Ryan Kelley Delivers Walk-Off Single To Advance Cougars
By Ryan Gaydos
Battling back and forth the entire game, the Kean University baseball team finally caught a bit of a break. With two out in the bottom of the eleventh inning and the bases loaded, it almost seemed like the storybook ending that everyone in the stands was waiting for and it happened to freshman right fielder Ryan Kelley.
Kelley swung and lined a pitch right toward Richard Stockton College shortstop Mark Jankowski but it was out of his reach. The Cougars pulled off an elaborate 7-6 victory, eliminating the Ospreys from the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament.
Tyler Smarslok started the inning with a single then an Andy Lopez sac-bunt moved Smarslok to second base. After an intentional Ramagli walk, relief pitcher Ryan Adamski got Joe O’Connor to fly out then walked Sal Taormina. That is when Kelley’s heroics came into play on a 3-2 count.
The Cougars came a long way back to win this one. The game lasted more than three and a half hours and that was barely enough to get the job done.
The Ospreys actually scored first in the game in the first inning after Barry Larro singled, a Smarslok error helped George Eisenhart bring home Larro. The Cougars would strike back in the third when Lopez singled Smarslok. Back and forth the game went and it was tied heading into the top of the seventh.
In the seventh, with Kean up one run, Richard Stockton piled on four runs after a Mike Bush single, a Larro walk and then a Brett Solomen double. Eisenhart would single home Solomen to put the Ospreys up three. That margin was immediately cut short by the Cougars thanks to a Taormina two-run double to tie that game after a Nick Ramagli RBI to score Shane Alvarez.
The game continued to be tied until the eleventh. However, the offense was not the whole story of this game.
Cougars’ starter Nick Zucchero gave a gutsy performance in only his fifth start of the season allowing six runs–three earned–on nine hits. Freshman righty Chris Amato held down the fort for the rest of the way lasting 4 2/3 innings not allowing any runs and getting out of a few jams.
The Cougars will move on to play Rowan, who defeated William Paterson 15-5 on Saturday at 8:30 A.M at Jim Hynes ’63 Stadium. William Paterson will face-off against Ramapo in the other game that day at the stadium.