NJIT men’s soccer athlete Shaun Keegan from Voorhees, NJ has been selected as Male Athlete of the Week for his performance during the Highlanders 1-0 win against Marist.
The freshman scored the game winning goal in the 76th minute on a quick counter attack, running onto a long through ball out of the back from teammate Victor Kausch. Keegan burst free at the 35-yard line and surged toward the Marist goalkeeper and took a shot 10 yards out that was deflected back out by the goalkeeper right to him and he tapped the rebound into the goal.
It was Keegan’s first collegiate goal.
Women’s Cross Country
NJIT women’s cross country athlete Maryam Haque from Edison, NJ has been selected as Female Athlete of the Week for her performance at the SJU-Hofstra Fall XC Festival.
The senior led the Highlanders finishing 17th against Division I competitors and 33rd overall.
NJIT’s Power Surge Jolts NYIT Twice; Highlanders Sweep Sunday Doubleheader
NEWARK, NJ—NJIT swept a Senior Day baseball doubleheader from visiting New York Institute of Technology Sunday–5-3 in the opening game thanks to DJ Roche’s tracer walk-off two-run homer to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning and then 5-2 in the nightcap, led by two impressive blasts from Tom Bouck, as one homer hit half-way up the Riverfront Stadium scoreboard in right field and the other was a towering opposite-field shot over the left field fence.
Both Roche and Bouck were among a group of nine NJIT seniors who played their final games on Sunday and classmate Matt Coughlin (2-4) notched his first 2014 complete game as the winning pitcher with a four-hit victory in the nightcap.
With the sweep, NJIT is 20-21, marking the program’s fourth-consecutive season with at least 20 wins. The Highlanders swept two doubleheaders in two days, beating Maryland Eastern Shore away on Saturday and then NYIT at home on Sunday.
NJIT, which has a four-game weekend series at Niagara scheduled to begin on Friday at 5 pm, has won four in a row and five of the last six. The Highlanders’ four-game spurt is their longest of the season, topping the three straight they won at NYIT April 5 and 6 on Long Island.
NYIT completed 2014 with a final record of 4-46. The Bears lost their final 10 games, last hitting the win column on April 27, when they nipped Maine, 3-2, in Maine.
The Highlanders scored four of their five runs in Sunday’s opener from the fifth inning on, capped by Roche’s second home run of the season that won the game in the seventh.
Roche was also NJIT’s starting pitcher in the opener and he went into the seventh inning, but he was lifted after walking the first two batters, bringing his game total for bases-on-balls to nine. The two base runners later scored, tying the game at 3-3 and tagging the senior with a no-decision in his last home game as a pitcher.
The win went to junior left-hander Tyler Kapp (3-2), who could not prevent the two inherited runners from scoring, but posted a stat line of one inning, one hit (a bunt), no runs, a walk and a strikeout.
The losing pitcher was junior reliever James Moussa (0-2), who entered to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. The right-hander got an out and yielded a single before serving up Roche’s walk-off. The NYIT starting pitcher, sophomore RHP JP Lipovac, worked six solid innings, allowing six hits, four walks and three runs, while striking out two Highlanders.
Each team scored once in the first inning and the 1-1 deadlock lasted until the bottom of fifth, when NJIT scored a run and then tacked on another in the sixth inning. NYIT scored twice in the top of the seventh forging a 3-3 tie that Roche broke in the bottom half with his home run.
In the nightcap, each team scored twice in the first inning, before Bouck broke the tie with his two-run third-inning blast off the face of the scoreboard and then he added insurance with his high fly over the left field wall with one out in the sixth inning.
Coughlin, who allowed both of his runs and two hits in the opening frame, settled down to blank the visitors on just two hits over the last six innings. Like Roche in the opening game, Coughlin had control issues, walking five, but allowed a single in the fourth inning and an infield single in the fifth and that was it after the opening frame. He also matched his season-high with six strikeouts.
The NYIT starter, freshman right-hander Elias Martinez (1-4) also logged a complete game, surrendering seven hits and five runs (four earned) in six innings. He struck out four without a walk.
