TRENTON – Johns Hopkins University sophomore right-hander Alex Eliopoulos struck out 12 and won his second game of the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional, as the Blue Jays defeated Kean, 8-3, to advance to the World Series for the second time in the last three years.
Eliopoulos, who earned tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, went eight innings and scattered seven hits and one walk, while allowing three earned runs.
The Cougars (39-12), who has won 39 games in each of the last three seasons, were denied their fourth straight trip to the World Series as they committed five errors in the game.
After scoring in the first inning of all the team’s wins in the regional tournament, the Cougars were set down 1-2-3 to open the first inning and the Blue Jays quickly touched Kean starter Ryan Zamorsky for four runs in the home half of the inning to take the early lead.
Right fielder Matthew Bernardi reached on an error to lead off the inning, stole second base and scored the first run on the single by first baseman Chris Huisman. Two batters later, centerfielder Dave Kahn singled to move Huisman into scoring position and left fielder Jesse Sikorski and catcher John Swarr followed with RBI singles to extend the lead to 3-0.
With runners on the corners, Zamorsky picked up the second out of the inning with a strikeout and the Cougars nearly had got the double play on the steal, however the throw got away and Sikorski scored from third for the four-run lead.
Kean cut the lead in half in the top of the third inning, as sophomore first baseman Lee Cavico led off with an inning and sophomore catcher Eddie Jennings followed with a two-run homerun that cleared the left-field billboards to pull the Cougars to within a pair of runs at 4-2.
However, Johns Hopkins plated one run in the fourth when shortstop James Teta tripled down the right-field line and was allowed to come home on obstruction with the unearned run.
Two innings later, the Blue Jays added three more runs on RBI hits by third baseman Lee Bolyard, Teta and Huisman to extend the lead to 8-2.
The Cougars loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles in the top of the ninth inning, but would only get one run across, as reliever Ryan Scherich came in and got the double-play and strike-out to send the Blue Jays to the World Series for the first time since 2008 when they finished as national runners-up.
In the win, Teta was 3-of-4 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Huisman drove in a team-high two runs and added three hits and one run scored.
Zamorsky, who was injured at the beginning of the season and started on three days’ rest after opening the tournament with a 3-0 win over Manhattanville College, allowed just four earned runs and struck out six in five and a third innings of work.
The Hopkins win avenged a 2007 loss to the Cougars, when Kean defeated the Blue Jays, 6-4, to win the Mid-Atlantic Region en-route to capturing the 2007 NCAA Division III National Championship.
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