SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The No. 6 seeded St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) baseball team scored seven runs in the final three innings to advance in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series, upsetting No. 3 seed Penn State University Greater Allegheny, 7-2, on Monday evening at Robin Roberts Stadium.
The win for the Bears (29-9) is the first postseason win in program history and St. Joseph's awaits the winner of No. 2 Lindenwood University-Belleville/No. 7 Selma University in a winner's bracket game tomorrow at 5 p.m. (eastern).
The Lions (30-11) fall into the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament – a similar situation they faced last year when they won six straight games before finishing as 2013 USCAA National Runner Up.
USCAA Second Team All-American Chris Cutrone (Levittown, N.Y./Island Trees) went the distance striking out seven to improve to 7-1 on the mound. Seniors Mike Cundari (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) and Joe Mendez (Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell) both homered as the Bears knocked nine hits in the win.
Greater Allegheny took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Gianmarco Concepcion RBI single scoring Troy Ambros who led off with a double. The Bears defense made great plays behind Cutrone to hold the Lions to just one run through four.
Cutrone forced an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the first and with the Lions threatening for more in the second with runners at the corners, Cundari helped cut down a runner at home on a delayed double steal attempt. In the third, Mitch Brigando (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) made a diving stop on a grounder up the middle and popped up to throw out the runner at first, Cundari scooping the ball out of the dirt, saving another run with the inning-ending play
The Bears finally broke through in the fifth aided by a pair of Lions errors, taking a 2-1 lead. Domenick Camerada (Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell) started off the two-hit inning with a single then courtesy run by Anthony Inserillo (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep). Brigando successfully sacrificed him over to second and Francis Rapp (Baldwin, N.Y./Oceanside) knocked an infield single that put runners at the corners. Michael Camerada (Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell) reached on an error that scored Inserillo and Rapp later scored as the Lions threw the ball away in a failed pickoff attempt.
Mendez launched his 11th home run of the season in the sixth that put the Bears up, 3-1, before another Lion miscue on a dropped foul ball extended the inning allowing the three more runs to score with Rapp and Michael Camerada knocking back-to-back RBI singles that pushed the Bears lead to 6-1.
After the Lions got a run back in the home half of the inning, Cundari lifted his second home run of the season giving Cutrone a five-run lead and his caught his seventh batter of the game looking to finish the complete game win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Mendez (1-for-4, R, RBI) Cundari (1-for-3, R, RBI) Rapp (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI) Michael Camerada (1-for-3, 2 RBI)
- Despite the margin of victory, the Bears were outhit on the day 10-9.
- The St. Joseph's defense was an important part of the victory as they made several key outs that ended Penn State rallies and played error-free ball.
- The Nittany Lions stranded at least one runner in each of the first four innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.
THE BEAR FACTS
- St. Joseph's earns their first postseason win in the second postseason appearance in school history.
- The Bears even the all-time series versus Penn State at 1-1, avenging an opening round loss to them in last year's Small College World Series.
- Mendez now has 20 home runs for his career, while Cundari has nine career jacks.
- Mendez becomes first Bear ever to reach 50-RBI barrier in a single season.
- Cutrone is one win shy of the school record set by Paul Piccirillo in 2012.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS
St. Joseph's will face the winner of the matchup between No. 2 seed Lindenwood Belleville and No. 7 seed Selma University at 5 p.m. Eastern. The 5 p.m. is the scheduled start time, but may change as the game between Lindenwood and Selma was postponed for the day in the second inning due to lightning in the area and the two teams will have to finish the game in the morning.