CAMDEN, N.J. (April 28, 2017) – Junior leftfielder Frank Urso (Warren, NJ/Watchung Hills) went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBIs and senior southpaw Mike Occhi (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough) hurled six strong innings in relief to lead the Kean University baseball team over Rutgers University-Camden, 7-2, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game here Friday afternoon.
Rutgers-Camden, which entered the day with a mathematical chance to make the six-team NJAC playoffs next week, was eliminated from the playoff race and falls to 13-21 overall and 4-12 in conference play. Kean, still battling for a post-season conference berth, improves to 21-15 overall and 8-8 in the NJAC.
Locked in a 1-1 tie entering the fifth inning, the Cougars took the lead for good with a three-run frame, sparked by a leadoff double from Urso. He advanced to third on a single by freshman second baseman Austin Arndt (Lebanon, NJ/North Hunterdon) before freshman shortstop Mike Fidanza (Staten Island, NY/St. Joseph by the Sea) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Back-to-back RBI singles followed from freshman centerfielder Frank LoGuidice (Edison, NJ/John P. Stevens) and junior rightfielder Jim Fitzgerald (Lyndhurst, NJ/Lyndhurst) before the final run scored on a double play ball.
The Cougars added a run in the eighth on a walk and Urso’s RBI triple and plated a pair of unearned runs in the ninth on a single by LoGuidice, a pair of Raptor errors on sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly by junior first baseman Matt Krupa (Mahwah, NJ/Mahwah).
Occhi raised his record to 6-0 by scattering seven hits and one walk over his six-inning stint in relief of Kean starter Christopher Rossi (Branchburg, NJ/Somerville). Occhi struck out three and allowed only an eighth-inning run on a two-out pinch-hit RBI double by freshman Matt Yanick (Palmyra, NJ/Palmyra).
Krupa gave the Cougars a lead in the second inning after he hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a ground out and later scored on an error. Rutgers-Camden tied the contest off Rossi in the third inning after freshman centerfielder John Tedeschi (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield Memorial) drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved up on a sacrifice by senior catcher Jon Theckston (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester Catholic). He scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman designated hitter Matthew Stoots (Browns Mills, NJ/Pemberton).
Senior Zach Welsher (Audubon, NJ/Audubon) took the loss for the Scarlet Raptors, working five innings of six-hit ball, as he record fell to 2-3. He walked two, struck out two and allowed four earned runs. Sophomore Steven Bloyed (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) worked the final four innings, allowing three hits, one walk and three runs, only one earned. He struck out three.
Urso’s three-hit game was only a home run shy of the cycle. LoGuidice added two hits in the Cougars’ nine-hit attack.
Rutgers-Camden received a 2-for-3 game, including a double, from freshman shortstop Nolan Gerold (Merchantville, NJ/Camden Catholic). Gerold also added a sacrifice and a run scored. Sophomore second baseman Chris Jones (Washington Township, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep), meanwhile, went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and a stolen base. The two hits raised his career total to 96 hits in only 66 games, as he attempts to reach the 100-hit milestone before the end of his sophomore season.
Rutgers-Camden plays an 11:30 a.m. NJAC doubleheader Saturday at New Jersey City University to close out the conference schedule. The Raptors play a road game Sunday at Misericordia University and close their season Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. home makeup game against York College of Pennsylvania.