Moosic, PA – Lymbel Guerrero (Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical) delivered a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Keystone College a dramatic, 6-5 win over Misericordia University in an elimination game at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament on Saturday afternoon at PNC Field.
The second-seeded Giants, who are ranked 11th in the
country, improve to 36-9 on the season and will face No. 9 Kean
in Saturday's championship game at 4:00 p.m.
A win by the Giants over Kean in Saturday's second game would force a win-take-all championship game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III College World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Keystone took Saturday's rubber match after the two teams split a pair of games during the regular season, with Keystone winning 4-3 in March in Florida before Misericordia claimed a 5-0 win in April in La Plume. The Cougars, who were receiving votes in the latest national rankings, end their season with a 39-11 record.
Misericordia's Kyle Lindsay led off Saturday's game with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Tressa, and took third on a passed ball. Steve Sulcoski then brought home Lindsay with a sacrifice fly to deep center for the game's first run.
Kevin Catherina (Ridgefield, NJ/St. Mary (Rutherford)) reached on an error by the Cougars to start the Keystone first and following a popout, Tyler Gurman (Bronx, NY/Lehman) singled to center to put a pair of runners on for the Giants before Gabriel Molina (Bronx, NY/James Monroe) reached on an error to load the bases with two outs. Ricky Riscica (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) was then hit by a pitch that allowed Catherina to walk home to tie the game at 1-1.
Lindsey drew a one-out walk for Misericordia in the top of the third inning and moved to second on a groundout by Tressa. Sulcoski then doubled to the left field wall to score Lindsay to restore the Cougars' one-run advantage.
Ryan Cacchioli hit a one-out single to right in the Misericordia fourth and then stole second to move into scoring position, but Keystone starter Michael Meszoros (Bridgeport, CT/Bassick) used a pair of strikeouts to strand the runner at second.
Austin Straub (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) led off the Keystone sixth with a single to center before scoring on an RBI double to the left centerfield wall by Gurman, tying the score at 2-2. Gabriel Ramirez (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Perkiomen School) then laced a single to left field to put runners on the corners with nobody out and the Giants took their first lead of the game as Gurman scored on a sacrifice fly by Molina. Riscica was then hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to put runners on first and second with one down, but Misericordia starter Justin Haddix escaped without any further damage by getting an infield fly out followed by a flyout to center.
Misericordia responded with three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead. Joe Tagliarini was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Chris Boroch hit a one-out single to right field to put a pair of runners on with one out. Lindsay then delivered a base hit to right field that plated Tagliarini to knot the game at three-apiece. A groundout to short put a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs, and Sulcoski delivered a two-run triple to the gap in left-center to give the Cougars a 5-3 lead.
Miquel Castano (Miami, FL/Miami Springs) reached on an error to start the Giants' seventh and advanced to second on a wild pitch before taking third on a sacrifice fly by Catherina. Keystone cut their deficit to 5-4 as Catherina scored on an RBI groundout by Straub. Gurman kept the inning alive by legging out a double on a ball hit to right-center before scoring on a single off the bat of Ramirez, tying the game at 5-5. Molina then singled through the left side to put a pair of runners on with two outs and the Giants loaded the bases as Riscica was hit by a pitch for a third time in the game, but Misericordia caught a break as a hard hit ball by Rick McLaughlin (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) hit Molina between second and third to end the inning.
Ryan Cacchioli worked a one-out walk for the Cougars in the visitor's eighth, but Giants' reliever Justin Martinez (Bronx, NY/Clifton) got a strikeout before Ramirez gunned down Cacchioli trying to steal second to end the inning.
Guerrero led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a walk before being sacrificed to second by Castano. Catherina then walked to put a pair of runners on for Keystone before Cougars' reliever Ryan Dorosh got a pair of clutch strikeouts to get out of the inning.
Dylan Mazzo walked to lead off the Misericordia ninth before being pinch run for by Bryce Frankenfield, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Boroch, but Martinez got a pair of flyouts to end the inning.
Ramirez led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to right field before being pinch run for by Jose Garcia (Trenton, NJ/Trenton Central), who moved to second on a Molina sacrifice bunt. The Cougars then intentionally walked Riscica before getting a 4-6-3 double play to send the game to extra innings.
After Robert Minaya (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) worked a 1-2-3 tenth inning on mound for Keystone, Misericordia's Dorosh retired the first two batters he faced in the home 10th before walking Catherina. Straub then blooped a single into right field that advanced Catherina to third. The Cougars then intentionally walked Gurman to load the bases before Dorosh got an inning-ending strikeout.
Tagliarini hit a one-out single to left for Misericordia in the top of the 11th inning and Connor Moriarty waked to give the Cougars a pair of runners on base. Minaya then got a pair of flyouts to work out of the innings.
Molina started the Keystone 11th with a double just over the third base bag and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by Riscica. Dorosh got a groundout to second for the second out of the inning, but Guerrero then delivered a single up the middle that allowed Molina to score with the winning run.
Meszoros went 6.1 innings in his fifth start of the year, allowing five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out six. Justin Martinez (Bronx, NY/Clifton) allowed one hit while walking two and striking out a pair of batters in 2.2 innings of work out of the bullpen while Minaya was credited with the win to improve to 2-0 on the year after allowing one hit and walking one in two innings of work.
Gurman and Ramirez had three hits and an RBI apiece to lead Keystone's offense while Molina and Straub added a pair of hits apiece in the win.
Haddix worked six innings on the mound for Misericordia and yielded three runs on four hits while walking two while Weintraub allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work. Dorosh (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing four hits and five walks in 3.2 innings on the hill.
Top-seeded Kean, the two-time defending Mid-Atlantic Region champion, enters Saturday's championship game a perfect 37-10 overall record including a perfect 3-0 mark in the tournament.