March 28, 2005
Junior Gabe Perez and freshman Jacob Willis each hit solo homeruns in the top of the 11th to lead the Saints to a dramatic 7-5 victory over conference rival Niagara in the rubber game of a three-game series Monday in Niagara Falls. Senior Josh Burnett (Delmar, NY/Bethlehem) pitched 10 of the 11 innings to earn his first victory of the season. Sophomore James Pacifico picked up the save.
Both teams scored in their first at bat, with the Saints (4-12/2-1 MAAC) taking advantage of an error to start the game. Freshman Chris Klepps reached on a throwing error by Niagara (3-15/1-2) starter Kyle Nicoletta and came around to score on Perez's single to center field.
After Niagara scored twice off Burnett in the bottom of the first, the Saints struck with three runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Matt Gidaly's two-run homerun sparked the rally. Eric Hildenbrand also had an RBI single in the frame.
With Siena ahead, 5-4, the Purple Eagles tied the game in the seventh off a single by Brian Clifford, scoring junior Matt Schaefer from third. The score would remain tied heading into extra innings.
After Siena took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th inning on Hildenbrand's second RBI hit of the game, Niagara junior Mike Medici (Latham, N.Y.) hit a solo home run to right field, tying the game and sending it to the 11th.
Medici led the Purple Eagles with three hits in the loss, extending his RBI streak to five games.
Klepps and sophomore Lou Gattozzi joined Perez, Willis, Hildenbrand and Gidaly for the Saints. Siena had 15 hits, their most since a 17-hit effort to start the season against Bethune-Cookman. The Saints had seven homeruns in the three-game series.
Burnett struck out six and scattered 10 hits in a career-high 10 innings of work. Griffin struck out 10 in seven innings of work, allowing seven hits and walking two.
The Saints home opener is scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Hofstra.