GLASSBORO >> The No. 11 Rowan University baseball team closed out the regular season May 1 with a doubleheader sweep of Montclair State, 7-4 and 14-1, an secured the top seed in the 2021 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament. The Profs will host a quarterfinal series beginning on Friday, May 6.
Rowan (19-3; 17-1) honored its senior players on "Senior Day" prior to the game - Victor Cruz, Zach Listro, Michael Manganella, Ryan McIsaac, Jean Sapini, Donald Zellman and co-captains Alex Kokos, Jared Marks, Drew Ryback and Nick Schooley.
Ryan McIsaac, Ryan Mostrangeli and Chris Curcio were Rowan's big hitters in the 14-1 second-game win, which marked the seventh time this season that the Profs scored double digit runs. McIsaac went 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI while Mostrangeli was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, including a home run. Curcio was 2-for-5 in the second game, driving in three runs.
As they have done in most games this year, the Profs struck first with a five-run first inning. After consecutive singles by Victor Cruz and Alex Kokos, Murphy singled to bring in the first run. Kokos scored on a wild pitch and Trip McCaffrey singled to score Murphy, followed by Michael Manganella reaching on an error and Jared Marks singled in the fifth run.
Montclair State fought back with four runs in the sixth, closing to within 5-4 on two hits and two Rowan errors.
The Profs picked up two more runs in the seventh inning as Marks singled and advanced, eventually scoring on a squeeze bunt by Cruz. McIsaac, who had also singled, scored on a wild pitch to up Rowan's lead to 7-4.
Rowan's relievers - Christian Bascunan, Jason O'Neill and Zach Listro - shut down Montclair State the rest of the way as starter Eli Atiya (5-1) earned the victory in five innings or work and Listro picked up his fifth save of the season.
Kokos and Marks both went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Profs.
Righthander Donald Zellman gave up just one run and four hits in seven innings of work to improve his record to 4-0 on the year.
Kokos got things going in the first inning with a sacrifice fly to score McIsaac, who had singled. The Profs added three in the second when Curcio hit a bases-loaded double, scoring Mostrangeli, Jared Marks and Eric DiDomenico to give Rowan a 4-0 lead.
Four consecutive singles equaled two runs and a 6-0 lead in the third inning, as base hits by Marks and Mostrangeli brought home McCaffrey and DiDomenico, respectively.
Rowan tacked on another in the fourth as Kokos reached base on an error, advanced to third on a single by Murphy and scored on an RBI single by Cruz. McIsaac hit his second solo home run
in two days to increase the Profs' lead to 8-0. Rowan added two more runs in the sixth to go up 10-0 as Mostrangeli singled in DiDomenico and McIsaac doubled to score backup catcher Hunter Wroniuk.
Montclair State (19-8; 11-7) broke Zellman's shutout bid with one run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Reece Malek.
Jason Bobiak hit an RBI triple in the seventh to bring in Cruz. The Profs then got back-to-back solo home runs from Wroniuk and Mostrangeli to up the lead to 14-1. It was Wroniuk's first hit of the season and his first career homer, while it was the third of the season for Mostrangeli.
Jean Sapini pitched two innings in relief and allowed just two hits for the Profs.
As the top seed in the upcoming NJAC Championship Tournament, the Profs will host the winner of the first-round game between No. 8 and No. 9 in the quarterfinals on Friday, May 7. The teams will play a best-of-three game series with games at noon and 4 p.m. on Friday and a single game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, if necessary.