Baseball Forces Winner-Take All Game with 9-4 Win
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (5/22/11) – Kean University scored four runs in the fifth inning en-route to a 9-4 win over Alvernia University and force the winner-take-all championship game in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships on Sunday morning.
Sophomore right-hander Sam Fourre made just his third start of the season, as he went the distance in scattering 10 hits with six strikeouts for the Cougars, while freshman Tyler Smarslok was 2-of-3 with two RBI and one run scored.
The Cougars relied on small ball to force the if-necessary game, as they bunted eight times in the game, including four times for hits, and stole three bases.
Second baseman Chris Ray was 2-of-5 with one RBI and one run scored for the Crusaders.
Kean got on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the third, before the Crusaders answered with four runs in the home-half of the inning.
Catcher Eddie Jennings led off the Kean third inning with a single down the left field line and third baseman Nick Ramagli reached on the bunt single, with Jennings moving over to third base on the throwing error. The Cougars followed with back-to-back squeezes, as Smarslok plated Jennings and junior centerfielder Vinny Galya brought Ramagli home with the sacrifice bunts for the 2-0 lead.
The Crusaders took the two-run lead of their own in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs on three hits and one Cougar error. Catcher Matt O'Neill opened the bottom half of the inning with a walk and right fielder Brian Witkowski followed with a one-out single. Ray doubled to left center to score O'Neill and after a walk loaded the bases, the Cougars caught a break when third baseman Aaron Carman ripped a single down the left field line that hit the umpire, keeping the ball in the infield and only allowing Witkowski to score, as the bases remained loaded.
The Cougars had a chance to limit Alvernia to just those two runs with a potential inning-ending double-play, however the Kean error extended the inning and allowed Ray and designated hitter Travis Wrambel to score for the 4-2 advantage. Kean closed out the inning with the unconventional double-play when Smarslok fielded the grounder, stepped on second but threw wild to first. First baseman Lee Cavico, who was pulled off of first on the throw, alertly threw to home plate, where Carman was thrown out trying to score from second.
Kean regained the lead for good in the top of the fifth inning with four runs on five hits, including three bunt singles. The Cougars loaded the bases on single up the middle by Ramagli and back-to-back bunt singles by Smarslok and Galya, before Carrano tied the game with a double down the left field line. Cavico singled home Galya and Carrano closed out the inning scoring on a double-play for the 6-4 lead.
The Cougars broke the game open with three more runs in the eighth inning to force the winner-take-all championship game.
Fourre, who appeared in his eighth game of the season, improved to 3-1. Galya was 2-of-4 with one RBI and one run scored, while Ramagli was 2-of-4 with two runs scored.
Witkowski was 2-of-5 with one run scored and first baseman Eric Domitrovits was 2-of-4 with one RBI.