SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The College of New Jersey designated hitter Alex Christian finished 2-for-4 including a walk-off, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to lead the third-seeded Lions back for a 4-3 victory over fourth-seeded Tufts in the third game of the NCAA Division III Baseball New York Regional, Thursday, hosted by Onondaga Community College.
The Lions (32-11) advance to take on second-seeded Southern Maine on Friday at 6:00 p.m. on the second day of action, while Tufts (30-9-1) will square off with top-seeded Oswego at 2:30 p.m. Southern Maine defeated fifth-seeded Castleton, 5-3, while Oswego came back to defeat sixth-seeded Ithaca, 11-10, in the day's other action.
Tufts center fielder Harry Brown started the game off by reaching on a fielding error by the Lions' second baseman before advancing to second on a ground out by right fielder Oscar Kutch and to third on a wild pitch. Third baseman Tommy O'Hara dropped a double down the left field line to bring Brown in for the first run of the game.
Tufts scored another run in the third inning after Kutch skied a one-out triple to the right-center field warning track before scoring on a ground out by O'Hara.
The Lions got on the board in the bottom of the fourth after centerfielder Thomas Persichetti hit a two-out home run over the left field fence.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Christian dropped a lead-off single into center field and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Tommy McCarthy. Second baseman Ben Varone followed with a single to the right-center field gap to drive in Christian and make it a 2-2 affair.
In the top of the sixth inning, O'Hara drew a one-out walk and then advanced to third on back-to-back wild pitches before scoring on a single up the middle by designated hitter Ryan Day to stake the Jumbos to a 3-2 lead.
Left fielder Jacob Simon led off the bottom of the decisive ninth with a single to right-center field, before right fielder Mike Follet reached on a throwing error by the pitcher after laying down a sacrifice bunt attempt. Christian knocked a walk-off single to center field to bring around the deciding runs.
Relief pitcher Matt Curry (9-0) picked up the victory, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in relief of starter Joe Cirillo, who compiled nine strikeouts while only allowing five hits in eight innings of work.
Tufts starter Speros Varinos pitched seven innings, allowing six hits while striking out eight in the no-decision. Brad Marchetti (2-2) was saddled with the relief loss, allowing three hits and the deciding two runs in the ninth.