MANSFIELD, CT - #10 Rowan battled the nation’s top-ranked team through 13 innings, but fell to Eastern Connecticut State, 7-6, in the NCAA Baseball Willimantic Super Regional to deny the Profs their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III World Series.
Eastern Connecticut State (44-3) loaded the bases in the top of the 13th and scored the winning run when Ryan Bagdasarian was hit by a pitch.
The resilient Profs fought back from two deficits and tied the game in the seventh inning, where it remained at 6-6 until the top of the 13th. ECSU reliever Billy Oldham notched the save as he retired the final three Rowan batters.
Senior catcher Hunter Wroniuk accounted for five of the Profs’ six runs as he hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, a two-run shot and a three-run shot, for his first home runs of the season. He finished the game going 4-for-5 with two runs and a career-best five RBI. Ryan Murphy drove in one run and senior Eric DiDomenico was 3-for-6 at the plate.
Eastern Connecticut struck first, as Luke Broadhurst hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.
Rowan answered when Murphy led off with a single in the bottom of that inning and came home on Wroniuk’s first round-tripper over the right field fence.
Eastern Connecticut countered right away as Jack Rich led off with a solo home run to tie the score, 2-2. The Warriors added another on an RBI single from Bagdasarian, which scored Noah Plantamuro.
Trailing 5-3, Rowan rallied with two outs when Tyler Cannon beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on a passed ball. Murphy reached base on an error, putting the runners at the corners for Wroniuk to send his second one over the right field fence and give the Profs a 5-3 lead.
ECSU regained the lead in the seventh, with two runners on, when Broadhurst connected on his second home run of the game, a three-run shot off reliever Braden Waller, giving the Warriors a 6-5 advantage.
Rowan tied it in the seventh, 6-6, on a sacrifice fly by Murphy, that scored DiDomenico, who had led off with a single.
The teams battled through the extra innings as Profs’ reliever Jason O’Neill went 5.1 innings and limited ECSU to just one run. Starter Michael Miles went 6.2 innings for the Profs, striking out five, and was relieved by Waller, with closer Christian Bascunan entering the game in the 13th inning.
Ending the season at 33-10, Rowan achieved the NCAA Annville Regional title and the NJAC regular-season crown. In the past two years, the Profs have gone a combined 62-16 overall and 33-3 in the NJAC.