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TCNJ Wins High Scoring Game Against Kean, Lions NJAC Champs for 11th Time

Screenshot 2023-05-13 at 17.44.28photo provided


UNION, NJ (May 8, 2023)--- The College of New Jersey hung on for a 12-9 win in the NJAC Baseball Championship winner-take-all game, capping off a wild high-scoring day between the fifth-seeded Lions and second-seeded Kean.

With the win, the Lions are NJAC champions for the 11th time in program history and first since 2019.

The Lions needed one win on Monday for the conference trophy as they entered the day as the lone unbeaten team in the tournament. Kean needed two, as the Cougars earlier loss came at the hands of the Lions in the opening round of the tournament last Tuesday.

The Cougars forced the if necessary winner-take-all game with a 20-10 win in the first game, but the Lions jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the nightcap and held for the 12-9 win. In total, the teams combined for 51 runs on Monday evening.

With the win, the Lions earned the NJAC's automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament and will now await their destination.

The Lions came out firing in the championship game, scoring four runs in the top of the first on three hits and one error. An infield single from Marcario scored Mike LaGravenis, who led off the game with a triple over the right-fielder's head. After Reeder reached base on a fielding error, Ryan Goodall sent a three run shot into orbit, bringing home himself, Marcario and Reeder to take an early 4-0 lead.
Starter John DiCostanzo toughed it out for the Lions on the mound, going back to the rubber on just three days' rest. The freshman went three innings, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
In the second, Goodall answered the bell once again with a two-run bomb soaring over the fence in left center to score himself and Marcario to put TCNJ up 6-0 after two.
The Lions tacked on two more in the third on two hits, including a LaGravenis RBI single to center field, scoring Sebastian JnoBaptiste. The second run of the inning came from a Reeder sacrifice fly to right center, scoring Haynes.
In the bottom half of the third, DiCostanzo worked his way out of a bases loaded, one-out jam with two consecutive strikeouts to bring the Lions back up to hit in the fourth.
Similar to innings previous, TCNJ put up two more in the top of the fourth on one hit and one error to take a commanding 10-0 lead. Marcario reached first on an error, which brought in Zach Weiner. The Lions got another free one as Reeder wore one off the back with the bases loaded to bring in Haynes.
From the bottom of the fourth through the seventh, the Cougars rallied back with nine unanswered runs to bring themselves within one.
With one out in the seventh, Joe Ferreri came in and managed to shut down Kean in his 1.2 innings of work. After going one, two, three in the eighth he handed it over to Ben Amon in the ninth to close it out. Amon struck out one in his one inning of relief and a pop up to Fernandez at third sealed the deal for the Lions. In a switch of roles, it was Amon who earned the save and Ferreri who got the win.