Redlands, Calif. (3/4/17) – The Kean University baseball team used a five run, ninth inning rally to win a slugfest in their California opener by the final of 11-9 over the University of Redlands.
The #14/15 Cougars improve to 7-1 on the season while the Bulldogs fall to 7-8.
It was a classic back and forth affair with four lead changes and a tie in a game that saw 32 combined hits.
Trailing 4-0 after the first, Kean clawed their way back with two runs in the top of the 2nd with a two RBI single from Ivan Rivera. The Cougars knotted the game at four-all in the third frame as Derek Walker (pictured left) lined a single through the right side, scoring two.
Later in the fourth trailing 5-4, the Cougars took the lead back, this time on a two RBI double from Nick Polizzano.
In the pivotal ninth, down to their final at-bat and facing a 9-6 deficit, the Cougars mounted a five run rally started with a one out single from Polizzano. Catcher Brian Cole followed with a single that put runners on the corners. Senior Brock Podgurski then reached on a sacrifice bunt that resulted in a throwing miscue by the Bulldogs but inching Kean closer, 9-7. Pinch hitter John Carello later walked with the bases loaded to put the disadvantage to one and one batter later, Austin Arndt registered an RBI single to tie things up at 11-all. Outfielder Jim Fitzgerald recorded the game-winning RBI with a two RBI single to right center.
The Cougars were running out of daylight as relief pitcher Kyle Gaeb entered the game. After issuing a walk and single to start the bottom of the ninth, Gaeb got a pitchers best friend in a double play ball and one batter later issued another groundout to secure the comeback and the win.
Rookie Anthony Hirujo (1-0) earned his first collegiate win after tossing one inning of scoreless relief. Gaeb picked up his second save of the season.
Offensively Cole and Fitzgerald each recorded three hits while Podgurski scored three times.
Kean will face Cal Luthern University on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time.