April 6, 2002
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - The Siena College baseball team (7-19/4-4 MAAC) swept a MAAC doubleheader with Rider (11-12/4-4 MAAC) Saturday afternoon at Siena Field. Head Coach Tony Rossi, who entered the series with 498 career victories picked up milestone win number 500 in the process. The landmark win did not come without its share of trepidation as Kevin Roberts (Utica, N.Y./Notre Dame) scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning of the nightcap, after the Saints had momentarily surrendered the lead in the top half of the frame.
Junior Justin Knoff (Burlington, N.J./Holy Cross) picked up the victory in the opener for the Saints, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Knoff surrendered a sharp single up the middle to reserve Jared Carle to break-up the no-no. The Siena offense jumped on Rider starter Bob Young for seven runs in the third inning en route to the blowout win. Senior slugger Ryan Finn (Clinton, N.Y./Clinton) started the scoring with the 40th home run of his college career-a two run blast the ignited the Siena bats.
Local product Blake Hanan (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenedehowa) continued his hot hitting with a two-run home run moments later. Hanan had two hits and three RBI in the opener. Seven Saints enjoyed multi-hit games and every Siena starter had at least one hit in the first game.
In the nightcap, sophomore Josh Copskey pitched five strong innings allowing just one earned run and two hits while striking out six Broncs. He was relieved in the sixth by senior Dave Pahucki who would later pick up the victory after surrendering the tying run with two outs in the seventh. Pahucki struck out the side in the sixth.
Finn again started the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the first-his seventh of the season. After Rider tied the game on an RBI double by Erinn Pesaresi in the third, Siena scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Louis Khoury. Khoury hit a soft fly toward first base that was knocked down by the wind and fell harmlessly in front of two Rider infielders.
The game-winning rally be4gan with a lead-off single by Roberts. The sophomore speedster than stole second, and advanced to third on a perfect bunt by right fielder Josh Kean. Finn was intentionally walked and Brandon Leslie was brought in to face clean-up hitter Jim Buckley. His third pitch was a wild one and Roberts raced for home. Catcher Rich Brooks got the ball to Leslie, but Roberts was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at the plate. The win evened up Siena's MAAC record at 4-4. Rider fell to 4-4 in conference play with the loss.
Tony Rossi is in his 33rd season as head baseball coach at Siena College. His career record is 500-579-4. The Saints have regularly played the most challenging schedule in the region and one of the toughest in the entire Northeast. He has been named MAAC Coach of the Year five times since Siena joined the conference in 1990. Rossi was inducted into both the Siena College and Albany Twilight League Hall of Fame in 1985.
The Saints and Broncs complete their three-game set with a nine-inning game scheduled for 12 p.m. tomorrow at Siena Field.