UNION, N.J. — Westfield State ace John Gegetskas worked seven strong inning and the Owls mustered just enough offense to get past 19-ranked Ithaca College, 4-2 in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Regional at Jim Hynes Field at Kean University on Friday afternoon.
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but we found ways to get it done,” said Westfield State head coach Nathan Bashaw. “It was a good win for us.”
With the win, Westfield will play in the winner’s bracket game here at 3:30 tomorrow against host Kean, a 5-3 winner over Shenandoah (Va.) University, while with the loss, Ithaca drops into the elimination bracket and will play Shenendoah at noon tomorrow.
Tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth singles from Colin Dunn and Aaron Clancy gave the Owls runners at first and second with one out, chasing Ithaca starter Emmett Dunn for relief ace Matt Eeil. Nick Martin chopped a ball to short that looked like a double-play ball, but Martin hustled down the line to beat the throw, and Owls third-base coach Fred Perry aggressively wheeled Dunn around third to score and give the Owls a 3-2 lead.
“We’ve been preaching since January that we would win games on the base paths. We’ve preached hard base-running and it worked out,” said Dunn. “I’m a graduating senior, I don’t wanna join the real world any sooner than I have to. Whether we’re seniors like John and I, or freshman, take it all in and enjoy it, because the next game is never promised.”
Anthony Crowley added a sacrifice fly later in the ninth to extend the lead to 4-2.
Gegetskas (7-3) worked seven innings, allowing five hits, and three walks while striking out eight. Only one of the two runs was earned, and picked up his seventh win of the season.
Trevor Edwards relieved Gegetskas to start the bottom of the eighth, working a 1-2-3 inning capped by a called third strike to Bombers’ senior outfielder Matt Carey.
Scott Strachan entered and worked a one-two-three ninth for his third save of the season, striking the final man out looking on a breaking to end the game.
Martin, Dunn and Michael Cruz each finished 2-4 at the plate. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports