Monroe Mustangs Win 2015 Regional Championship in a Thriller

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The Mustangs won the Regional Championship and advanced to the Eastern District Tournament by winning a thrilling best-of-three series against the ASA College Avengers. The Mustangs won back-to-back nail-biters by the score of 3-2. The last time the Mustangs won the Regionals was in 2009.

In Game 1, Sophomore Alex Vargas went seven innings allowing two runs, five hits, and striking out six. Freshman Osvaldo Duran came in in the eighth inning, throwing two scoreless innings to close out the game.

The Avengers jumped out to and early 2-0 lead in the first inning, but were shut down for rest of the game.

ASA starting pitcher Jean Batista was throwing a no-hitter until the seventh inning, when sophomore third baseman Guillaume Gingras slammed a line drive into right field. Sophomore first baseman Hector Marmol lined a pitch off Batista’s leg for a single, forcing Batista out of the game. The Avengers went to their bullpen with runners on second and third, and catcher Johan Mojica grounded to short to put the Mustangs on the scoreboard. With the score 2-1, the Mustangs got a base hit in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore CF Kidanny Cumba walked with one out, followed by Endy Villalona, who also walked. Monroe left fielder Manuel Bouffard got an infield single to load the bases. Guillaume Gingras walked to force in a run and tie the game at 2. With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Justin Morales grounded out to second base to bring the third run across the plate. Osvaldo Duran took the mound in the ninth inning with the score 3-2. He got the first batter to pop up to record the first out. The next batter hit a rocket in toward shortstop Endy Villalona, who made a spectacular grab for the second out. The Avengers got a runner on with a hit batsman, but Duran got the next batter to ground out to short to end the game

In Game 2, Freshman pitcher Edwin Gonzalez took the mound in game two in what turned out to be a pitchers’ duel. ASA pitcher Miguel Pena held the Mustang lineup scoreless until the eighth inning. Gonzalez gave up two runs in eight innings of work. With ASA up 2-1, the Mustangs came to bat in the bottom of the eighth.  Endy Villalona led off the inning with a single to left-center. Manuel Bouffard singled to left field, and Guillaume Gingras hit into a fielder’s choice, moving Endy to third. With runners on first and third, Justin Morales got his biggest hit of the year, drilling a changeup into deep left-center field, scoring both runners and giving the Mustangs a 2-1 lead. In the top of the ninth, Edwin walked the leadoff batter and was relieved by sophomore Alex Clavet. Clavet struck out the first batter he faced, but the ASA baserunner stole second during the at bat. The next hitter popped up to second base. With two strikes, the next batter lined a single to right field to tie the game at 2. The next hitter grounded to first and the Mustangs ended the inning with the score tied at 2. In the bottom of the ninth, freshman Jose Pena led off with a walk. He was pinch run for by Felipe Lopez. Sophomore Stephen Dinicola moved Lopez to second with a sacrifice bunt. Natanael Toribio struck out pinch hitting for Kidanny Cumba. Felipe advanced to third base on a wild pitch, with Endy Villalona up at bat with two outs. With a 2-2 count and the ASA closer on the mound, Endy lined a 94 mph fastball into right field for the walk-off win and the Regional Championship.