Siena Baseball Pulls a Stunner

Larry Balkwill

Feb. 16, 2013

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Siena pulled one of the major upsets during college baseball's opening weekend today knocking off perennial power Central Florida on the road in Orlando. Sophomore Matt Gage pitched five strong innings to pick up the win, and senior Larry Balkwill had two hits and three RBI.

"The guys played well in all phases of the game, especially on the mound" Siena coach Tony Rossi said. "We got timely hitting and took advantage of their mistakes."

It's just the third time the Saints have beaten the Knights in 41 all-time meetings.

Siena got off to a fast start striking for three runs without the benefit of a hit in their first at bat. Balkwill and John Rooney each drew bases-loaded walks and junior transfer Andres Ortiz grounded into a fielder's choice to knock in the other.

UCF got back in the game with two runs in the third, the first coming on Chris Taladay's RBI double, and the second on Jeramy Matos' sacrifice fly.

Those were the only two runs Gage gave up. The southpaw worked five innings, allowing six hits while striking out three.

Siena took command of the game with a three-run fourth. Balkwill delivered the big blow with a two-out, two run single that chased home Mike Fish and John Rooney. Fish reached on an RBI single earlier in the inning, and the Saints took advantage of a key error and a passed ball in the frame.

The Saints' bullpen closed the door from there. Sophomore Ed Lewicki worked around five walks in two scoreless innings and junior Neil Fryer closed the door in the eighth and ninth, allowing just one run and striking out three.

Javier Garcia joined Balkwill with two hits for Siena. Taladay followed up his four-hit performance Friday night with a 3-for-3 effort Saturday.

The two teams will play the rubber game of their three-game weekend set Sunday at 1 p.m.