(Union, NJ) – No. 4 seed Richard Stockton (23-18) was eliminated from the NJAC tournament on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning as No. 1 seed Kean (32-8), which is ranked fifth in the nation, edged the Ospreys 7-6. Barry Larro (Cedarville/Cumberland) went 3-3 with three walks, two runs scored and a stolen base to lead the Stockton offense. The Ospreys led 6-3 entering the bottom of the seventh but could not hold off Kean.
Mike Bush (Manahawkin/Southern Regional) went 2-5 with two stolen bases and a run scored. Mark Jankowski (Washington Twp./Washington Twp.), Shawn Kessler (Bayville/Central Regional) and Justin Gordon (Brick/Brick Twp.) also contributed two hits apiece.
The Ospreys kicked off the scoring right away as Larro singled, stole second and scored on a Kean error in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead. Kean tied the game in the third frame but Stockton came right back with a run in the top of the fourth as Jankowski singled, stole second and scored on another error by the Cougars for a 2-1 edge.
Kean pulled ahead 3-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth frame. Stockton regained the lead with a four-run outburst in the seventh frame. Bush singled and stole second before scoring on an RBI single by Brett Solomen (Harrison Twp./Clearview) and Larro scored on an infield hit by George Eisenhart (Harrison Twp./Clearview). Kessler added an RBI single and then Eisenhart scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-3 in the Ospreys' favor.
Kean responded with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the seventh for a 6-6 tie. The teams combined to leave five runners on base in the next two stanzas and the game went to extra innings. Stockton stranded two runners in the 10th frame and one more in the 11th. A leadoff single by Kean in the bottom of the 11th was followed by a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk. After a flyout, another walk loaded the bases and Ryan Kelley singled to bring home the decisive run for the 7-6 final score.
Stockton is likely to receive a berth in the ECAC tournament when the brackets are announced on Monday. The ECAC tourney begins on Wednesday, May 8.