DANVILLE, VA – The Rowan University baseball team had its season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion with an 8-7 defeat in 11 innings to Salisbury University at the NCAA South Regional on Saturday.
It was the second loss in the double elimination tournament for the third-seeded Profs, who finish the year with a 29-18 record. The top-seeded Sea Gulls (33-10) advance to play the second seed LaGrange College in another elimination game on Saturday evening. In the early game on Saturday, the sixth seed Roanoke College won 5-2 against LaGrange to advance to Sunday's championship series.
The score was tied at six entering extra innings. Rowan tallied a run in the top of the 11th on a RBI single by second baseman Alex Kokos (fr. Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley). In the bottom of the frame, Salisbury third baseman Jack Barry (so. Laurel, MD/Reservoir) recorded a game-tying sacrifice fly. After an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, first baseman Jay Perry (so. Elkton, MD/St. Mark's) hit a walk-off single to left center and the Sea Gulls advanced.
Shortstop Scott Ardoin (jr. Germantown, MD/Northwest), second baseman Pete Grasso (sr. Wilmington, DE/A. I. DuPont) and Perry each totaled three hits. Grasso, Barry and Perry all drove in two runs. Outfielder Robbie Jones (sr. Towson, MD/Calvert Hall) had two hits, one double, one RBI and two runs scored. Ardoin, Grasso and Barry hit one double apiece. Ardoin scored three times while center fielder Justin Meekins (fr. Berlin, MD/Stephen Decatur), catcher Tom LaBriola (sr. Huntingtown, MD/Huntingtown) and Barry each crossed the plate one time.
Kokos finished the contest with four hits (six at bats), one triple and five RBIs. Third baseman Dillon Mendel (so. Sparta, NJ/Sparta) was three-for-five with one double, one RBI and two runs. Designated hitter Matt Jolly (sr. Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape) knocked in one run. First baseman Monny Strickland (jr. Egg Harbor Twp., NJ/Egg Harbor Twp.) registered two runs and right fielder Jason Clapper (sr. Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape), left fielder Shawn Leydon (jr. Roxbury, NJ/Roxbury) and shortstop Matt Edwards (so. Manasquan, NJ/Manasquan) produced one run apiece.
Right-hander Jeff Oster (sr. Lake Hopatcong, NJ/Jefferson Twp.) earned the win. He (9-0) tossed the final 2.1 innings and allowed one run on two hits. Righty Rob Grilli (sr. Middletown, NJ/Middletown S.) suffered the loss. He (5-4) pitched the last 3.1 frames and surrendered two runs and four hits.
Rowan struck for two runs in the opening frame. With two outs, Leydon singled to right then advanced to third on Strickland's base hit. Kokos followed with a RBI single through the left side, scoring Leydon. Strickland came home on a base hit up the middle by Jolly.
Salisbury tallied one run in the third and fourth to tie the game. Grasso doubled in Ardoin and Jones scored on a Meekins base hit. The Profs regained the lead with a three-run fifth. Edwards found the plate on a sacrifice bunt by Mendel. Kokos smacked a two-out, two-run triple down the right field line and Rowan was ahead 5-2. Clapper and Strickland scored on the play.
The Sea Gulls cut the deficit to one (5-4) in the sixth. Barry doubled down the left field line and Ardoin came around to score. Barry completed the trip around the bases on Perry's base hit up the middle. Grasso's run-scoring single in the seventh evened the score at five apiece.
Salisbury took the lead in the eighth on Jones' RBI base knock to right center. However, with runners on first and third and two outs in the ninth, Kokos slapped a single through the right side, scoring Mendel for the tying run. The Sea Gulls loaded the bases in the bottom half with a chance to win but Grilli induced a groundball to force extras.