Ewing, N.J. (4/1/12) – The Kean University baseball split in two pitcher's duels in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener by falling to The College of New Jersey, 2-1 in 10 innings in game one and edging TCNJ, 1-0 in game two on Saturday afternoon.
The #4 Cougars are now 15-6 on the season with a 1-1 NJAC record. TCNJ stands with a 12-9 record, as well as a 1-1 NJAC mark.
Junior Kevin Herget (3-2) was the tough-luck loser in game one after tossing all nine and two thirds innings with a season-high 13 strikeouts. After seven and a half scoreless frames, both teams traded runs off wild pitches to break the deadlock. The Lions took the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Scott Kelly legged out an infield single after hitting to deep short. He stole his 20th base of the season before advancing to third base on a wild pitch. Kelly raced home on another wild pitch and beat the play at the plate to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
With two outs in the top of the ninth it was another wild pitch with a runner on third base that enabled the Cougars to tie the contest. Sophomore Nick Zucchero provided a spark with a two out single. Pinch-runner Vinny Galya then moved around the bases on three wild pitches, mixed in with two walks to knot the game at one-all. With one out in the 10th, Nick Cifelli walked, Jimmy Ruzich singled and Michael Murphy walked to load the bases. Herget picked up his 13th strikeout of the game to record two outs, but Jacob Dewitt drilled a two-strike pitch to left field to end the game.
The two teams combined for 10 singles in the contest.
The nightcap proved to be very similar to game one as Kean edged TCNJ, 1-0. For the Cougars, senior Chris Cirlincione tossed a complete game shutout to improve to 4-0. TCNJ's Eric Lewis and Cirlincione tossed for a combined 225 pitches, 153 of them were for strikes.
Kean scratched across the lone run of the game in the fourth as sophomore Shane Alvarez started off the frame with a single. He would move to second on a groundout and third on a flyout before senior Dylan Laguna legged out an infield single to push across what would be the winning run.
Senior Eddie Jennings and sophomore Tyler Smarslok both recorded two hits apiece in the nightcap, only two of three players from both teams to record multiple hits on the day.
Cirlincione allowed just five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
Kean returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to the College of Staten Island for a non-conference game.