Union, N.J. (4/6/13) – The Kean University baseball team needed one extra inning, but got the result they were looking for as they swept The College of New Jersey, 13-5 & 5-4 on Saturday afternoon in NJAC action.
The wins give #4/6 Kean a 21-5 overall mark and they now sit tied on top of the NJAC Standings with a 5-1 record. The Cougars are now in the midst of a six game winning streak as they improved to 15-1 this season in the confines of Jim Hynes Stadium. The losses snap a five game winning streak for the Lions who fall to 11-11 this season and 4-2 in the NJAC.
In game one, Kean scored in all but one frame, pounding out 13 runs and 16 hits. The Cougars raced out to an 11-1 lead after five on their way to coasting to the game one win. After trading single runs early, Kean added a four spot in the second as catcher James Lyczkowski had a perfectly place RBI infield single and junior Tyler Smarslok later followed with an RBI back up the middle. Sophomore Andy Lopez rounded out the scoring in the frame with a single through the right side.
The Cougars kept the pace going and would tack on two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Highlighting the offensive action included two triples off the bat of rookie Salvatore Taormina, tying a single-game mark. Juniors Shane Alvarez and Joe O'Connor also joined in on the extra base hits with a double and triple respectively.
Alvarez finished with two hits and three runs scored from his leadoff position while Taormina and senior Nick Ramagli picked up three hits apiece.
Junior Nick Zucchero earned his second win in as many starts. Zucchero (2-0) allowed three runs and scattered six hits in six innings of work with four strikeouts and one walk. Freshman Emilio Calderon worked the three inning save with four strikeouts and two hits, with one unearned run.
For the Lions, junior Brandan Kelley suffered the loss after working into the fourth inning. Kelley (4-2) allowed nine runs, seven earned, in three and two thirds innings. He walked four and allowed 10 hits.
Offensively for TCNJ, pinch-hitter Rob Vafiadou was 2-for-2 while sophomore Anthony Cocuzza was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a triple.
In game two, runs and hits were at a premium as both starting pitchers were locked in a tight duel. Kean took advantage in the first with just one hit. Smarslok got aboard after being hit-by-a-pitch and would move to third on a double off the bat of Lopez. An RBI groundout from Ramagli would give Kean a 1-0 lead and Lopez would come around to score later in the frame on a balk, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead after one.
TCNJ answered back with a single run in their half of the second. Senior Mike Murphy got things started with a leadoff double and would move to third and eventually score on two groundball outs.
The score would remain 2-1 until the sixth inning as the Lions tied things up at two-all on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Cocuzza.
TCNJ took their first lead of the day in their next at-bat as sophomore Mike Murray lined a leadoff, ground-rule double and would come around to score one batter later on a throwing miscue by the Cougars. Junior Paul Searles, who reached on the sacrifice and error, later made it 4-2 as he scored on a sacrifice fly from junior Joe Dispoto.
Kean kept chipping away and scored a single run in the eighth, without the aid of a hit. Pinch-hitter Matt Meleo worked a four pitch walk to start off the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. A groundout would move him to third and he crossed the plate on the second passed ball of the inning to make it 4-3.
Down to their final at-bat, O'Connor reached first on a one-out walk. He moved into scoring position by swiping his 17th stolen base of the season. Taormina moved the tying run to third with a groundout to the right side of the infield and rookie Ryan Kelley tied the game-up with a two-out RBI infield single to short, beating the throw. The hit was just the second of the game at the time for Kean. With the game now tied at four-all, Kelley kept the inning going by swiping second and moving to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Anthony Fischetti worked seven pitch walk, but the Lions were able to work out of trouble by inducing a groundball to push the game into extras.
Rookie Vinny Zanfordino kept the Cougars hopes alive working into this third inning of relief. Zanfordino shut down the Lions, one-two-three in the 10th. Alvarez wasted no time and started off the bottom of the 10th with a double to left. A successful sacrifice from Smarslok moved him 90 feet away with just one out. TCNJ elected to walk the bases loaded intentionally to try and create a force at home, sending one of Kean's top hitters in O'Connor to the plate. With a drawn in, extra loaded infield (five position players) the lefty answered, and delivered the game-winner with a single to right to give Kean the come-from-behind win.
Zanfordino improved to 2-0 with the impressive relief outing. He struck out two and didn't allow a run, hit or walk. Rookie William Worswick suffered the loss. Worswick (1-3) allowed two runs and four walks in two and a third innings.
The Cougars enjoy a short break and return to NJAC action on Thursday when they travel to Rutgers-Newark for a 3:30 p.m. start.