UNION, N.J. – A pair of leadoff walks that led to runs and 10 runners left on base spelled doom for Shenandoah University in a 5-3 loss to Kean in the opening game of the Union (New Jersey) NCAA Baseball Regional Friday afternoon.
Kean (30-14) scored single runs in the first and fifth before putting up a three-spot in the eighth to dispatch the Hornets (31-13).
SU was able to cut the deficit in half thanks to a two-run, two-out double from Keegan Woolford in the ninth, but Cougars starter Tyler Hopman shut the door by inducing a groundout to first to close out the contest.
The loss, Shenandoah's first-ever in an NCAA regional opening round game, sends the Hornets into a noon elimination game Saturday versus Ithaca (N.Y.). Westfield (Mass.) State downed the Bombers, 4-2, in the first game of the day.
After Kean scored one run on two hits and a leadoff walk in the first, Shenandoah tied it with a run on two hits in the fifth. Designated hitter Jamie Naill led off with an infield single before moving to third on Matt Moon's single to center. Naill was moving on the pitch as the Hornets perfectly executed a hit-and-run.
The tie game was short-lived, however, as Kean combined a walk, a sacrifice and a single to center to retake the lead in the bottom half of the frame.
Shenandoah had multiple chances to again tie the game, but left runners on in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
Hopman (5-6) allowed nine hits and walked six, but was the beneficiary of an inning-ending double play in the first (with the bases loaded) and a pair of diving catches in the seventh.
In that seventh inning, Naill led off with a walk and after being sacrificed to second, was left stranded as the Cougars robbed Henry Delavergne and Tristan Baker with diving catches in right center and left field, respectively. The inning-ending catch on Baker's shot came over-the-shoulder and on the warning track.
Woolford's double in the ninth plated Frankie Ritter and Baker, who had reached with two outs on a walk and a single to center.
Klinchock (7-5) gave up the five runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out one.
Baker and Robert Marcelle both had two hits.
Shenandoah takes on Ithaca in a noon elimination game. SU will be the home team in the contest.
- A single to center extended Baker's hitting streak to 22 games
- Baker, with 264 career hits, is now 10 away from the all-time record at Shenandoah
- Klinchock's scoreless streak was halted at 20 2/3 innings
- Matt Moon threw out a pair of runners trying to steal and Klinchock also picked off one.
- The two teams were a combined 0-for-5 on stolen base attempts
- The opening game loss is the first for Shenandoah in 10 NCAA opening round appearances
- Woolford's two RBI give him 51 for the season. He now has 117 RBI in 88 career games.