0

0

3

1

0

0

0

4

4

3

 

Colts Neck

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Mike Antico, CF

5

1

2

0

0

0

Tim Cavrak, SS

4

2

1

0

1

0

Tyler Kapuscinski, 1B

2

2

2

1

3

0

Jordan Gonzalez, 3B

5

2

2

0

0

0

--Jake McTigue, 3B

0

1

0

0

0

0

Tyler Kay, RF

5

1

2

3

0

0

Sam DeVitis, 2B

5

0

2

1

0

0

Mario Ferraioli, P

3

0

1

1

0

0

--Jake McTique, CR

0

0

0

0

0

0

--Chris Murphy, P

1

0

0

0

0

1

Jeremy Slad, C

1

0

1

0

2

0

--Nick Umbro, CR

0

1

0

0

0

0

Guisseppe Varile, LF

2

0

0

0

0

2

--Lou Rondinella, LF

1

0

0

0

0

0

--Andrew Conforti, LF

1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

35

10

13

6

6

3

2B: Antico
SB: Antico 2, Kapuscinski, Umbro, DeVitis 2

St. Rose

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Travis Cloney, CF

4

2

2

0

0

0

Brandon Mocogy, 2B

4

1

0

0

0

1

Brendan Hueth, LF

2

1

0

0

2

1

Johnny Kussmaul, RF

3

0

0

1

0

1

Joe Volpe, 3B

3

0

1

0

1

1

Mike Gowen, DH

3

0

1

2

0

0

J.P. Traynor, SS

2

0

0

0

2

2

Tanner Long, 1B

2

0

0

0

0

2

--Riley Maypother, PH

1

0

0

0

0

0

Nick DelRusso, C

2

0

0

0

1

1

--John Crowley, CR

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

26

4

4

3

6

9

2B: Cloney
SB: Traynor, Gowen
CS: Gowen

Colts Neck

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Mario Ferraioli (W, 2-0)

4

3

4

3

5

4

0

Chris Murphy (S, 1)

3

1

0

0

1

5

0

 

St. Rose

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Jason Criscuolo (L, 0-2)

3

8

5

5

1

2

0

Pat Fullman

4

5

5

1

5

1

0

 

Hit By Pitch: Kussmaul (by Ferraioli), Gowen (by Murphy)
Pitches-Strikes: Ferraioli 84-47, Murphy 40-27, Criscuolo 69-39, Fullman 80-38
Groundouts-Flyouts: Ferraioli 6-1, Murphy 4-0, Criscuolo 4-2, Fullman 5-2