Brookhaven, N.Y. - For the first time since 2006, the Dowling Baseball team has been crowned East Coast Conference champions after defeating the University of Bridgeport, 1-0, at Golden Lions Field this Saturday. JJ Bessell pitched eight scoreless innings for Dowling in the second game of the day, giving up just two hits for the victory, his fifth of the year.
Earlier in the day, the Purple Knights took a 2-1 victory over the Golden Lions to force a second game in the double-elimination tournament. Tyler Badamo went seven innings, giving up one run off five hits. Justin Brooks picked up the loss, allowing two hits for one run.
Undeterred, the Golden Lions marched on as freshman JJ Bessell took the mound for Dowling in Game two. Bessell lasted eight innings, giving up just two hits on the day while striking out five for the victory. Nicholas Albero earned the save, pitching a flawless ninth.
Dowling's one run of the game came in the top of the fifth with Ralph Tufano leading off the inning with a base hit through the right side. Tayler Bargiacchi then advanced Tufano to put him in scoring position. With one out, Erik Cabrera drove the ball to center to put runners at the corners, with Cabrera stealing second to eliminate the double-play ball. Brian Ferguson followed that up with an RBI single, giving the Golden Lions the winning run. Ferguson would earn Tournament MVP honors for his efforts.
The Golden Lions now earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, their first appearance since 2009 when they fought their way into the College World Series. Their opponent and site of competitiong is yet to be determined.
Provided by the Dowling Sports Information Department.