Offense Powers Baseball Past #3 Alvernia, 12-4, in NCAA Regional Action
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (5/17/12) – Kean University jumped out to a 9-0 lead en-route to defeating Alvernia University, 12-4, to remain undefeated at the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional on Thursday evening.
Senior designated hitter Dylan Laguna and sophomore left fielder Joe O'Connor (pictured left) combined for six hits, five runs scored and two RBI to lead the #2 Cougars, who advance to face top-seeded Keystone College in the winner's bracket on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Third-seeded Alvernia (31-13-1) battles #5 Neumann University in an elimination game earlier in the day at 1:15 p.m.
The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the second inning after opening up the inning with three straight hits. Laguna led off with a single up the middle, advanced to third on a single by O'Connor and scored on a RBI single by first baseman Nick Zucchero. O'Connor and Zucchero both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice by third baseman Nick Ramagli, before O'Connor scored on a RBI single by right fielder Shane Alvarez. Zucchero gave Kean the 3-0 lead when he scored on a RBI fielder's choice by senior centerfielder Vinny Galya.
An inning later, the Cougars broke open the game with six runs after once again leading off the inning with three straight hits. Senior catcher Eddie Jennings and Laguna had back-to-back singles and Jennings would score from second on a RBI single by O'Connor. Laguna, who had advanced to third on the single, scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Zucchero to extend the lead to 5-0.
After O'Connor scored on a balk, Ramagli scored on the RBI single by second baseman Tyler Smarslok for the 7-0 advantage. Galya had an RBI single to drive in Smarslok and the Cougars closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly by shortstop Steve Sanguiliano for a 9-0 lead.
Alvernia got on the board in the sixth inning when shortstop Richie Ricciardi had a one-out double and scored one batter later on a RBI single by designated hitter Kevin Bailey.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars tacked on two more runs when O'Connor recorded a RBI while also reaching on an error and Laguna scored on a sacrifice fly by Zucchero .
The Crusaders closed out the scoring with three runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Laguna finished 3-of-4 with three runs scored, while O'Connor was 3-of-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Zucchero (pictured right) finished 1-of-3 with three RBI and one run scored and Galya was 2-of-5 with two RBI.
Junior Kevin Herget (7-4) allowed just four hits and struck out 11 in eight innings of work. With 11 strikeouts, Herget has now set the new single-season standard for the Cougars with 110 strikeouts this season. Herget takes the record from former Cougar Joe Augustine, who had 103.
For Alvernia, Bailey finished 2-of-3 with one RBI and one run scored.