Herget's Two-Hitter Leads No. 6 Kean to Sweep of Home-and-Home Set with Montclair State

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Montclair, NJ – Senior righthander Kevin Herget (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) tossed a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 11 as No. 6 Kean University completed a sweep of its home-and-home series with Montclair State with a 2-1 victory at Yogi Berra Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Herget improved to 3-2 as he allowed just four base runners in his 134-pitch effort as the Cougars won their fourth straight improving to 19-5 overall, 3-1 in the NJAC. It was the second complete-game of the season for Herget, who walked two in the contest.

Junior lefthander Dylan Papa (South Plainfield, NJ, South Plainfield) took the hard-luck loss for Montclair State, which dropped its third straight game falling to 9-8, 1-3 in the conference.

Herget's only blemish came in the bottom of the first inning when MSU plated its run. Junior shortstop Cody Pace (Milltown, NJ, Spotswood) drew a two-out walk and Stephen Nappe (Edison, NJ, Edison) belted a high fly ball to left. Kean's Joe O'Connor (Wharton, NJ / Morris Hills) seemed to have the ball tracked for the final out, however the wind blowing across the field pushed the ball back toward the infield, eluding O'Connor who tried to make a diving effort. Pace, running with two outs, scored easily as Montclair grabbed a 1-0 lead.

That would be the sum total of MSU's offense over the next six innings as Herget retired the next 16 batters in a row before giving up a leadoff double to Pace in the seventh inning on a second wind-blown ball to left field that escaped another diving attempt by O'Connor.

Meanwhile, Papa kept that 1-0 lead in tact for the Red Hawks as he set down 12 of the first 13 he faced before Kean threatened in the fifth. O'Connor reached on an error and Sal Taormina (Brooklyn, NY / Xaverian) laid down a bunt single. Anthony Fischetti (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) tried to sacrifice the runners over however Nappe made a diving play to catch the bunt attempt then doubled up O'Connor at second. The play proved big as Ryan Kelley (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) added an infield single with both runners moving up on a throwing error. Papa fanned the next hitter as Montclair maintained its one-run advantage.

Shortstop Nick Ramagli (Emerson, NJ / Emerson) began the Cougars' game-winning rally with a base hit to lead off the seventh. O'Connor sacrificed him to second before Taormina flipped a ball into right field for a base hit tying the game at 1-1. Papa would get the next hitter and seemed to get out of the inning with a fly ball to center field. But the ball glanced off the glove of Red Hawks' centerfielder Jose Carlos Padilla (Bergenfield, NJ, Bergenfield) allowing Taormina to score with the go-ahead run.

Pace's double in the bottom of the inning gave Montclair a chance to tie the game. Nappe moved him to third on a sacrifice however he would be stranded there as Herget got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.

Kean tried to add to its lead in the ninth putting runners at first and second with two outs. Reliever John Silvestri (Livingston, NJ, Seton Hall Prep) entered the game for Papa. But before he threw a pitch the lefthander picked off the runner at second giving MSU one last chance.

It turned out to be no chance as Herget closed out the game in a flourish setting down the side in order on three strikeouts, all looking.

Papa, who lost his second 2-1 game of the year, gave up six hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, April 6 with home NJAC doubleheaders. Montclair State hosts Rutgers-Camden while Kean is at Jim Hynes Field against The College of New Jersey with both twinbills beginning at 11:30 am.