April 7, 2012
Iona turned Kyle Baldani's bases loaded two-hop shot to second with one out in the bottom of the ninth into a game-ending double play, holding off a furious ninth inning rally by Siena in a dramatic 4-3 series-clinching Gaels' win.
A few feet to the left or right and Baldani and the Saints would have walked off winners. Instead, Iona claimed the evenly-matched, well-played series with wins in the final two games after Siena took the opener 3-0.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Saints, especially late. Siena left the bases loaded in the seventh and ninth innings, and couldn't take advantage of a leadoff walk in the eighth.
As a result, it looked like Iona was in firm command after tacking on an insurance run in the top of the ninth on Chris Burke's one-out double to left. It turned out that run would be the difference in the game.
Brian Fay reached on a fielding error to start Siena's rally in the ninth. Ted Trymbiski then hit a grounder to short that appeared to be a double-play ball, but Iona catcher James Beck was called for catcher's interference and Siena was in business with the first two on.
Ken Kirshner's opposite field double over left fielder Colin Lyall's head brought Siena within 4-2, and put runners on second and third with no outs. Ryan Metzler followed with a grounder to second chasing home the third run, and bringing the equalizer 90 feet away. Tyler Bell walked to put men on the corners, and then Iona went to the pen for lefty reliever John Nagorski to face left-handed leadoff man Vincent Citro. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Citro finished off a great at bat by working a walk to load the bases for Baldani.
Iona's win spoiled another good effort by Siena's pitching staff. Justin Brantley started and worked into the seventh, allowing just five hits and three runs. Freshmen relievers Matt Gage and Ed Lewicki didn't allow a hit in nearly two innings of stellar relief.
Matt Marley got the win for Iona, tossing 6.1 innings and giving up just one run.
Burke was the only player with two hits for either team, and the Gaels' top hitter hit the ball hard in four of his five plate appearances.
Siena will look to get back on track in a non-league game with Army here in Loudonville Tuesday at 4 p.m.