UNION, N.J. – Sixth-seeded William Paterson (23-16, 9-9 NJAC) saw its season come to a tough end, allowing a run during the bottom of the ninth inning to fifth-seeded Kean (20-22, 9-9 NJAC) for a 5-4 final score May 4 during the second round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Baseball Tournament.
The Pioneers forced the bottom of the ninth in dramatic fashion. Down to his final strike with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, junior Shane Adams delivered a pinch-hit home run over the left-field fence to make it a 4-4 score.
A leadoff error, stolen base and sacrifice gave the Cougars a runner on third with one out during the home half of the ninth. WP elected to intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases and create a force play at the plate, and the Pioneers got an infield ground ball from the next batter. However, the throw home was wide and the winning run was able to score on the play.
Kean opened the scoring in the third with an error, double, squeeze bunt and RBI-single to center field for a 2-0 edge.
William Paterson answered in the fourth. Sophomore second baseman Matt Ferrara doubled down the right-field line, freshman shortstop Greg Cuevas was hit by a pitch and, after a wild pitch, freshman right fielder Dan Carter was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs. Freshman left fielder Francis Deane sent a double down the left-field line, clearing the bags and handing the Pioneers a 3-2 edge.
The Cougars snatched back the lead with a two-run seventh, using a base hit, fielder's choice error on a bunt, sacrifice, RBI-single off the pitcher's foot, and squeeze bunt.
Seven different Pioneers had a hit, with Deane contributing a three-run double and Adams his first homer of the season.
Junior Corey Martinez was lifted after the grounder off his foot, allowing four unearned runs on five hits while striking out six over 6.1 innings. Classmate Doug Olcese tossed 0.2 inning of one-hit relief, and junior Eric Rosenberg surrendered one unearned run and two intentional bases on balls in 1.1 innings of action (2-2).
Senior designated hitter Jim Fitzgerald was 2-for-2 with a double and run scored for Kean. Junior Christopher Rossi pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four.