Baseball Falls to Kean in NJAC Championship

Newark, NJ (5/5/08) The Montclair State baseball team's run in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament ended on Monday as the Red Hawks fell to Kean University, 12-4 at Riverfront Stadium on Monday afternoon.

The victory gave Kean its second NJAC Championship and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Michael Nunes (Hazlet, NJ / Raritan) had two hits for MSU, which fell to 26-16 on the season. The Red Hawks also missed out on a chance to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament and will now await to see if they can claim an at-large berth. MSU will have three chances to bolster their resume as they face No. 4 Salisbury University at Yogi Berra Stadium on Thursday before traveling to Ithaca for a two-game set with the Bombers on May 10-11.

Montclair State had beaten the defending NCAA champions twice during the regular season and took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Rob Bowness (Sparta, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) stroked a run-scoring single. The Cougars answered in the bottom of the inning as NJAC Player of the Year Derek Gianakis delivered a sacrifice fly.

Kean went ahead for good, plating three runs in the bottom of the third.  Senior Eric Ammirata (Hamilton, N.J.) broke the 1-1 tie with a bases-loaded single to drive in two.  Ammirata would later come around and score on a Mike Moceri (Yardville, N.J.) single.

The Cougars added plenty of insurance recording eight runs over the next three frames.  Freshman designated hitter Gabe Ramirez (North Bergen, N.J.) punched out his second homerun of the tournament, a two-run shot, to highlight the offense.

On the hill, senior Andy Cupido (South Plainfield, N.J.) picked up the win after tossing seven solid innings.  Cupido (3-0) allowed three runs and nine hits while striking out five and walking three.  Junior Brandon Aich (Sayreville, N.J.) closed out the final two innings allowing an unearned run with five strikeouts. Senior righthander Jairo Mendez (Kearny, NJ / Kearny) took the loss for MSU as he fell to 3-2.

Senior catcher Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo) had a sacrifice fly for the Red Hawks while Mike Ercolano (Vernon, NJ / Vernon Township) added a run-scoring base hit.