Saints Sweep Fairfield; Improve to 9-5 in MAAC
April 20, 2002
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- Tony Cipolla's clutch two-out single drove home the eventual winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning of the nightcap as Siena (15-21/9-5 MAAC) completed a doubleheader sweep of MAAC foe Fairfield (13-21/6-8 MAAC) at Siena Field Saturday afternoon. The Saints won the opener 9-2 and battled back to take the second game 6-2. Siena, now 9-5 in the MAAC, has won 12 of its last 15 games.
Junior Justin Knoff (Burlington, N.J./Holy Cross) pitched brilliantly for the third straight game in the opener, working the distance and allowing just six hits and two runs. Knoff retired 22 of the final 25 batters he faced after allowing single runs in the first two innings. He walked just one Fairfield batter and fanned five in his nine innings of work.
Ryan Bittner's two-out double plated the game's first run for Fairfield in their initial at bat. Bittner was the only Stag who solved Knoff, concluding the opener with three hits in four at bats. Siena answered Fairfield's run with one of their own in the bottom of the first, and scored three in the second after the Stags had momentarily regained the lead.
Senior Josh Kean (Schenectady, N.Y./South Colonie) led Siena's offensive barrage collecting four of the team's 16 hits. Every Siena batter had a hit and local product Blake Hanan had three safties for the victors. Kevin Roberts and Matt Mueller had two hits a piece to round out Siena players with multi-hit games in the opener.
A Roberts' double knotted the game in the second, and Kean gave the Saints the lead for good with his first of two triples--a two-out shot to right-centerfield. The Saints scored twice in the fourth and three times in the sixth to blow the game open, the final run coming on an RBI double off the bat of senior catcher Jim Buckley.
In the well-played nightcap, Fairfield again struck for a run in their first at bat to put the pressure on. Matt Ciardelli's two-out single through the rightside of the infield gave the Stags the early edge. The Saints wasted little time in responding, as slugger Ryan Finn launched his 45th career home run (11th of season) well over the left field fence to knot the score.
In the third inning, Kean gave the Saints a one-run lead with a solo blast of his own--a line drive over the left-centerfield wall. Kean's team-leading batting average improved to .413 with his 5-for-9 day.
In the fifth inning, Fairfield rallied to tie the game when relief pitcher Mark Sanborn was called for a balk with runners on first and third. Sanborn worked out of the rest of the inning with no more damage. The Stags threatened again in the sixth loading the bases off Sanborn and sophomore Josh Courage before Courage got sophomore Nick Hudyma to ground to third to end the threat.
Cipolla's aforementioned hit broke the ice following a leadoff double by Finn in what would be Siena's final at bat of the day. The two-out hit was the first of four in the inning, as the Saints' bats eliminated any chance of a Fairfield comeback. Senior Dave Pahucki worked a brisk seventh to secure the 6-2 win.
The two teams conclude their three-game weekend set with a single game at noon tomorrow.