Game One recap
NYIT, which would score three of its five runs for the doubleheader in the opening innings, capitalized on a walk and two hits in the opening frame of the day. SS Anthony Martelli took a one-out walk and, after another out, went ahead to third base on a single by C Nick Sebastian (2-for-4) and then scored on 3B Louis Mele’s RBI single to right field.
NJIT got the run back with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first, sparked by 3B Mike Rampone‘s bullet double off the left field wall. CF Ed Charlton followed Rampone with a sharp single, pulling the Highlanders even when Rampone crossed the plate
The home team finally broke through for a tie-breaking run in the fifth inning, as Roche drew a bases-loaded two-out walk. In the sixth, NJIT got a leadoff walk to C Scott Brosman, followed by a well-struck double to left field for SS Bryan Haberstroh, setting up a sacrifice fly RBI for freshman 2B Rex MacMillan.
The visiting Bears, who had stranded nine runners through the first six innings against Roche, opened the seventh frame with two walks, which knocked Roche off the mound. The first batter Kapp, the reliver, saw, was NYIT’s Sebastian, who squared to bunt, apparently looking to sacrifice the two runners into scoring position. Instead, Sebastian put down a perfect bunt that traveled about 50 feet down the third base line. Kapp, who got off the mound quickly, attempted to scoop the ball to Rampone for a force at third base, but the sprawling 6-foot-7 Kapp never got good control and everyone was safe, loading the bases.
Then came a wild pitch in the dirt that took a hard carom off of Brosman’s shin guards, with two runners coming home on the play, as the ball skipped away to the wall behind home plate. Kapp then retired three batters with an intentional walk mixed in, avoiding further damage.
Moussa, the Bears reliever, got an out against his first batter, but Charlton singled and Roche followed with his game-winning home run.
Roche, who drove in three runs in the opening game and another in the second game, now has 20 RBI in just 71 at-bats. A former all-Great West Conference utility player (pitcher/position player), he does not play in the field as much as he once did. But Roche has a .324 batting average, with six doubles, two triples and two home runs among his 23 hits.
In addition to Roche, NJIT got two hits each from Rampone (2-for-3, 2 doubles), Charlton (2-for-4, RBI), and Haberstroh (2-for-3, 2 doubles)
Sebastian (2-for-4) was the only Bear with more than one hit.
Game Two recap
NYIT struck twice in the first inning of Game Two and things might have been worse for the Highlanders. CF Joe Daru began the game with a double, but was thrown out easily by NJIT’s Brosman attempting to steal third base on ball four to Martelli. Despite the gift out, things stayed rocky for Coughlin, who hit 1B Joshua Canabal in the helmet with a pitch that slipped out out of Coughlin’s hand. Another walk loaded the bases and after an out, 2B Matt DiBiase singled up the middle for two runs.
The Highlanders answered in the bottom half, as LF Teddy Bickert, another senior playing his last home game, led off with a single. After an out, Rampone’s sharp fielder’s choice grounder was played into an error by Mele, whose throw attempting a force out was wide at second base. Charlton singled to drive home the first Highlander run and Roche later singled to knock in the second run.
Martinez, the NYIT right-hander, set down the Highlanders 1-2-3 in the second inning, but Rampone led off the bottom of the third inning with a double before the next two NJIT batters were out. Bouck jumped on a pitch for a jaw-dropping two-run blast off the scoreboard, putting the Highlanders ahead to stay at 4-2.
Over the last nine years playing all NJIT home games in Riverfront Stadium, including Division I competition the last eight years, no one, friend or foe, has previously homered off the big scoreboard that sits beyond the right field fence.
For good measure, Bouck added an opposite field towering shot to left in the sixth, adding to his impressive power exhibition in his final college home game.
The burly left-handed hitter who began his college career at Saint Peter’s in 2010 before transferring and spending three seasons as a Highlander, has five home runs this season, all of which have come since the second game of a doubleheader at Fairleigh Dickinson on April 27. He has 13 home runs in his three-season NJIT career and has hit safely in 15 of 19 games since April 9.
With the two Bouck home runs, the Highlanders also got the team-leading 15th double from Rampone among the team’s seven hits. Bouck (2-for-3) picked up three runs batted in with his two homers.
NYIT’s four hits, three singles plus Daru’s game-opening double, came from three different men.