The Red Hawks advance to play either top-seeded Cortland or eighth-seeded Grove City Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Warriors will face the loser of the Cortland/Grove City game in an elimination game Thursday at 10 a.m.
MSU, which is making its 24th NCAA Division III Tournament apperance, posted its second one-run win over ECSU this season as it recorded a 7-6 win in Mansfield on April 1. Montclair is now 4-0 against the Warriors in regional play and 3-1 in the last four meetings with each game being decided by a run, including a 4-3 win at the 2006 World Series.
Politan’s third home run of the season capped a rally that saw the Red Hawks score seven runs in their final three at-bats. Senior rightfielder Vicente Medina (North Bergen, NJ / Paramus Catholic) started Montclair State’s eighth-inning rally with a two-out walk. After Medina advanced to second on a wild pitch with a 1-0 count on senior catcher Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo), the Warriors elected to intentionally walk Miller. Politan followed with a home run to right field to give the Red Hawks their first lead.
Eastern Connecticut broke a 3-3 tie with four seventh-inning runs, helped by a pair of Red Hawk errors. Sophomore third baseman Melvin Castillo’s one-out double scored senior left fielder Jon Dalton, who had singled, to start the scoring. Castillo stole third and continued home when the catcher’s throw went into left field. After freshman first baseman Andrew Dewing walked and freshman right fielder Jim Schult was hit by a pitch, senior centerfielder Ismael Bolorin brought in both runners with a ground ball that Montclair State’s second baseman couldn’t field cleanly.
The Red Hawks got two runs back in the bottom of the inning – one on a leadoff home run by Miller and one on an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Rob Clark (Livingston, NJ / Seton Hall Prep).
Junior Stephen Piscitello (Hauppague, NY / Hauppague) earned the win, his first of the season, for the Red Hawks. Piscitello, who started the game at third base, had thrown just five innings coming into regionals. He allowed five base runners (two hits, three walks) but kept Eastern Connecticut off the scoreboard.
Castillo and Bolorin both had three hits for the Warriors. Castillo doubled and opened the game’s scoring with his ninth home run of the season. Bolorin doubled and tripled.
Senior centerfielder Michael Nunes (Hazlet, NJ / Raritan) had three hits, including a double, for Montclair State. Sophomore second baseman Andrew Himmelfarb (Nyack, NY / Nyack) added two hits and two RBI’s.