Baseball Beats Stockton to Stay Alive in NJAC Tournament

Newark, NJ (5/3/08) Senior outfielder Rob Bowness (Sparta, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) had a two-run home run before senior shortstop Kevin Cuozzi (Langehorne, PA/Neshaminy) delivered the game-winning two-run single with two out in the top of the tenth as Montclair State held off Richard Stockton, 7-5, in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Baseball Championship Tournament in Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

The Red Hawks (24-15) survived the first elimination game to move on to a 2 p.m. Sunday game against William Paterson. Richard Stockton (22-14), making just its second NJAC tournament appearance, in its 15 th year of competition, had several chances to win the game in regulation.

The Ospreys forced the extra inning when sophomore first baseman Matt Hunt ( Marlton, NJ/ St. Joseph’s) singled home senior catcher Joe Sacerdote ( Deptford, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) to knot the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Sacerdote and junior third baseman Jeff Lundell ( Henderson, NV/ Kentridge, Wash.) had two-out singles to chase MSU starter Kevin Dalton ( Edison, NJ/Edison) before eventual winner Enrique Gomez ( Edison, NJ/ St. Joseph’s) gave up the single to Hunt.

Dalton scattered seven hits while striking out seven and giving up two walks to offset an outstanding performance by Stockton junior Scott Fischer (Toms River, NJ/Toms River East) who pitched nine full innings, yielding seven hits while striking out six and walking five. But, senior reliever Amit Shah (Maple Shade, NJ/Maple Shade) gave up a single to senior catcher Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) to lead off the 10 th before Bowness jump started the four-run Red Hawk outburst with his seventh home run of the season – a hard shot over the rightfield wall.

The Ospreys pushed across two runs in the bottom of the 10 th and left the bases loaded as senior reliever Jairo Mendez (Kearny, NJ/Kearny) earned a save by getting the final two outs despite walking in a run with two away to post the final score.

Bowness, who finished with three hits in five at-bats, put MSU up 3-1 in the fifth with a line-drive double that one-hopped of the leftfield wall to plate senior first baseman Lou Politan (Livingston, NJ/Livingston).

Senior centerfielder Michael Nunes (Hazlet, NJ/Hazlet) singled to centerfielder with two outs in the first to stake MSU to the early lead, but the Ospreys bounced back in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded single by sophomore second baseman Matt Allen (Salem, NJ/Woodstown). But, the Ospreys probably ran themselves out of a win in the at-bat. Allen’s clean single plated Sacerdote with no one out, but senior leftfielder Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville) gunned out Lundell at the plate when he tried to score from second on the play. A failed suicide squeeze bunt erased Hunt who charged from third into the tag by Miller before Dalton struck out the final batter of the inning.

Miller and Cuozzi had two hits apiece for the Red Hawks while junior centerfielder Chris Discher ( Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West) and Lundell had two hits each for the Ospreys.