baseball drops no. 25 Montclair State, 8-5, to Open NCAA Play

IMMACULATA, Pa. † After waiting nearly an entire day from the originally scheduled start time, the Ithaca College baseball team finally got its NCAA Regional Tournament underway on Saturday at Immaculata University, as the Bombers took down No. 25 Montclair State, 8-5. Ithaca, which is now 31-12, will play Keystone College tomorrow morning at 10 am for a trip to the regional final.

The Bombers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Mike Nauta and Louis Fabbo started things off with back-to-back walks. Buzz Shirley then gave IC a 1-0 lead with a base hit to left and Fabbo scored on the next at bat during a double play.

IC’s lead grew to 4-0 in the third inning on an RBI double to left from Shirley, which plated Nauta from second. Nauta reached on a base hit and moved up to second on a stolen base as he beat out a pick off attempt. After an infield hit from Nicholas cutaia, Connor Pedersen drove in Shirley with a single to centerfield.

Montclair State pulled to within a run, 4-3, in the bottom of the third with three runs on four hits. After a lead off walk, the Red Hawks strung together three straight hits to score their first run and load the bases. A double play brought in the second run of the inning and another infield base hit plated the final run.

The Bombers plated their fifth run of the contest on an RBI single to left-center from Pedersen, which pushed home Fabbo from third base in the top of the fifth inning, making the score 5-3. Fabbo reached on a one-out single and then Shirley beat out an infield hit to first base. A fly out moved Fabbo up to third base to set up Pedersen’s RBI base hit.

Ithaca tagged Montclair ace Patrick Cuccurullo for five runs and 10 hits in 6.0 innings pitched. Cuccurullo entered the contest with a 2.40 ERA, 7-3 record and 92 strikeouts in 71.1 innings.

The Red Hawks knotted the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out, two-run home run by Peter Cosentino.

In the top of the ninth inning, the Bombers tacked on three runs on four hits for the eventual final score of 8-5. Riley Brawdy led off with a walk and scored the game-winning run three batters later on a base hit to right-center by Shirley. Cutaia then increased IC’s lead to 7-5 with a single to right, which allowed Fabbo to score. Now with two outs, Matt Fabian sent a base hit up the middle and Shirley scampered home from second base.

Kyle Lambert wrapped up his first complete game of the season with a perfect ninth inning to improve to 5-3 on the year. Lambert allowed five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.

Shirley was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three RBI, while Fabbo, Cutaia, Pedersen and Ethan Rothstein all collected two hits.

Fabbo also scored three runs, while Nauta scored twice, walked and stole a base.

A win for the Bombers tomorrow morning means IC will play the winner of Keystone vs. Immaculata/Montclair State on Monday at 11 am A loss means IC plays against Immaculata or Montclair immediately following tomorrow’s contest.

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