May. 1, 2005
Freshman Jake Willis went 5-for-5 with two RBI, and the Siena offense exploded for 16 hits in a 7-3 conference win over Iona in New Rochelle late Sunday afternoon. Junior Ken Grant pitched seven innings to earn the win for the Saints, and junior Scott King continued his hot hitting with a sixth inning homerun.
"This was a big win for us, because we defeated their ace," head coach Tony Rossi said. "We swung the bat well, but failed to cash in during some key situations. Every league game is crucial from this point out."
Siena, now 10-3 in the MAAC and 18-17 overall, trails only first place Marist (15-3) in the MAAC standings. The Saints have won seven straight games to push their record over .500 for the first time since opening day.
Both teams scored single runs in the first and second innings, as the two starters searched for a rhythm on the mound. Siena struck in the first when freshman Chris Klepps singled home King who began the game with a single to right field and advanced to second on a throwing error. Klepps was 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI. King and Hildenbrand each had two hits.
Junior Matt Callahan got the Gaels on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to centerfield. Matt Gidaly put the Saints back on top with a single to right field that scored Eric Hildenbrand. Iona scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second to tie the game 2-2.
Willis smacked his first of two doubles in the third, chasing home Gabe Perez, and Rick Seltzer followed with a run scoring opposite field single that gave the Saints the lead for good. Iona scored its final run in the bottom of the third inning when Nick Capowski singled home Callahan. Grant then settled down, and did not allow a run the rest of his outing. Craig Chaput worked the final two innings allowing just one hit.
Siena extended its lead off Iona starter Marty Hand in the fourth. Klepps singled home Gidaly with two outs making the score 5-3. The Saints pounded out two more runs in the sixth as King homered with one out, and Klepps and Willis followed with back-to-back doubles.
Nick Stanziani relieved Hand in the sixth, and did not allow a run while striking out five batters in 3.2 innings of solid relief.
The game marked the third straight MAAC series opener that Siena registered 16 hits.
The two teams will complete the series with a doubleheader Monday at noon.