Fisher baseball battles to win over No. 24 Kean

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UNION, N.J. – In a matchup of two of the top teams in Division III, the St. John Fisher College baseball team posted another win against a top 25 opponent as the Cardinals took down No. 24 Kean University, 4-3, on Sunday at Jim Hynes Stadium.  With the win, Fisher, which has already posted three wins this year against nationally-ranked teams, improved to 7-3 on the season while the Cougars slipped to 10-5 overall.

After swapping zeroes through the first three innings of play, Fisher got on the board in the top of the fourth when Ryan Simmons (Victor) doubled in Thomas Pasquale and Jack Kelleher to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

The advantage would hold until the bottom of the eighth as sophomore pitcher RJ Kuruts allowed just three hits through seven innings until the Cougars came up with a two-run double to knot the game up at 2-2.  As the inning continued, Kean would score the go-ahead run after a foul out to the third base side allowed a runner to cross home plate.

Trailing by one run with three outs left in play, Fisher was aided by an infield error as Pasquale reached first.  With the tying run on base, Antony Mantova singled through the left side to put two on before Simmons loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch.  The runners would move up a bag after the Cougars’ pitcher balked, which allowed the tying run to score.  With second and third base occupied and just one away, Michael Beimel drew a walk to re-load the bags before Ryan Brown (Brighton) stepped in and lifted a sacrifice fly to left to push what turned out to be the game-winning run across the plate.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kean had its leadoff hitter reach after being hit by a pitch before the runner stole both second and third base.  With one out and the tying run just 90 feet away, Matthew Raudelunas came up big in relief as the sophomore struck out the side to end the game and earn his first collegiate win.

Kuruts started on the mound and allowed three earned runs on five hits to go along with two strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work.  Raudelunas (1-0) threw the final 1.2 innings and yielded just one walk in that stretch with four Ks.

Fisher will look to keep its momentum rolling at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday when it opens the home portion of its schedule at Dugan Yard against Rochester Institute of Technology.

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