May 15, 2004
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Preseason MAAC Pitcher of the Year Ryan Bitter came through with his best outing of the season when his team needed it most, working all nine innings in a 6-0 shutout at archrival Marist to begin a crucial three-game MAAC set. Albany native Scott Chambers answered with a seven-inning, one-hit shutout in the backend of the doubleheader to even the series as the Red Foxes bounced back for a 3-0 triumph.
Bitter was sensational from the start, and didn't allow a Marist player to reach third base until the ninth inning. He struck out five, scattered seven hits and did not walk a batter in his most dominating performance of the season, improving to 6-5 on the year. As it turned out, the Siena offense gave him all the support he needed with a three-run second inning.
Shawn Hampton and Scott King began the frame with consecutive singles and after a failed sacrifice bunt, reigning Rookie of the Week Lou Gattozzi delivered the day's first run with a sharp single to left field. The ball eluded the Marist left fielder allowing Blake Hanan and Gattozzi to advance into scoring position in a crucial sequence.
Steve Ballas followed with a nice at bat in which he ultimately grounded out to short, chasing home Hanan with the second run of the inning and moving Gattozzi to third. Matt Gidaly's only hit of the afternoon was a big one, as the sophomore landed a double just inside the left field foul line to make the score 3-0.
The Saints went back to work in their next at bat, touching Marist starter George Heath (6-6) for two more runs. Siena put its first two runners on base for the second of three consecutive innings on singles by Bill Lazio and Tony Cipolla to start the third. Shawn Hampton followed with an infield single on a sacrifice bunt that found its way between Heath and third baseman Tyler Brock, loading the bases with no outs. After Scott King fouled out, Hanan delivered Siena's fourth run with a ground ball to third base. He reached on a fielding error by the first baseman keeping the bases jammed. The Saints were on the verge of breaking things wide open when Heath hit Gattozzi with a pitch to force in another run, but Steve Ballas grounded into an inning-ending double play to avoid further damage.
Kevin Roberts' sacrifice fly plated the first game's final run in the sixth inning accounting for the final 6-0 margin. Bitter worked out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the ninth with a key strikeout to preserve the shutout. Jimmy Board had two hits in a losing effort for the Red Foxes; Lazio, Hampton and Gattozzi paced Siena's 11-hit attack with a pair of hits each.
The nightcap was a different story, as this time Marist's mound-man controlled the action from the get-go. Chambers retired the first 10 batters he faced, and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Gattozzi's sharp single to right field was the only safety Siena would manage, as the visitors failed to mount any serious rally in the backend. The Colonie High graduate struck out five and walked just one batter in seven inning of sensational work.
Marist got all the runs they would need in their very first at bat, scoring twice off Siena starter Ken Grant. Travis Musolf began the rally by reaching on a throwing error and Keith Brachold followed with a single to left field. Bryan Towler was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Kevin Buck's grounder scored the first run of the game, and Justin Lepore came through with a run-scoring single to give Marist an early 2-0 lead. Towler was caught in a run down after initially turning for home on the play to prevent further damage.
Brachold homered off the scoreboard in right field in the third inning to make the score 3-0. Grant settled down the rest of the way and matched zeros with Chambers, finishing with just two earned runs and six hits allowed in falling to 3-4 on the year. Andy Kiriakedes joined Brachold with a multi-hit game for the Red Foxes.
The two teams complete the three-game set with a single game at noon Sunday. John Lannan (7-2) will likely get the start for Siena, Lucas Robinson or Jonathan Smith will be on the hill for Marist.