Little Falls, N.J. (4/29/14) – Junior Mike Daley tossed a complete game shutout in unfavorable weather conditions as the Kean University baseball earned a 5-0 win over host Montclair State University in the opening round of the NJAC Tournament.
Daley (7-1) allowed seven hits (six singles) and four walks as the fourth ranked Cougars now travel to face #2 Rowan University for the third time in five days. Rowan rallied in the bottom of the ninth trailing 6-2, to edge #5 The College of New Jersey, 7-6.
In the other matchup of the tournament, top seeded Rutgers-Camden shutout #6 William Paterson, 4-0. #3 MSU will travel to #1 Rutgers-Camden, while #5 TCNJ and #6 WPU will battle in an elimination game.
In what turned out to be a well paced matchup, the Cougars (29-10) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as senior Tyler Smarslok reached second via a leadoff error. Small ball would move him to third and an RBI groundout from sophomore Matt Meleo pushed across the first and what would be winning run.
#11/13 Kean added insurance in the fourth as Meleo collected a one-out single in the hole and junior Andy Lopez moved him to third with a double to left. Back-to-back singles from senior Joe O'Connor and sophomore Sal Taormina gave Kean a 3-0 lead and senior Nick Zucchero closed out the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly.
The Cougars weren't done yet, as Smarslok started off the eighth with a bunt single and later scored on a passed ball for what would be the final.
The Red Hawks (20-16) main scoring opportunity came in the sixth as Phil Scott found the gap with the only extra base hit of the day for MSU, a double, moving Lou Martini to third, who reached via a single. With two outs already on the board, Daley induced a groundout to end the threat.