Baseball Rallies Past No. 11 Cortland

Montclair, NJ (3/21/09) – Senior first baseman Jason Lopez (West New York, NJ / Memorial) lined a two-out single to left field which provided the eventual game-winning run as Montclair State rallied for four runs in its final two at bats for a 5-4 victory over 11th-ranked Cortland at Yogi Berra Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Junior lefthander John Masklee (Totowa, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn the victory as Montclair (4-7) posted its first win over the Red Dragons in nearly five years. Montclair last topped Cortland 3-2 on May 16, 2004, MSU’s final contest that season.

Kevin Jackson (Wappingers Falls / Roy C. Ketcham) was 2-for-4 and an RBI for the Red Dragons (9-5) who dropped their second straight following a nine-game winning streak.

Trailing 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Montclair scored three times to tie the game. Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) and Lopez each reached on base hits and Kloepping scored as Adam Bergman (Berkeley Heights, NJ / Gov. Livingston) smacked a single to right-centerfield making the score 4-2. A throwing error on the play allowed Lopez to get to third and he scored on a misplayed grounder trimming the MSU deficit to a run.

A single by pinch-hitter Andrew Himmelfarb (Nyack, NY / Nyack) loaded the bases and brought up pinch-hitter Joe Zembryski (Rutherford, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep). Zembryski got the count even at 1-2 before lofting a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Bergman with the tying run.

The following inning, the Red Hawks would take their first lead of the game. Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ / Cedar Grove) singled with one out and stole second. That proved to be a key play as Lopez lifted a base hit to left scoring Bond as Montclair led 5-4.

Cortland would threaten in the ninth as Jason Simone (Utica, NY / Thomas R. Proctor) bunted his way on with a single. Jackson was hit by a pitch following the first out and the Red Dragons had the tying and go-ahead runners on base. But Masklee would get Alex Coffey (Hilton / Hilton) to bounce a ball to third base. Zach Brown (Green Village, NJ / Morristown) stepped on the bag for the second out and threw across the diamond to complete the double play as MSU snapped its two-game losing streak.

Cortland got on the board in the third inning as the Red Dragons used the first of four MSU errors to plate a run. MSU tied the game in the fourth as Kevin Miller (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield) singled through the left side. But the Red Dragons regained the lead in the sixth as pinch-hitter Mike Salvatore (Patchogue / Patchogue-Medford) walked with the bases loaded to make the score 2-1. Simone then lined a two-single to score the second run, but Montclair’s Michael Boggi (Towaco, NJ / Montville) made a perfect throw to home plate to cut down the ensuing runner as Cortland led 3-1.

The Red Dragons added another run in the seventh as Jackson ripped a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield.

Masklee (1-2) allowed just two his three innings, striking out one issuing one walk. Nicolas Blanco (Bronx, NY / St. Raymond’s) took the loss as he fell to 2-2. Blanco gave up the go-ahead run and three hits in 1.2 innings. He struck out one.

Bone, Kloepping and Lopez each had two hits for the Red Hawks, who had 12 in the game. Simone, Jackson and Coffey had two hits apiece for Cortland.

Montclair State returns to action on Tuesday, March 24 as the Red Hawks travel to Bethlehem, PA to face Moravian College at 3:00 pm. Cortland is back out on the diamond on Sunday as the Red Dragons take on Manhattanville College in a doubleheader in Purchase, NY at 12:30 pm.