When and Where: May 20, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (Penmen Field)
Score: #4 Long Island University-LIU Post 9, #7 Dominican (N.Y.) College 5
Records: LIU Post 32-19, Dominican (N.Y.) 22-29
Zach Fritz homered twice, including a tie-breaking, three-run blast in the seventh, and drove in four runs to lead fourth-seeded Long Island University-LIU Post to a 9-5 victory over seventh-seeded Dominican (N.Y.) College in an NCAA East Regional Championship elimination game Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University's Penmen Field.
LIU Post jumped on the board first in the top of the second when Fritz led off by belting a pay-off pitch to straightaway center field for a solo home run that made it 1-0. The Pioneers would get one more, as consecutive walks and a sacrifice bunt put a pair in scoring position to set up Sal Geraci's lined RBI single through the left side.
Dominican chopped its deficit in half in the bottom of the second on an RBI groundout, but gave the run right back in the third on a two-out throwing error that brought in an unearned run to make it 3-1.
Justin Decker's run-scoring double in the fourth pulled the Chargers within one at 3-2, but Dominican squandered a chance to tie the game later in the inning when it had runners at the corners with one out, but struck out and then was caught stealing second to end the threat.
Dominican did not miss its chance in the fifth as it capitalized on a pair of errors to push across a two unearned runs on Anthony Bartolomei's two-out single up the middle that gave the Chargers a 4-3 edge.
LIU Post answered back in the sixth on Thomas Asbaty's solo shot to right that evened the score, 4-4.
The Pioneers snapped the deadlock in the top of the seventh with Fritz' second long-ball of the day – a three-run blast to left-center – that put LIU Post in front, 7-4. The Pioneers had the bases packed later in the inning, but Dominican was able to escape further damage.
Dominican grabbed a run back in the home half on Bartolomei's two-out RBI single to center to make it a two-run game, but LIU Post seized more cushion with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the ninth to go up, 9-5.
LIU Post starter James Varela (5-5) was charged with five runs – three earned – on seven hits, while striking out 10 and walking four, in seven-and-a-third innings. Dan Jagiello notched his 12th save of the season as he allowed one hit and one walk in one-and-two-thirds scoreless innings, punching out four.
Nathanial Popiel (3-5) relinquished seven runs – six earned – on 13 hits in six-plus innings of work for Dominican, striking out five and walking a pair.
Fritz (four RBI, three runs) Anthony Vaglica (run) and Joe Spitaleri were all 3-for-5. Asbaty finished 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and pair of runs scored. Kenny Daley was 2-for-6 and drove in a run, with Geraci going 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
Bartolomei paced the Dominican offense by going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Joshua Colon went 2-for-3 with a walk and Decker was 3-for-5 with an RBI.
LIU Post will now take on the winner of Saturday's second game between the second-seeded University of New Haven and fifth-seeded Felician University on Sunday at 12 p.m., while Dominican becomes the second team eliminated from the Championship.
To stay completely up-to-date with the NCAA East Regional, bookmark the Championship Central page at http://snhupenmen.com/sports/bsb/2016-17/NCAAEastRegional.
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