Laguna, Russo Lead Kean to 9-3 Win in NCAA Opener
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (5/16/12) – Senior Dylan Laguna finished just a homerun shy of the cycle and senior right-hander Mike Russo had his longest outing of the season to lead Kean University to a 9-3 win over Drew University in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional at FirstEnergy Park on Wednesday evening.
The second-seeded Cougars (34-10) face #3 Alvernia Univerity on Thursday evening at 7:45 p.m., while #7 Drew will battle #6 Haverford in an elimination game earlier in the day at 1:15 p.m.
Laguna (pictured left) finished 4-of-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Russo earned the complete game victory for Kean.
Drew took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as left fielder Michael Bodden led off the game with a walk, advanced to second on the sacrifice by first baseman Steven DeBonis and scored on the run scoring single by designated hitter Tom Murray.
An inning later, the Rangers extended the lead to 2-0 following back-to-back one-out singles by second baseman Michael Chiarella and catcher Matthew Kaplan, before Chiarella scored when centerfielder Dominic Reyes reached on the error.
Kean cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the inning on the RBI single by senior centerfielder Vinny Galya, scoring Laguna, who led off the inning with a single.
An inning later, the Cougars took the lead for good with three runs on three hits and a pair of Ranger errors. Second baseman Tyler Smarslok led off the inning with a single and left fielder Shane Alvarez reached on a bunt single, with both moving into scoring position on the ensuing throwing error on the play. Smarslok would tie the game, scoring on a dropped fly and Alvarez scored the go-ahead run on the RBI groundout by senior catcher Eddie Jennings. Laguna followed with a double to drive in rookie third baseman Andy Lopez, who reached on the error to give Kean the 4-2 lead.
Kean added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning after the first four Kean players recorded a hit. Jennings led off with a double, scoring four pitches later on the triple by Laguna. Designated hitter Joe O'Connor brought Laguna home with a single and sophomore first baseman Nick Zucchero (pictured right) reached on the well-placed bunt single between the first and second basemen. Galya moved both into scoring position with the sacrifice and O'Connor would score on the bunt single by Smarslok to give Kean the 7-2 lead.
The Cougars tacked on a single run in the sixth inning on a RBI single by Zucchero to extend the lead to 8-2.
Drew got a run back in the seventh inning, before the Cougars closed out the scoring in the eighth inning on Laguna's second RBI triple of the game.
After a shaky first two innings that saw action in the Kean bullpen, Russo (pictured left) settled down for his first complete game of the season, as he allowed just two hits over the final seven innings of the game. He struck out four and walked three to improve to 7-1.
Laguna finished with a single, double and two triples. Shortstop Steve Sanguiliano, Jennings, Zucchero, Galya and Smarslok each finished with a multi-hit game, with Jennings scoring twice and adding a RBI.
Bodden scored twice for Drew, while Murray was 1-of-4 with one RBI and Chiarella was 1-of-4 with one run scored.