April 15, 2004
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.- George Athanasopolous' one-out grounder to second capped off a four-run ninth inning and the Pride rode the momentum to an 8-7 extra-inning victory over Siena in Hempstead Thursday afternoon. Steve Oliveri's double to right field scored J.P. Wechter with the winning run. Tony Cipolla, Shawn Hampton and Blake Hanan each finished with two hits for the Saints.
Siena built a 5-0 lead with a pair of runs in both the second and third innings and a single run in the fifth. Hampton reached on the first of three Hofstra errors to lead off the second inning and Scott King followed with a walk. Hanan's double to left field scored the game's first run and he came around to score on John Wilkes sacrifice fly.
Kevin Roberts walked to leadoff the third and scored on an errant pickoff attempt. Hampton drove home Bill Lazio with the game's fourth run on a sharp single to center.
King doubled home Hampton in the fifth to give the Saints what appeared to be a convincing 5-0 lead. In the meantime, starter James Pacifico worked five shutout innings for the Saints, scattering five hits and striking out four.
The Pride broke through four three runs in the sixth off reliever Chris Howard. Mike Walsh, Athanasopolous and Mackie Root collected RBI singles as the Pride inched closer.
Siena pushed the lead back to four with single runs in eight and ninth as Roberts and Hanan drove in insurance runs, but it wasn't enough to offset Hofstra's late rally.
Closer Josh Courage
entered in the ninth, and to date had been the most reliable option out of the pen. He had five saves and a team-best 2.61 ERA entering the ninth, but could not find his rhythm.
Courage struck out Root to begin the inning, but then allowed five straight batters to reach base. Wechter collected a key two-RBI single through the right side of the Siena infield to keep the rally alive and set the stage for Athanasopolous' tying ground out.
The Saints return to MAAC action this weekend at home against Fairfield. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at noon and a single game Sunday at noon at Siena Field.