A late-game Lion rally was not enough to overpower the Cougars in the final half of doubleheader action at Kean University on Sunday.
Kean jumped out to a quick lead, when sophomore right fielder Justin Nathanson picked up a pair of RBIs in the bottom of the second on a single shot through the left side, which scored freshman designated hitter Kevin Wright and sophomore left fielder Anthony Puzzo.
Kean increased their lead to four, in the bottom of the sixth. Senior catcher Michael Davis drove in senior center fielder Ryan Flannery. Davis took advantage of a Lion throwing error and also scored in the inning.
The Lions rallied back in the bottom of the seventh. Already with two outs against them, the Lions picked up two runs on two hits and a walk. After Kean quickly retired two batters, junior pitcher Steve Czajka drew a walk, and junior right fielder Jon Mizglewski singled through the left side. Both scored off of Schoonhoven’s double down the left field line.
With the Cougars leading 4-2 in the top of the ninth, the Lions had runners on first and second, and the go-ahead run at the plate, with only one out. The Lions were unable to capitalize on the situation, and left both runners on base, as Kean reliever Jason Roman, retired the final two the Lion batters.
In the earlier portion of the double header, Senior pitcher Steve Bucchignano lead the Cougar charge in the first game, and picked up the 6-3 complete game win, allowing just four hits and one earned run while fanning five at the plate. Fellow senior Bobby Baykowski picked up the win in the second half of play by lasting into the eigth inning and striking out five, before senior reliever Jason Roman retired the Lions, in Kean’s 4-2 victory.
Kean came out swinging in the first game, posting a 2-0 lead by the fourth inning, before the Lions tied the game in the sixth, and lost it in the eighth.
The Lions scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning, when junior second basemen Chris Schoonhoven drove home senior right fielder Greg Martinez on a sacrifice fly to right, trimming the deficit to one run.
Cougar designated hitter Kevin Wright reestablished the two run lead by blasting a solo home run over the left field fence in the bottom half of the inning.
The Lions caught up in the sixth, and tied the game at four. Martinez drove home junior centerfielder Jason Gumnitz, and junior third baseman Steve Czajka picked up an RBI single, when designated hitter Brian Hickey crossed the plate, and scored the tying run.
Kean broke the tie in the eighth, when they scored three runs off of two College errors. The Cougars were able to hold onto the lead through the final four Lion batters.
The Lions overall record in the young season is now 11-5-1 and they dropped to 1-3 in the NJAC.
Profs 5, Lions 4
The Lions also fell to Rowan earlier in the week by a score of 5-4. The Lions managed to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but failed to score the deciding run.
Senior shortstop Nick Stine went 2-5 on the game and picked up three RBIs off of a double and a home run. Schoonhoven hit 2-4 and scored a run in the loss.
The Lions play at Rutgers University-Camden on April 3 at 3 p.m.