Baseball Clipped by Ithaca, 4-3

Little Falls, NJ (5/9/09) – Freshman righthander Tucker Healy (Needham, MA / Needham) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and then threw two more scoreless innings to close out the game as Ithaca College edged Montclair State, 4-3 at Yogi Berra Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Bombers (29-7) posted their fifth straight victory as they took advantage of three MSU errors and a couple of wild pitches as they managed just six hits in the contest.

Scott Evangelist (Northfield, NJ / Holy Spirit), Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ / Cedar Grove) and Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) each went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Montclair State, which dropped its third straight and fell to 25-17 on the year.

The teams will meet again on Sunday, May 10 at 1:00 pm before the selections for the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. Montclair State is currently No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic Region while Ithaca was ranked third in the New York rankings.

Each team squandered early opportunities to put runs on the board. The Bombers put the first two runners on in the second and had second and third with on out, but could not score as a strikeout and ground out ended that threat. In the fourth, it was Montclair’s turn as the Red Hawks loaded the bases with one out, however back-to-back strikeouts by Tom Fishback (Webster, NY / Penfield) killed that rally as the game remained scoreless.

Ithaca would push across the first run of the game in the fifth thanks in part to two MSU errors. Mike Armstrong (Penfield, NY / Penfield) reached on an error with one out and scored on the second miscue of the inning to give the Bombers a 1-0 lead.

The Bombers extended that lead to four runs in the top of the seventh. T.J. Abone (Rome, NY / Rome Free Academy) and Alan Kartholl (Fishkill, NY / John Jay) each singled to opening the inning. Following a strikeout, both swiped bases to put runners at second and third brining up Matt Samela (Westport, CT / Staples) Samela grounded to third which would allow Abone to score but on the play the throw was offline allowing pinch-runner Dan D’Angelo (Sparta, NJ / Sparta) to come home too as Ithaca led 3-0. Samela, who went to second on the play, would eventually score on a pair of wild pitches as the Bombers led 4-0.

Montclair State would come right back in its half of the inning. Jason Lopez (West New York, NJ / Memorial) doubled to lead off the inning, however was still at second after two out. Evangelist would bring him in with an RBI double down the left field line. Bond then grounded a single in the infield to score Zach Brown (Green Village, NJ / Morristown) and Kloepping followed with a base hit to right scoring Evangelist as MSU cut the lead to 4-3. Montclair then caught a break as Michael Boggi’s (Towaco, NJ / Montville) inning-ending liner was taken off the board due to catcher’s interference, loaded the bases for the Red Hawks. But Healy would get a ground ball out to keep the Bombers in front.

MSU would get a runner on in each of the final two innings, but Healy would close the door.

Fishback picked up the victory to improve to 8-4. He went 3.2 innings in relief allowing nine hits and three runs, striking out three and walking one. Senior righthander Michael Streaman (Westfield, NJ / Westfield) was the hard-luck loser as he fell to 6-2. Streaman went 6 1/3 innings giving up three runs (one earned) and five hits, striking out five and walking two.