MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Gov. Livingston baseball team (20-2) scored a 9-1 victory over the Pequannock Golden Panthers (15-5) yesterday afternoon at Yogi Berra Stadium, on the campus of Montclair State University, Montclair. Highlander senior lefty Nick Cocchia, who will coninue his playing career next year at Montclair State, looked right at home on the mound at Yogi Berra Stadium as he cruised through six innings of work. Cocchia struck out 12, allowed only one run on four hits as he recorded his 6th win of the season. DJ Gonnelli (2-3, 3 RBI) and Will Jennings (2-2, 2 RBI) both had multiple hit games to lead the offense. Gov. Livingston with the victory raised their season mark to 20-2 and now has won 20 or more games for the fourth consecutive season.
The Union-Morris county contest featured a matchup of strikeout hurlers Cocchia and Pequannock ace Sean Klimek. Klimek got off to a rocky start as the Highlanders took advantage of an error and a couple of walks on their way to three first inning runs. Dan Baroff(1-1) produced an RBI single and Gonnelli followed a walk with a line drive base hit as the Highlanders took a 3-0 lead.
The Golden Panthers got on the board in the second inning as Klimek (3-4) who had three of his team's four hits against Cocchia came through with a two out single to make it a 3-1 game. Klimek who settled down having struck out four of the last six batters he faced got himself back in trouble after he hit Baroff to lead of the third. Gonnelli again picked up an RBI as he grounded a single up the middle for the Highlanders fourth run. Jennings followed with a single and Cocchia then delivered a game breaker as he lined a two run opposite field double pushing the lead to 6-1.
The Highlanders had another three run inning in the fourth as Jennings singled in two runs and an error led to another as the lead ballooned to 9-1. Meanwhile Pequannock just could not get anything going against Cocchia as he comfortably worked his way through the Golden Panther lineup. Over the next three innings Cocchia struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced on his way to tying his career high of 12.
The Highlanders will be back in action on Tuesday afternoon against Johnson in Berkeley Heights, followed by a home conference game with Cranford on Thursday. The baseball week concludes on Saturday evening with Senior Night festivities at Snyder Ave. Park Field (Berkeley Heights) beginning at 6 p.m. before the Highlanders take on Wallkill Valley at 7 p.m.