Brookhaven, N.Y.-Junior centerfielder Matt Ranaudo (Milford, Conn.) knocked in both runs, and pitchers Nick Vautrin (S. Hadley, Mass.) and Tom Wiacek (Bolton Landing, N.Y.) combined to limited the Dowling College Golden Lions to only one run, as the Purple Knights set a winner-take-all championship game on Saturday afternoon between the same two teams with a tense 2-1 victory. UB heads into the ECC title game with a 31-13 record. Dowling is now 24-24. After falling in the tournament's opening game to Dowling, 14-7, on Thursday afternoon, Bridgeport has battled all the back through the losers bracket up to set up the one-game winner-take-all tilt.
Ranaudo, who went 2-for-4 in the game, put UB up 1-0 with a bases loaded RBI single in the fourth inning. After Dowling tied the game at one with a run in the bottom of the sixth, Matt gave the Purple Knights their margin of victory with an RBI ground out to first base in the top of the eighth that scored freshman John Ascenzia (West Haven, Conn.) with an unearned tally. Ascenzia scored both of the Purple Knights' runs in the game, and he also went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Vautrin, who is now 5-3 on the season, pitched a strong 7.2 innings as the UB starter in which he allowed only one run on eight hits with nine strike outs and two walks. Wiacek got the final four outs of the game to record his third save of the season. Wiacek was helped by a fantastic diving play by first baseman Eric Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) the ended the game with Dowling runners at the corners with two outs.