Siena Sweeps Its Way To MAAC Tournament
May 16, 2002
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - With its season on the line, the Siena baseball team (28-26/17-8 MAAC) rallied in both games of a MAAC doubleheader Thursday afternoon to defeat Le Moyne College (28-16/18-7) 5-3 and 6-3 and clinch a spot in next week's MAAC baseball championships at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, N.Y. Freshman Luis Khoury (Syosset, N.Y./St. Anthony's) had four hits on the afternoon, including crucial run-scoring hits in each game.
Le Moyne carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning of the first game before the Saints broke through for five unanswered runs. Senior Dave Pahucki (New Hampton, N.Y./Goshen) went the distance for the Green and Gold allowing only one earned run while scattering 10 hits. Pahucki improved to 6-3 on the season in notching his school-record 23rd career victory.
In the four-run seventh, Khoury started the scoring with a sharp single through the left side plating Ryan Finn. Matt Mueller followed with a bloop hit to right field that registered the go-ahead run and he and Khoury advanced a base on an errant throw by the Dolphins first baseman. Sophomore Blake Hanan (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) collected two of his four RBI on the day with a subsequent single to right field. The Saints added an insurance run in the eighth as Tony Cipolla (Sinking Springs, Pa./Wilson) got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Le Moyne struck for two unearned runs in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of leadoff hitter Eddie Harper. Harper fouled out to left field to end the game. Anthony Aquilino had two hits in a losing effort for the Dolphins.
Le Moyne raced to an early 2-0 lead in the nightcap as well, scoring twice in their second at bat. Scott Edwardsen scored on a failed pickoff attempt by catcher Jim Buckley to break the ice, and centerfielder Kyle Brown drove home the second run with a two-out single to center.
Siena starter Justin Knoff (Burlington, N.J./Holy Cross), who was making his return to the MAAC rotation after missing two starts with a finger injury, settled down and held the visitors scoreless in their next four at bats. He improved to 5-5 on the season.
The Saints wasted little time in responding to Le Moyne's early outburst, evening the score with a two-spot in the bottom of the second. Khoury's RBI double scored Cipolla for the victors first run. Khoury and Cipolla each had three hits in the nightcap. Hanan's RBI double tied the score.
In the fourth, Cipolla and Khoury went to work again, beginning the inning with back-to-back safties to give Siena the lead for good. Kevin Roberts infield single later in the inning plated the eventual game-winner.
The Saints again got much needed insurance in their final at bat, as senior captains Josh Kean and Finn collected RBI base hits. Josh Courage came on to thwart a late Dolphins' rally and pick up his fifth save of the season in the decisive seventh. Siena pounded out 12 hits in the second game; Brett Woodcock and Brian Frisbee enjoyed multi-hit games for Le Moyne.
The Saints and Dolphins conclude their three-game series at noon tomorrow. With a victory, Siena will finish in a tie for second place with Le Moyne and earn the two seed in the Tournament which begins next Thursday. Regardless, the two teams will play in the first game (#2 seed vs. #3 seed), which begins at 3 p.m. A senior ceremony will precede tomorrow's single game at 11:45 a.m.