May 5, 2012
The Siena baseball team may have burned its final lifeline Saturday in a doubleheader loss at Rider. The Saints dropped the opener 8-5, and gave up a 1-0 lead late in a 2-1 setback in the second game. As a result, Siena sits at 7-10 in the MAAC with seven league contests remaining.
Only the top four teams qualifying for the Championships at Joe Bruno Stadium May 24-27, meaning Siena will likely need to win out to claim one of those spots.
Six of the Saints' last eight league losses have been by a single run.
Siena led the second game 1-0 after Mike Fish's sixth inning home run, but couldn't hold the lead. Justin Brantley pitched brilliantly entering the bottom of the sixth, but Rider pushed two runs across with two outs.
Eric Strano, who had entered the game as a pinch runner, delivered the biggest hit of the day - a bases loaded single to right centerfield that flipped the game. Ryan Metzler walked to lead off the seventh for the Saints, and made it all the way to third before Tyler Smith finished off his complete-game gem with a called third strike.
Rider broke open a 4-3 game with four runs in the sixth inning of game one, and held on for the 8-5 win. The Saints threatened with two outs in the eighth, pushing a run across, but stranded two men.
Brandon Cotton finished the first game 4-for-5 with three runs scored, making a dramatic return to the Rider lineup after missing last weekend's series at Saint Peter's.
Fish went 2-for-5 with three runs scored, and Larry Balkwill and John Rooney each had two hits and two RBI to pace Siena's offense. Balkwill's two-run homer in the top of the sixth brought the Saints within a run.
The two teams closeout their three-game set with a single game Sunday at noon.