Cortland Slips Past Westfield State in 10th Inning, 5-4

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AUBURN, N.Y.  – SUNY Cortland scored the game winning run on a 2-out passed ball in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the top-seeded Red Dragons escaped with a 5-4 win over eight seed Westfield State in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament at Falcon Park in Auburn, N.Y.
Westfield (24-17-1) will now play in an elimination game on Friday morning at 10 a.m. against #4 Seed Baldwin-Wallace College (Ohio), which fell to #5 Swarthmore by an 11-6 score in the early game on Thursday.  Cortland (33-10) advances to the winner's bracket to play Swarthmore at 4:30 on Friday.
Westfield grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning, as Anthony Crowley led off with a double off the wall in right center field, advanced on Jake Gibb's single and scored on Colin Dunn's fielder's choice.
Cortland picked up two runs in the bottom of the second with just one a hit, as Matthew Personius was hit by a pitch, Joey Tardiff and Matt Michalski followed with walks.   Personius scored on Paul Dondero's sacrifice fly and Antonio Pragana followed with a single to short that plated another run.
In the fourth, the Red Dragons tallied two more as Michalski walked and eventually scored on Pragana's sac fly, and Patrick Schetter followed with a single to drive in Colin BeVard.
Westfield State starter John Gegetskas put in a workmanlike effort, limiting the damage in the second and the fourth to keep the Owls in the game.  The big lefthander worked seven inning allowing five hits and five walks, but just four runs while striking out four.  He would not factor in the decision.
Westfield cut the lead to 4-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, as Kyle Murphy led off with a single.  He scored on John Lippincott's base hit, and Alex Lafayette followed with an RBI single for the Owls.
Westfield tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh inning, when Tyler Beach reached on a throwing error after hitting a chopper off the plate and advanced to second on the miscue.  Brett Dooley followed with an RBI single that scored Beach to tie the game.
The Owls were unable to turn the seventh into a big inning, as Red Dragons' reliever Isiah Hudson retired Lafayette and Crowley to end the threat.
Westfield threatened again in the eighth inning, as Jake Gibb led off with a bad hop double that ricocheted off the head of Cortland second baseman Marcos Perivolaris and into center field as Gibb scampered to second.    Jimmy Valenti ran for Gibb and advanced on Colin Dunn's sacrifice, but again Hudson worked out of trouble.
The Owls put a runner on base in the 9th and 10th but could not score.
Finally in the 10th, Cortland loaded the bases with one out.  The Owls cut down one potential winning run at the plate as Brett Dooley threw home on a hard hit chopper but Westfield couldn't complete the double play on the relay throw to first.
Finally Tardiff scored from third on a passed ball to give the Red Dragons a 5-4 win.
Freshman Vincenzo Camera took the loss in relief for the Owls, working the final 1.2 innings.  Tyler Tongue gave the Owls an inning of shutout relief in the eighth.
Crowley finished 3-5 with a double and a run scored.  Dooley and Gibb each had a pair of hits for the Owls, and Lippincott's base hit extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Owls stranded nine men, the Red Dragon left 11 aboard.
Schetter and Perivolaris each had two hits for Cortland, which entered the tournament ranked 16th in the nation in the ABCA poll.  Hudson (6-1) picked up his sixth win of the season by working five innings of one-run relief of starter Mike Harrington.