April 9, 2005
The Siena baseball team was without its ace Saturday afternoon. Nobody at the park would have guessed it. Junior John Lannan and senior Josh Burnett were brilliant, combining to allow just one unearned run in 16 innings of work as Siena swept Rider 8-0 and 5-1 in MAAC baseball action on a spectacular Saturday afternoon in Loudonville. Junior Ken Grant, who had been the team's top weekend starter, missed his scheduled start with the flu, bumping Lannan and Burnett up a game.
In the opener, the Saints got in the board with three runs in their first at bat. Pete Paris (Scranton, Pa.) homered down the right field line with one out to start the scoring. Junior Scott King (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) followed with a single to left field, and then stole second base. He scored on Gabe Perez's (Kentfield, Calif.) ensuing double to right field, and Perez came around to score when Jake Willis' (East Lyme, Conn.) ground ball eluded Rider third baseman Jon Rehm.
The early scoring proved more than enough for Lannan (Long Beach, N.Y.), who after working out of a minor jam in the first inning, was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
The Saints' bats kept to the task, as the home team scored in five of its eight plate appearances. Willis drove home a run in the third inning with a single to center, and plated the team's fifth run with a double into the left centerfield gap in the fifth. He finished the first game 2-for-4, and by day's end, his team-leading batting average had soared to .365.
Siena went on to add a second run in the fifth inning as Lou Gattozzi (Strongsville, Ohio) chased Willis home with a single to right. Bill Lazio (Seven Hills, Ohio) began the sixth inning with a triple over centerfielder Mike Poalise's head and scored on a wild pitch. The Saints final run came in the eighth after the team loaded the bases with one out and Paris grounded into a double play.
Scott Knazek had two of the Broncs five hits. Jon Moronese suffered the loss for Rider. He worked six innings, allowing 12 hits and seven runs. Lannan went the full nine for the first time this season. He had eight strikeouts and just one walk. Paris, Perez, Willis and Gattozzi each had multi-hit game for the victors.
Not to be outdone, Burnett (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem) took the hill in the backend of the twin-bill and was nearly un-hittable after a brief snafu to start the game. Mike Poalise began the game with a single to centerfield and advanced all the way to third on the play following a pair of Siena throwing errors. Centerfielder Matt Gidaly (Huntington, N.Y.) missed the cutoff with his throw to the infield, and first baseman Rick Seltzer's (Allentown, Pa.) throw sailed back into the outfield as he tried to cut down Poalise at second. Tom Letizia grounded out to first base to plate the game's first run, Rider's only score of the afternoon.
Burnett went on to retire 21 of the 22 batters he faced after Poalise's leadoff single. Knazek's fourth inning single was the only blemish on the scorecard, for the senior from nearby Delmar, NY.
The Siena offense went to work in the second inning, again loading the bases with nobody out. It appeared Broncs starter Mike Dyszel might avoid any damage, as he got Eric Hildenbrand (Devon, Pa.) to pop up and then struck out Gidaly. Freshman Chris Klepps came to the plate with two down and the bases juiced and delivered a single to centerfield that put the Saints ahead 2-1. In the third, the Saints added two more runs as Willis and Gattozzi again struck with back-to-back hits.
Siena's final run came in the fourth inning as King laced a double down the right field line to score Klepps. With Burnett working his magic on the mound, Siena was well on its way to its fourth conference win of the season. Dyszel took the complete game loss, allowing only two earned runs and striking out six in six innings of work
The two teams will complete the three game series at noon tomorrow with a nine-inning game.