May 6, 2012
What a difference a win makes. The Siena baseball team avoided what would have been a catastrophic, potentially season-ending sweep at Rider with a gritty 3-2 win Sunday, staying very much alive in the chase for the MAAC Tournament.
Siena (18-31, 8-10) sits at 8-10 in the league, one game back of Fairfield and Saint Peter's, a game and a half behind fourth place Rider (18-28, 11-10), and two behind third place Marist, with six MAAC games to play. The Saints host the Stags Friday and Saturday in Loudonville, and travel to face first place Manhattan the final week of the season.
How tight is the race to Troy? Consider this: If the Saints had held on to win Saturday's second game, they would be tied for fourth in the league, just a half game behind third place Marist with the tiebreaker over the Red Foxes and Broncs. On the other hand, had they not come back to win Sunday, they would be tied for eighth, just a game better than last place Niagara.
The road isn't easy, but all the contenders play each other down the stretch, meaning if Siena takes care of business things will get very interesting. Saint Peter's closes with a series at Manhattan, and a home series with Iona. Fairfield plays at Siena, and hosts Marist. The Red Foxes host Canisius then travel to Fairfield, and Rider plays its final series of the year at Iona later this week.
Siena rode its talented bullpen to victory Sunday. Freshman Ed Lewicki relieved classmate Matt Gage in the third inning, and tossed five scoreless frames before giving way to Neil Fryer who closed the door for his seventh save. Lewicki improved to 4-1, and allowed just four base runners in his five innings of work. Fryer didn't allow a hit in the final inning and two thirds.
Vincent Citro delivered the big hit of the day - a game-tying, two-run single in the fifth. Kyle Baldani's bases-loaded sac fly to center chased home Mike Fish with what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth.
John Rooney finished off a strong weekend at the plate with two hits, and neither team made an error.
First pitch of Friday's critical series with Fairfield is set for noon.