Baseball Loses to Ithaca, 5-4

Ithaca, NY (5/11/08) Sophomore outfielder T.J. Abone (Rome Free Academy/Rome) scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to cap Ithaca’s rally from a 4-1 deficit as the Bombers (29-11) finished their regular season with a 5-4 win over Montclair State (26-18) Sunday at Freeman Field.

Senior Lou Politan (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) and junior Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) each belted home runs for Montclair, which was trying to bolster its case for an at-large bid for the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Abone, who led off the ninth with a single up the middle, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third on ball four of a walk to junior outfielder Matt Samela (Staples/Westport, Conn.), slid home with the winning run on a ground ball by freshman third baseman David Ahonen (Victor/Farmington). Politan fielded Ahonen’s chopper and threw to second to try to catch Samela in a rundown, but Abone beat the Andrew Himmelfarb's (Nyack, NY / Nyack) throw to the plate.
Abone’s two-out two-run double highlighted a three-run sixth as the Bombers tied the game 4-4. Junior catcher Drew Ash (Morris Knolls/Denville, N.J.) hit a sacrifice fly and Abone doubled home senior shortstop Josh Smith (Pulaski/Richland) and senior outfielder Rob Raux (Ilion/Frankfort).

Raux scored Ithaca’s first run, coming home on a groundout by Ash in the second. Smith finished with three hits. Abone, Raux and senior first baseman Eric Ferguson (Columbia/Brainard) had two apiece.

Montclair State took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo). After the Bombers tied the game in the second Himmelfarb scored from third base in the third to pu Montclair back on top. Politan made it s 3-1 game in the fifth as he connected on his second home run of the year and Kloepping blasted his team-leading eighth the following inning to make the score, 4-1.  

Junior Bryan Gardner (Fairport/Fairport), the fourth Bomber pitcher, earned the win by retiring the last two batters in the eighth. Junior Adam Brown (Greece Athena/Rochester) pitched 2.1 innings of hitless relief to keep the Bombers in the game, striking out two and allowing only two baserunners (one on an error and one on a dropped third strike). Junior lefthander Michael Vitale (Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) suffered the loss as he fell to 4-3 going the final 2.1 innings allowing the winning run.