May 14, 2011
Final Stats Game 1
Final Stats Game 2
As hot as the Siena baseball team has been, it's possible their early season struggles could come back to haunt them. Again. The Saints split a doubleheader at Saint Peter's Saturday, losing the first game 5-4 and bouncing back for a 7-3 win in 10 innings in the nightcap, to take their fifth straight conference series, but they'll likely need to win a sixth straight over archrival Marist to earn one of the four MAAC Tournament bids.
Siena hosts Marist in a doubleheader Thursday and a single game Friday, with the series winner likely heading to the postseason, and the hard-luck loser likely heading home for the summer. The two teams enter the final league series with identical 12-9 conference records (the Red Foxes swept Iona in three games at home this weekend), and tied for third place in the standings.
How is it that the hottest team in the league (Siena) and the team with the best overall record (Marist - 34-15) find themselves in this predicament? In Siena's case, losses in five of the team's first six league games (against runaway regular-season champion Manhattan and at Iona) have left the future uncertain. Marist, meanwhile was swept in back-to-back April weekends by Manhattan and second place Rider. Even though the Saints and Red Foxes have won their season series with every other team in the conference, it's likely either would be passed by the winner of tomorrow's rubber game between Canisius and Fairfield. The winner of that game would enter the final weekend of play just a game behind Siena and Marist, and the Griffs and Stags take on cellar-dwellers Niagara and Saint Peter's, respectively, meaning if they sweep, the loser of the Siena and Marist series would be eliminated from postseason contention.
The Saints will likely have redemption on their mind, as they entered their final series last year at Manhattan in the same situation. The Saints and Jaspers split their doubleheader, and then Siena let a 12-run lead slip away in the series finale, one of the most painful setbacks in team history.
On Saturday, Siena let another big lead go in the opener. John Ronney's two-run single sparked a four-run second for the Saints, and the lead seemed comfortable with Justin Brantley
on the hill in a seven-inning contest, but the Peacocks used a four-run rally of their own to pull out a 5-4 victory.
Vincent Citro tripled home three runs in the 10th, avenging a two-out throwing error in the bottom of the ninth that allowed Saint Peter's to tie the nightcap, as Siena salvaged a split with a 7-3 extra-inning win. Zach Hartman carried a shutout into the ninth, but the Peacocks rallied late to deprive him of his fourth straight victory.
Citro and Paolini had two hits in each game Saturday, finishing off sensational offensive series.
It's all come down to this: Marist at Siena, Thursday at high noon.