Extra! Extra! Saints Work Split With Marist; Maintain Slim MAAC Lead
May 14, 2005
Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Eric Hildenbrand's eighth inning single drove home the game-winning run capping off a wild day of baseball between the MAAC's top two teams in Loudonville on what turned out to be a spectacular Saturday afternoon. Marist won the opener 8-4 in 10 innings as third baseman Pat Feeney launched a grand slam in the 10th, and the Saints earned a 5-4 victory in game two.
With the split, Siena (24-20/16-4 MAAC) maintains its narrow lead over archrival Marist (25-18/18-5 MAAC), meaning tomorrow's rubber game will determine who will enter the final series of conference play in first place in the standings.
Marist held a 4-0 lead through six innings, but the Saints rallied to tie the game with three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. The Red Foxes broke through off starter Ken Grant in their first at bat, scoring two unearned runs following a throwing error by third baseman Jake Willis. Travis Musolf, who walked to start the game, and Keith Brachold, who singled, each scored on the two-out miscue.
The visitors added to their lead in the fourth, taking advantage of another leadoff walk. Second baseman Joe Sargent came around to score on Musolf's RBI groundout following Feeny's first hit of the game. Grant worked five innings for the Saints, and struggled with his control. He sacrificed just three hits and one earned run, but walked six batters.
Reliever Mike Orlick replaced Grant, and was effective. Brachold's RBI double in the sixth accounted for the only run the senior reliever allowed until the deciding frame.
Marist starter Chris Tracz breezed through the first six innings, before running into trouble in the seventh. Hildenbrand singled with one out to start the Saints' rally. After John Wilkes popped out, Michael Ambury advanced on a wild pitch after swinging at strike three in the dirt. The play prolonged the inning, and the Saints took advantage. Junior Matt Gidaly singled sharply to center to score Siena's first run of the day, and Ambury came all the way around from first as Musolf failed to corral the ball in center. Chris Klepps then followed with an RBI single to left, making the score 4-3.
The Saints completed the comeback in the eighth, as Ambury singled home Hilkdenbrand with the tying run. Siena had its chances to win the game in regulation, but couldn't come up with the timely hit. Wilkes was left stranded at third in the eighth, and Willis lined into an inning-ending double play in the ninth, following a running, game-saving grab by right fielder Kevin Grauer.
In the top of the 10th, Marist loaded the bases with no outs on just one hit. Ciccarone was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and he moved up a base on Kevin Grauer's bunt single. Orlick then threw wide of third on Sargent's sacrifice bunt attempt, setting the stage for Feeney' heroics. Craig Chaput relieved Orlick, and Feeney's blasted his 1-1 offering over the right field wall, marking his first homerun of the season.
Andy Kiriakedes joined Brachold, Grauer and Feeney with multi-hit games for Marist. Gattozzi, Hildenbrand and Gidaly each had two hits for Siena. Tracz improved to 8-3 with the win, working nine innings and scattering 11 hits. Orlick fell to 1-1 on the season.
Marist again struck first, scoring single runs in the second and fourth innings off Siena starter John Lannan to take a 2-0 lead. Ciccarone singled through the right side of the Saints' infield with two outs in the second to chase home Justin Lepore with the game's first run. In the fourth, his RBI triple over right fielder Bill Lazio's head made the score 2-0.
Siena stormed back to take its first lead of the day with three runs in the home half of the fourth. Willis scored on a wild pitch after singles by Pete Paris and Rick Seltzer, and Bill Lazio bounced the ball through the right side to score the second run of the inning. Ambury's line drive single to right plated Gabe Perez with the third run of the inning, but Lazio was cut down at the plate on a perfect throw by Brachold in right to avoid further damage.
Lannan did not allow another run in the fifth or sixth inning, and the Saints provided some much needed insurance in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, and runners at first and second Perez lined out to short, but Kiriakedes fired wide of second in his attempt to double up pinch runner John Wilkes. Wilkes came all the way around to score, putting the Saints in front 4-2.
Kiriakedes more than made up for the error in the top of the seventh, lining a game tying single to centerfield with two outs and runners at second and third, and the game on the line.
Siena left two runners on base in the bottom half of the inning, but Lannan worked out of a jam in the eighth to allow for a second opportunity. Lannan improved to 8-2 on the season and 7-0 in the MAAC with the complete game win.
In the eighth, Seltzer worked a one out walk, and Perez followed with a hard single through the left side of the infield off reliever Bobby Hastry. Hildenbrand then lined a 2-2 pitch to left field, scoring Seltzer with the game-winning run.
Gattozzi and Paris each had two hits for Siena. Ciccarone was the only Red Fox to muster a multi hit performance.
The two teams complete their series Sunday at noon at Siena Field. The four members of the Saints senior class will be honored in a ceremony preceding the game.