April 13, 2003
The Siena baseball team (6-22/5-5 MAAC) rode the right arm of senior Jeremy Cabot to a 5-2 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader with MAAC rival Rider (9-13/5-6 MAAC), rebounding from a catastrophic ninth inning in a 6-1 loss in the opener. Cabot got all the support he would need in a five-run third inning in the second game after the Saints surrendered six unearned runs and committed five errors in game one.
Junior Ryan Bitter suffered the hard-luck complete game loss in the opener, even though he did not allow an earned run. Bitter carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning after Blake Hanan and Tony Cipolla recorded consecutive doubles in the Saints' first at bat off eventual winner James Hoey. Hanan, who scored Siena's lone run, was the only Saint to record a multi-hit game.
Rider scored the equalizer in the top of the sixth after Carl Loadenthal led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a fielding error by Matt Gidaly. Loadenthal came around to score on a two-out infield single by catcher Shawn Whalen. Whalen was fooled on a 2-2 Bitter offering, but managed to poke the ball just past the outstretched grasp of Siena's ace.
The score remained knotted at 1-1 until the top of the ninth, when Rider struck for five unearned runs following a two-out throwing error by Hanan. Tom Latizia scored the eventual winning run on the play and Loadenthal followed with a game-clinching grand slam.
In the nightcap, the Saints again did all their scoring in one inning, this time rocking Rider's Mikie Rakoczy from the game in a five-run third inning. The senior outfield tandem of Brent Kunkle and Chris DelVecchio began the rally by reaching base on a walk and a sharp single to centerfield. After Hanan was hit by a pitch, junior Shawn Hapton singled off the left field wall to break the ice. Cipolla followed with the hit of the game-a two-RBI single into left center field. Hampton scored on a wild pitch chasing Rakoczy from the game and Matt Mueller's sacrifice fly one batter later would account for Siena's final total.
The five runs were more than enough for Cabot who struck out a season-high nine batter and allowed just one walk in the complete game victory. Rider registered solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but could mount no serious threat down the stretch. Scott Rich scored the Broncs' first run on a wild pitch following his fifth hit of the day and Dante Paolillo drove home Charles Van Schick an inning later.
Hampton and Cipolla accounted for four of Siena's six hits in the crucial game two win.
Siena and Rider will play the rubber game of the three-game series at Siena Field tomorrow (Monday) afternoon at 2 p.m. The two teams currently sit a half game apart in the middle of the MAAC standings with the top four teams earning a bid to the conference Championships next month. The two games were the first played at Siena Field this season following 26 straight games on the opposing teams' fields to start the spring.