BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The visiting Westfield Blue Devils, who came in riding a 13-game winning streak, made it 14 straight as they shut out Gov. Livingston, 13-0, Thursday.
The Highlanders, who are now 0-2 on the season against Westfield, will get one more shot at the Blue Devils when the two teams square off in the UCT Semi-finals on Saturday afternoon at Williams Field in Elizabeth at 1:30 p.m.
The loss dropped GL’s season record to 13-6 and 5-4 in the UCC-Watchung Division, which now puts them two full games behind leaders Westfield and Scotch Plains in the conference standings.
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The potent Westfield offense, who have been scoring runs in bunches this season, did all their damage in just two innings of work. After a scoreless first two innings, Westfield broke through in the top of third with six consecutive hits,all singles which plated five runs.
GL starter Sean Savage, who seems to be this year's hard-luck pitcher, managed to fight his way through the inning after giving up a 5 spot without one ball hit hard against him. In the bottom half of the 3rd inning, GL tried to get something going against Westfield starter Rowan Oberman when Savage and Josh Katz opened the inning with back to back singles. Oberman, who had pitched only sparingly this season, then got a break when Drew Compton lined into a double play killing the GL scoring threat.
The 4th inning is when Westfield effectively ended the game, scoring eight runs on a combination of base hits, walks and a couple of balls misplayed by the GL defense. When the inning ended, the Blue Devils had scored 13 runs in the game without the benefit of an extra -base hit.
The GL offense had no answer against Oberman, who kept them off balance in his five innings of work, scattering six hits, as the game ended on the 10-run mercy rule. Leadoff man Josh Katz (2-3) had a couple of hits for the Highlanders.
The top four seeds will meet in the semi-finals on Saturday. The third seed Highlanders will play Westfield in the first game followed by number 4 seed Cranford against number 1 seed Scotch Plains-Fanwood.
It was apparent that both GL’s Chris Roof and Westfield’s Bob Brewster placed a priority on the upcoming UCT game.They both have their top pitchers rested and ready to go on Saturday.
Look for either Cole Schneider (3-0) or lefty Nick Cocchia (4-0) to take the mound for the Highlanders. For the Blue Devils Brewster has Zack Kelly (3-1), Alex Pansini (2-1) or Matt Busardo (3-1) all rested and available.
Gov. Livingston will be looking to get back in the UCT final for the third year in a row and then finally getting that first UCT Championship. For Westfield, who defeated GL in the 2014 final, they will be seeking their 15th UCT Championship, the most by any school in tournament hstory.