UNION, N.J. -- Kean (NJ) University starting pitcher Frank LoGuidice pitched eight strong innings and rapped out three hits, including a double as the Cougars topped Westfield State, 9-1 in the NCAA Division III Baseball Regional at Jim Hynes Field at Kean University on Saturday afternoon.
Kean (31-14) advances to tomorrow's championship round with the win, for a 12 noon start. Westfield (28-15) will now have to play an elimination game tonight, beginning here at 7:00 p.m.
Westfield will face Shenandoah (Va.) University, who defeated Ithaca in today's earlier elimination game, 9-2.
Tonight's winner will advance to tomorrow's championship round to play Kean. Kean would need to win one game to claim the regional title, while the elimination winner would have to sweep a pair of games from the Cougars.
Kean jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as leadoff man John Carello singled and Derek Walker was hit by a pitch. Zachary Marzano's two out single to right center deleved both runners to the plate.
Kean tacked on three more runs in the third inning, aided by a pair of Owls errors.
In the fourth, Cougars' pitcher LoGuidice drove in a run with an RBI double.
Kean added three more runs in the fifth after Marzano led off with a ground rule double that one-hopped the wall in left center field, chasing Bogli.
Bogli (8-3) took the loss for the Owls, charged with nine runs (six earned). He allowed 12 hits and struck out one. Bogli entered the game with a chance to tie the Westfield State school record for wins in a season (9, set by WSU Hall of Famer Bill Weber in 1975).
Freshman southpaw Ryan Murphy provided some needed length for the Owls out of the bullpen, conserving arms for tonight's elimination game and the possibility of games tomorrow as well. He tossed 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out two and walking two.
LoGuidice (W, 8-2) was effective limiting the Owls to four hits through six innings. He walked six and struck out two while throwing 131 pitches.
Crowley had a pair of hits for Westfield and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Westfield put two runners aboard in the first sixth and ninth inning but were unable to push a run across in any of those frames.,
Mazano finished 3-5 with three runs batted in and a run scored for Kean.
The host Cougars have been a fixture in NCAA Tournament play in recent years and are making their 15th appearance in the tournament. Kean won the NCAA Division III title in 2007, and advanced to the D3 College World Series six times from 2007-13.
Kean is a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and with 13,000 undergraduates is the third-largest University in the state.