BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Right handers Liam Hulbert and Ryan Davey combined on a one hitter and Gov. Livingston took advantage of some timely hitting for 4-0 shutout victory over Union Catholic Tuesday afternoon in Berkeley Heights.
Will Jennings (2-2,2b) and DJ Gonnelli (2-3,2b) both had two hits and doubled in runs as the Highlanders (5-2-1) won their fifth game of the season in the Union County Conference crossover contest. Starter Hulbert registered his third win of the season, pitching four innings of near perfect baseball yielding only a first inning walk. Davey was equally as dominant over the final three innings, giving up the Vikings lone hit, a one out fifth inning single to Michael Fox. Gov. Livingston will be heading to Morristown Wednesday afternoon to take on the Delbarton School, the states No. 2 ranked team. The marquee matchup will feature the Highlanders potent lineup against a Green Waves pitching staff that is regarded to be the best in the state.
After both starting pitchers worked their way through a scoreless first inning the Highlanders touched up Union Catholic’s Connor Trower for a second inning run. Jennings, who has been moved up in the lineup, opened the inning with a sharp single into right field. Gonnelli then drove a 1-1 pitch into deep left center scoring Jennings all the way from first for a 1-0 Highlander lead. With Gonnelli advancing to third on an error, the Highlanders tried to squeeze him in, but Gonnelli was thrown out at the plate on the bunt attempt. Trower, who fanned six over his five innings of work, closed out the inning with a pair of strikeouts.
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Gov. Livingston added an unearned run in the third inning, before scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth. it looked like the Highlanders would get to Trower in the fifth after Jennings lined a double that one hopped the right field fence scoring Stephen Reid who had walked. However, Jennings was then thrown out at the plate after Gonnelli ripped a single to left. Vikings left fielder Fox took Gonnelli’s hit on one bounce and threw a strike to catcher Robert McGuinness who tagged out a sliding Jennings.
The Highlander scratched out their fourth and last run in the sixth. Jack Pedini opened the inning with a single against reliever Tim Glastal,who replaced Trower who had thrown 99 pitches through his five innings on the mound. Pedini was able to keep UC on their toes, stealing second and third base and scored on a sac fly by catcher Chris Bruno (1-3) to establish a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Davey cruised through the final inning and fittingly got Fox, the only Viking batter to record a hit in the game looking at a third called strike to end the game.
Gov. Livingston comes into the highly anticipated game with Delbarton holding onto the fourth seed in the Central Jersey Group II sectional. A win over the North Jersey Non -Public power Green Wave will capture some big power points to advance the Highlanders current seeding.
Look for DJ Gonnelli (1-0) to face Delbarton’s Shawn Rapp(1-0) a North Carolina commit, in a duel of left handers on Wednesday. Highlander righty Ethan Saia and lefty Ryan Monroy will also both be available to throw if needed. First pitch is at 4 p.m.