Kean Advances Past Rowan, 4-3
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (5/20/11) – Kean University erased an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Rowan University, 4-3, in a battle of the top two seeds in an elimination game at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region on Friday evening.
For the top-seeded Cougars (38-9), senior Nick Nolan scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and made the game-ending catch in stride in right-centerfield with the tying run on base. Senior right-hander Mike Russo went the distance for the Cougars, as he set a new single season record with his 10th win of the year.
The Cougars face sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins in an elimination game on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Centerfielder Matt Citro was 2-of-5 and drove in all three runs for #2 Rowan (31-13-1), who lost 4-of-5 games to the Cougars this season.
After Russo retired the first two batters of the game, Rowan right fielder Kevin O'Brien and catcher Nick Turano walked and singled and would move into scoring position on the pass ball, setting up a two-run single to left field for Citro. The Profs would then load the bases on back-to-back walks, before Russo got out of the jam with the fly ball to centerfield.
The Cougars had runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings before tying the game in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs. Rookie shortstop Tyler Smarslok, who ended the Rowan half of the inning with a line drive grab, led off the bottom half of the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on the sacrifice bunt by junior Vinny Galya and would move to third on the passed ball. After senior Chris Carrano walked, junior first baseman Lee Cavico scored Smarslok with the sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half.
Senior Ken Gregory followed with a single and Carrano and Gregory would move over to second and third on a wild pitch, before Carrano scored on a RBI single to left field by junior Dylan Laguna. However, Gregory was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score from second to end the inning.
Both teams stranded runners in each of the next two innings, before Nolan scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth. Nolan had a one-out single, advanced to second on a pass ball and scored one batter later when junior catcher Eddie Jennings reached on the throwing error.
Kean tacked on the critical insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning when Nolan led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, third on the sacrifice fly and scored on the check-swing single by third baseman Nick Ramagli.
The Profs, who only managed four hits off of Russo in the middle seven innings of the game, trimmed the lead to 4-3 on the two-out RBI single by Citro in the top of the ninth. Citro moved into scoring position on a balk, however Nolan advanced the Cougars with his running grab in right-centerfield to end the game.
Galya was 1-of-4 and his seventh inning stolen base gave set a new school record with his 31st stolen base of the season. Ramagli was 2-of-3 with one RBI.
Russo scattered six hits and struck out six, while allowing eight walks, as he improves to 3-0 against Rowan this season and 10-1 overall.
For the Profs, junior left-hander Curtis Arsi pitched the complete game, as he allowed 11 hits and issued two walks.