Newark, N.Y. (5/14/14) – Senior Joe O'Connor delivered a walkoff homerun in the bottom of the ninth to send the Kean University baseball team to a 5-4 win over Union College in the opening round of the NCAA N.Y. Regional Tournament.
Tied at four-all, O'Connor (pictured left) launched the third pitch he saw off reliever Chris Pignatello, who had just entered in the ninth inning, over the right field fence to give Kean (32-12) the win.
Union broke through first, all with two outs in the second. Infielder Joe Bradley extended the inning with a single and C.J. Worley followed with a walk to put runners on first and second. First baseman Logan Schulte drove in the game's first run with an RBI single.
Kean tied it right up in the bottom of the same inning as O'Connor led off the frame with a four pitch walk. Junior Andy Lopez reached base on a single in the gap that went into and out of the glove of the rightfielder to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Ryan Reitmeyer recorded a sacrifice to put both runners into scoring position and classmate Ryan Kelley pushed across the first run of the day with a safety bunt.
The Cougars took their first lead of the day in the bottom of the fifth as catcher D.J. Ross led off the inning with a single. Senior Tyler Smarslok followed with a perfectly placed bunt single down the third base line and Sal Taormina put the Cougars on top with a single through the right side. O'Connor gave Kean a 3-1 lead with a single in the gap.
Both teams exchanged single runs in the sixth with Kean still holding the advantage going into seventh. O'Connor helped to keep the lead with Kean in the sixth, throwing out a runner at the plate for the third out of the sixth.
Union then rallied in their half of the seventh inning as Eric Egan lined a long double to left field, driving in two, to knot the game at four-all.
Reliever Richie Ferguson (pictured right) picked up the win as he tossed two and two thirds innings allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out three as he improved to 2-0.
Offensively Matt Meleo, D.J. Ross, Taormina, O'Connor and Lopez all had two hits.