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Kieran Dowd's homer in the ninth moves NYIT one win from D-II World Series

Closer Ariel Tavares held on for the save against Southern New Hampshire after the Penmen scored four runs in the ninth.

Jake Lebel scores the tying run in the

Jake Lebel scores the tying run in the fourth inning of NYIT's win over Southern New Hampshire in Game 1 of the best-of-three Super Regional on Friday in Hooksett, N.H. Photo Credit: Adam Rubin/Adam Rubin

HOOKSETT, N.H. — The NYIT baseball team is one win away from a berth in the Division II World Series.

The Bears opened a five-run ninth inning lead and held on for a riveting 9-8 win over Southern New Hampshire in the NCAA D-II Super Regional at Penmen Field in New Hampshire. Senior closer Ariel Taveras came on in relief with the bases loaded and no outs and a 9-5 lead for the save.

"It was definitely not the best situation,” Taveras said. “I just came in and threw strikes and we got through it."

He allowed two consecutive sacrifice flies and an infield error allowed another Penmen run to score to make it 9-8. Taveras induced a popup to catcher Matt Malone for the final out. The Bears (36-14) are 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament. Southern New Hampshire is 40-14.

“We’ve been resilient all year long,” NYIT coach Frank Catalanotto said. “We’ve lost leads and come right back. We’re always in it because our lineup can definitely hit.”

The Bears rapped 13 hits, led by freshman Kieran Dowd, who was 3-for-5, with three RBIs and a homer. Dowd’s solo blast leading off the ninth made it 9-4 and proved to be the winner.

NYIT won for the 36h time, a program record. Junior starter DJ Masuck improved to 12-1 after he allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. After Masuck worked his way out of a bases loaded one-out jam with two strikeouts he was buoyed by three inning-ending double plays in the second, third and fourth innings.

Southern New Hampshire opened the scoring when Jake Coro homered in the second for a 1-0 lead. The Bears erased that deficit in the fourth.

Senior Jake Lebel grounded a one-out single to left and moved to second base on a groundout. Dowd was apparently hit by a pitch and awarded first base, but the call was contested by SNU coach Scott Loiseau and overturned.

Dowd went back to hit and with a 2-and-2 count laced the next pitch into leftfield for an RBI single, scoring Lebel to tie the score at 1. On the throw to the plate, Dowd alertly took second. Matt DeAngelis followed with an RBI single to left for the 2-1 lead.

Masuck, who was in and out of trouble all game, couldn’t escape the sixth. He walked the first two hitters before getting a pop out. With one out, Coro crushed his second homer of the game, this one a three-run shot, to give SNU a 4-3 lead.

NYIT regained the lead when Dowd singled home EJ Cumbo and the ball got past the rightfielder and rolled to the fence. Dowd raced all the way around the bases for the 5-4 lead.

“I saw it go through his legs and coach [Jim Goelz] waved me around,” Dowd said. “But the conventional home run was better. Coach Ray [Gianelli] told me to crush that first-pitch fastball.”

NYIT added three runs with two outs in the eighth when Lebel drove a 1-and-2 inside fastball to the wall in leftfield to make it 8-4.

“We have a lot of fight in us,” Dowd said.

One more win puts them in the D-II World Series.

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