GLASSBORO, NJ - Top-seeded Rowan (20-4) bounced back after a loss in the first game to win the second, 7-2, to earn a split with Stockton (11-14) in the quarterfinals of the 2021 NJAC Championship Tournament and force a third game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Rowan Baseball Field.
Eighth-seeded Stockton jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the Profs after two innings and took an eventual 8-0 lead. Ninth-ranked Rowan fought back and got within, 8-6, but couldn't overcome the deficit for just its fourth loss this season.
In game two, Rowan built up a 5-0 lead of its own through five innings and pitcher Eli Atiya (5-1) earned the win as he struck out nine in six innings of work. The Profs' offense came alive with 3-for-4 efforts from both Ryan Murphy and Nick Schooley, who drove in three runs. Ryan McIsaac went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
The teams will meet on Saturday for the chance to advance to next weekend's semifinal best-of-3 series on May 14 and 15 (if necessary).
Stockton jumped out quickly scoring four runs in the first inning and adding another in the second off Rowan starter Drew Ryback to take a 5-0 lead. The Ospreys added two more in the fourth and by the middle of the seventh, held an 8-0 advantage.
The Profs started their late comeback in the seventh when Ryan Mostrangeli singled to score Schooley, who led off the inning with a walk.
Rowan added three runs in the eighth as Kokos started the inning with a double and scored on a double by Schooley. Trip McCaffrey then hit an RBI triple and was brought home on a sacrifice fly by DiDomenico.
The Profs added two in the ninth when McIsaac hit a two-run home run, his fifth of the year, to score Mostrangeli, but Stockton pitcher Tyler Apt was able to close out the victory.
Mike Shannon relieved Ryback and gave the Profs 5.2 strong innings and held Stockton to just one run, while posting a career-high seven strikeouts. Mostrangeli went 3-for-4 in the game with a run scored and Schooley was 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI.
It was the Profs' who took the early lead, when DiDomenico doubled to score Schooley in the second. They added two in the fourth when Schooley's sacrifice fly brought home Murphy and Trip McCaffrey singled, stole second, reached third on an error, and scored on a ground out by DiDomenico to put Rowan up, 3-0.
McIsaac led off the fifth with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Alex Kokos. Murphy then doubled and scored on a single by Schooley to increase the Rowan lead to 5-0.
Stockton got on the board in the sixth on an RBI double from Tommy Talbot but Rowan added another in the eighth as Jared Marks walked and scored when Mostrangeli singled, advanced to second on an error, and eventually reached third on the throw to the plate.
The Ospreys scored one more in the eighth, but Rowan added its final run in the ninth when a double by Schooley allowed Murphy to score.
Atiya got the win, but the Profs' relievers Christian Bascunan, Jason O'Neill and closer Zach Listro were able to preserve the lead.