Cougars Rally to Spoil Season Opener

Cougars Rally to Spoil Season Opener

Box Score

Union, N.J. - Franklin & Marshall scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take an 8-7 lead, but #3 Kean answered in the bottom of the frame to escape with a 9-8 win. 

J.T. Triantos' one-out, solo home run got the Diplomats (0-1) within one, 7-6, before Bill Murray reached on an error. Nick Rolnick made the Cougars (1-1) pay on the next at bat, blasting a two-run shot to left to give F&M an 8-7 lead.

Chris Miller came on to close in the bottom of the ninth and found himself in early trouble. Dylan Laguna started off the last chance Cougars with a single into rightfield. A walk, followed by a fielder's choice put the tying run on third and the winning run in scoring position. Laguna scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 8-8, while Lee Cavico made his way to third. Dave Zavistoski singled into leftfield to deliver the winning run and Kean's first victory of the season.

The game was one for the offenses. The Diplomats pounded out a dozen hits, while the Cougars worked out 11 of their own. Kean, which is ranked No. 3 by D3Baseball and No. 6 by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), tallied four runs in the first inning to take an early lead. Ken Gregory hit a two-run shot to give the hosts an early jump. Laguna and Cavico both crossed before F&M worked out of the inning.

The Diplomats answered right back with a Russell Tischler double to score Jason Anderson. Drew Atkins then hit a single to plate Tischler, making it a 4-2 game midway through the second.  The teams settled in, trading occasional one-run innings until the nail-biting ninth.

Keven Herget, who worked the final two-thirds of the ninth, was bailed out for his first win of the season. He allowed two runs and struck out one. The Cougars' Nick Cesare worked the first six-and-two-thirds, allowing five runs, two earned, on ten hits. He struck out six.

Jay Anderson worked four innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits. He fanned three Kean batters. Josh Gray gave the Diplomats three and one-thirds of quality pitching. He allowed one earned run on two hits, and was on the book for the win heading into the final half inning.

Five Diplomats recorded two hits apiece. Triantos' pair included his round trip and an RBI double that scored Matt Will's leadoff hit in the third. Tischler's pair also included a double. Anderson's lone hit of the day was an RBI double that plated Rolnick in the seventh.

F&M returns to action on Saturday against Rowan. Game time is set for 11 a.m.