May 1, 2011
The cardiac kids are at it again. Siena rallied late for another key MAAC win Saturday, knocking off Fairfield 2-1 by scoring twice in the ninth, and holding on for dear life in the bottom of the frame, to claim the weekend series two games to one.
With runners on second and third and one out in the top of the ninth, leadoff man John Rooney hit a grounder to short that was mishandled by Larry Cornelia, and Bill Cardona scored the tying run. By the time the Stags retrieved the ball, Adam Guinn was heading home with the go-ahead run, and the throw to the plate got away, allowing Rooney to advance all the way to third on the play. Rooney was gunned down at the plate on Vincent Citro's ensuing fielder's choice groundout, keeping it a 2-1 game.
Rooney came through even bigger in the bottom of the ninth, as Fairfield threatened with men on first and second and two outs. Nick Piccirillo came through with a sharp single to right field, but Rooney came up firing and threw a strike to the plate, forcing pinch runner Tyler Woslenger to hold up between third base and home plate. Siena catcher Larry Balkwill made the easy throw to Adam Guinn at third, who tagged Woslenger out, ending the game.
Siena starter Zach Hartman went the distance to pick up the victory, sacrificing only a fourth inning home run by Ryan Plourde. Hartman was brilliant, adding six strikeouts and walking just one. Siena's pitching staff allowed just four runs all weekend.
The surging Saints have won eight of their last 11 overall, including league series victories over Rider, Niagara and Fairfield to get back in the MAAC chase. Siena's 8-7 league mark is good enough for fourth place currently, just percentage points behind third place Canisius (7-6) who the Saints host in another critical series this coming weekend.