NEWARK, N.Y. – Junior Brandon McClain (Coram/Longwood) threw a complete-game two-hitter as Cortland defeated Kean, 10-1, to win the NCAA Div. III New York baseball regional. The Red Dragons (35-8) advance to the NCAA Div. III World Series for the 12th time in program history and the sixth time since 2005.
Cortland, ranked fifth nationally, will face the winner of the Marietta (Ohio) Regional on Friday, May 23, in the opening round of the eight-team World Series in Grand Chute, Wis. Cortland's opponent will be determined on Monday when that regional finishes and will be either Salisbury (Md.), Case Western Reserve (Ohio) or Widener (Pa.).
Cortland senior designated hitter P.J. Rinaldi (Bethel, CT) was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player. He finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, walk, RBI and two runs scored and in four regional games hit .571 (8-for-14) with two doubles, three walks and nine RBI. Joining Rinaldi on the all-tournament team were McClain, senior catcher Tim Panetta (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) and senior first baseman Max Rosing (Rockville Centre/South Side).
Panetta finished 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two RBI. Senior Chris Jackson (Wappingers Falls/Roy C. Ketcham) went 2-for-2 with a three RBI, including a two-run triple as part of Cortland's five-run third inning. Junior Vinny Bomasuto (Dunkirk) went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs and Rosing finished 2-for-5 with a double. McClain improved to 10-1 as he struck out five and walked two.
Kean, ranked 19th nationally, finishes the season 35-14. The Cougars advanced to the championship round with a 4-3 win over Amherst earlier Sunday and needed two wins over Cortland. Nick Zucchero started for Kean and gave up six runs, five earned, in two and two-thirds innings.
Kean took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Joe O'Connor led off with a triple and scored on an Andy Lopez groundout to short. The Cougars, however, managed only five baserunners the rest of the game on a walks in the third and seventh, a Shane Alvarez leadoff double in the sixth and two errors in the ninth.
Cortland took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the second. Rinaldi led off with a double and, with one out, Bomasuto was hit by a pitch. Jackson hit a single to left to drive in Rinaldi and, with two outs, Bomasuto scored on a passed ball.
The Red Dragons posted five runs on six hits in the third. Mark DeMilio (Valhalla) led off with a single and stole second with two outs. He went to third on a passed ball and scored on Rinaldi's single to center. Rosing then singled and Bomasuto hit an RBI single to center to score Rinaldi. Jackson followed with a two-run triple down the right-field line and Panetta's hard smash to third resulted in an infield single that scored Jackson.
Cortland added a run in the fourth when Conrad Ziemendorf (Penfield/Webster Schroeder) singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Panetta doubled in a run in the seventh and Bomasuto hit an RBI single in the eighth.