Kean clinches spot in Div. III Champ.
Cougars sweep a pair of games from Alvernia to advance on
LAKEWOOD, N.J. -- Kean punched its ticket to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship, as they topped Alvernia, 7-0, for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championship on Sunday afternoon.
The top-seeded Cougars (42-9) emerged from the loser’s bracket after dropping their opening round game against Catholic and had to defeat Alvernia twice on Sunday to advance to the Championship Series for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Junior first baseman Lee Cavico was 2-for-4 with an RBI and one run scored, while senior left fielder Ken Gregory was 2-for-5 with four RBIs in the winner-take-all championship game.
After bunting eight times in the first game, the Cougars picked right up where they left off in the second game. Centerfielder Vinny Galya led off the game with a walk and second baseman Chris Carrano reached on the throwing error on the sacrifice, moving both into scoring position. Two batters later, Gregory doubled to right field to drive in both for the 2-0 lead.
The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the third inning, again with the bunt playing a factor. Freshman shortstop Tyler Smarslok led off the inning with a single and would come around to score when the throw on Galya’s ensuing bunt single sailed into left field. Galya, who advanced to third on the error, would score two batters later on the RBI double by Cavico.
Kean pushed the lead out to seven runs with a three-run seventh inning, as Gregory dropped in a two-run single into shallow left field and right fielder Shane Alvarez followed with a RBI single.
Junior Chris Cirlincione returned on short-rest after pitching the first game of the tournament for the Cougars and allowed just four hits and no runs in seven innings of work.
Smarslok finished with two hits and two runs scored, while Galya and Carrano each had one hit and two runs scored.
The Crusaders had one hit apiece from Chris Ray, Aaron Carman, Tim Ahlquist and Eric Domitrovits.