May 23, 2009

Grand Chute, Wis. - The Cougars took advantage of six Bantam errors to take game one of the NCAA Division III World Series, 8-5, Friday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium.

Today's game pitted the previous two national champions as Kean claimed the crown in 2007 and Trinity (Conn.) just a year ago. With the victory KU improves to 39-9 while Trinity falls to 33-6.

Trinity scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a Cougar miscue. Kean quickly tied things up in their next at-bat as senior catcher Mike Manganiello (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) recorded a bases-loaded groundout to score freshman Dylan Laguna (Edison, N.J.) who led off the inning with a walk. The Cougars added two more in the top of the third as freshman D.J. Breckenridge (Fair Haven, N.J.) reached on an error. After stealing both second and third, he crossed the plate on an RBI fielder's choice by freshman Ryan Gibbons (Glen Rock, N.J.). Gibbons would later come around and score on a double steal.

After trading runs in the sixth, KU tacked on two more for a 6-2 lead in the seventh. Shortstop Dave Zavistoski (Edison, N.J.) started the inning with a double down the leftfield line. He would score after an RBI single by Breckenridge, who found his way to third base on the throw to the plate as well as another Bantam error. Breckenridge scored on an RBI single by freshman Vinny Galya (Old Bridge, N.J.).

Trinity rallied in the seventh and pulled within one (6-5) thanks to three walks by the Cougar staff. With the bases loaded and two outs, Trinity came across with their first run on a wild pitch. Outfielder James Wood (Windham, N.H.) then drove in two with a single up the middle.

Kean sealed the win with insurance runs in the eighth and ninth to grab the victory.

Senior Pedro Rivera (Elizabeth, N.J.) earned the win. Rivera (5-0) tossed six plus innings allowing four runs, three earned, with five hits and five strikeouts. Senior Brandon Aich (Sayreville, N.J.) picked up his 11th save of the year after three innings of work. He allowed one run and two hits.

The Cougars handed senior Jeremiah Bayer (Greenfield, Mass.) his first loss of the year. Bayer (12-1) threw eight and a third innings allowing eight runs, four earned, with five walks and five strikeouts.

Offensively Gibbons and Manganiello each recorded two RBI on the afternoon.

Kean advances to take on The College of Wooster on Saturday, May 23rd at 4:30 p.m. local time. Wooster defeated Carthage College, 8-1, earlier in the day.