Ewing, NJ (5/5/11) – The Montclair State baseball team is still alive and kicking in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament as the Red Hawks held off both elimination and fifth-seeded The College of New Jersey with a 7-6 victory at George Ackerman Park on Thursday afternoon.
The sixth-seeded Red Hawks (19-16) advance to the next round and will face third-seeded Rutgers-Newark in an elimination contest on Saturday, May 7 at Kean University beginning at Noon. The winner of that game will advance to meet the loser of the Kean-Rowan contest at 4:00 pm.
Junior Sean Hille (Edison, NJ/St. Joseph’s Metuchen) earned his fifth win of the season tossing five innings in relief. Sophomore Zach Brown (New Vernon, NJ/Morristown) came on in the ninth to record all three outs and register his first save of the season.
Montclair State, which defeated TCNJ for the second time in five days, put up two runs in the opening frame when catcher Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ/Cedar Grove) stroked a two-out, two-run double. Jay Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ/Pequannock) and Cody Pace (Milltown, NJ/Spotswood) came in to score after each had singled.
TCNJ knotted the score at two in the second. Freshman Joe Dispoto (Nutley, NJ/Nutley) scored on a Nick Cifelli (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) groundout. Mike Galeotafiore then delivered an RBI double to left-center to score Kelly, who had reached base on a bunt single.
The Red Hawks came back with the two in the fourth, a pair of runs in the fifth, and another run in the seventh Bowens delivered the big blow with a two-run home run to left field. It was his second homer of the season.
Trailing 7-3 in the seventh, Scott Kelly singled to center and Jimmy Ruzich (Verona, NJ/Montclair Kimberly Academy) doubled down the left-field line to start the inning. Cifelli knocked in his second run of the game with a ground ball to score Kelly. Galeotafiore followed with a long double to right to plate Ruzich and cut the deficit to 7-5.
Kelly crushed a two-out solo home run in the eighth to draw within a run. But despite having two runners on base in the ninth, Brown was able to induce a game-ending double play to advance to the third round on Saturday.
Senior Joe Marchitelli (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) threw two and one-third innings of scoreless relief in his final appearance at George Ackerman Park. He surrendered just two hits and struck out one.
Bond, Brown, and Mickey McGraw (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) each had two hits for Montclair State. Bond and McGraw also knocked in two runs.