If Siena advances to the MAAC Tournament later this month it may turn out today is the reason why. Senior Zach Hartman (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) pitched the Saints to a convincing 6-2 win in their series finale with Canisius Sunday in Loudonville. In the process, Siena took over third place in the league standings.
Hartman pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just two runs and six hits. He struck out four and walked just one, staying in complete control until the final two batters he faced.
Brian Burton's two-out homer in the eighth made it a 4-2 Siena lead, and Drew Petit followed with his ninth hit of the weekend - a sharp double to left centerfield that chased Hartman from the game.
Ryan Poplawski came in for Hartman and struck out Chris Gruarin to end the threat. Tyler Bell singled home two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth - his third hit of the day - and Poplawski closed the door in the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
Siena started the scoring with a run in the first when Mike Fish singled sharply off the pitcher with runners on second and third and two outs. The lead ballooned to 4-0 with three unearned runs in the fourth. The game turned on Bill Cardona's sacrifice bunt attempt with runners on first and second. Cardona bunted back to the mound, where Canisius starter Garrett Cortright fielded the ball, and wheeled to throw to third where it appeared he had plenty of time to gun down lead runner Kyle Baldani. But he threw wildly into left field, allowing Baldani to score and Adam Guinn to advance to third. Cardona moved to second when the throw in from left was errant.
Bell then singled home a run, and Vincent Citro's fly out gave Siena a 4-0 lead.
The Saints move to 10-8 in the MAAC, two games ahead of Canisius (8-8) in the win column. Fairfield, Iona and Marist join the Saints and Griffs in a dogfight for the final two spots in the league Tournament.
With six MAAC games to play - three at Saint Peter's next weekend and three home against Marist May 19-20 - Siena has the inside track.