BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston baseball team, still smarting from two back to back late 7th inning losses, took out their frustration on the visiting Roselle Catholic, pounding the Lions 11-1 (5 inning mercy) in the first round of the 63rd Union County Tournament (UCT) on Saturday.
The Highlanders rapped out a season high 13 hits in support of pitcher Cole Schneider, who picked up his third win of the season (3-0) going all five innings yielding one run on on three hits.
Josh Katz led the offense with three hits including a triple and double with all three hits driving in runs.
The win advances GL to the quarterfinals of the UCT against 6 seed Elizabeth with the game being played on Wednesday, April 27 at 4 p.m. at GL.
Roselle Catholic came in as the 14th seed and got on the board first in the second inning. Schneider gave up a leadoff off double to Pat Faughnan who came around to score on a one out single to centerfield. Schneider then struck out the next two hitters to end the inning with GL trailing by a run.
The GL bats came to life in the home half of the inning. Nick Cocchia (2-for-3), who has had an incredible week at the plate (13- for-17), started things off with a long drive for a double. Brian Cranston then jumped on a 1-0 fastball and ripped it down the left field for a double, scoring Cocchia to tie the game. Will Jennings followed with a base hit moving Cranston over to third. Tyler McCulloch then drove a ball to the outfield for a sacrifice fly, scoring Cranston and putting GL up 2-1.
The Highlanders, who have been having trouble getting the big with two outs and runners in scoring position, then got three straight hits to push the score to 5-1. First, Vin Doren (2-for-3) poked a hit through the left side for an RBI single. Josh Katz then rapped an RBI single into center scoring Doren who had stolen second. Jace Tweeten then doubled into deep right field scoring Katz who had stolen second base.
The Highlanders followed their five run second inning scoring two more in the third. Back to back singles by Dan Baroff (2-for-3) and Cocchia and a HBP by Cranston loaded the bases with one out. Will Jennings picked up an RBI on a ground out and then was caught in a run down (designed play), but another run scored before he was tagged out to make 7-1 after three innings.
The Highlanders pushed the score to 9-1 in the 4th when Katz drove a ball over the Roselle Catholic centerfielders head for a triple scoring Doren. Katz came all the way around on a misplayed relay for run number 9.
Schneider had now settled in and allowed only one more hit over the next three innings -- that being a bunt single. At this point, the Highlanders smelled blood and wanted two more runs in the 5th inning to win a shortened game by the 10 run mercy rule, mainly because later in the day they were headed to play in the Autism Awareness Challenge.
They got their way after a Jennings' (2-for-3) base hit and an error put runners on base, Katz hit a long triple scoring two and ending the game.
The win got the Highlanders back on track ending a short two game skid and raising their record to 9-4 on the season. The gloomy rainy morning gave way to a beautiful sunny afternoon as the Highlanders traveled south to take part in a great community event.
The Highlandrs will be back in action when they travel to Drew University on Monday 4/25 to take on Madison. The big Union County Tournament game against Elizabeth at home on Wednesday is next up before closing the week at home Friday against Rahway. A win against Elizabeth on Wednesday will send GL to Kean University on Saturday to play in the Union County semi-finals