Marist pounded out 17 hits to take the series opener from Siena Baseball 9-2 in Poughkeepsie. The Saints must now sweep Friday’s regular season-ending doubleheader – and also receive some help – in order to qualify for the MAAC Tournament for a fifth consecutive season.
A myriad of possibilities remain entering the final day of the regular season, including a chance at a potential six-way tie for fifth place in the MAAC Standings. Four teams had already clinched MAAC Tournament berths entering play Thursday, with six teams still fighting for the final two spots through today’s contests. Niagara and Rider now currently occupy the final two spots with 12 MAAC wins apiece, while Quinnipiac and Manhattan each possess 11 league victories. Meanwhile Siena (19-27-2, 10-12) and Monmouth – the only two of the group to be playing twice Friday – each have 10 conference triumphs. The Broncs have completed their league schedule, while the Purple Eagles and Bobcats are each set to play once Friday, and the Jaspers once on Saturday.
The Saints could have increased their odds of securing a MAAC Tournament berth with a victory in the series opener but Marist (28-20, 15-7), which is in a three-way battle for the regular season title and one of two coveted First Round byes itself, controlled the action throughout.
Three Red Foxes relievers combined to no-hit Siena through the first six innings, while the Marist bats produced runs in four consecutive innings during the middle of the ballgame to pull away.
The Saints scratched across the first run without the benefit of a hit on a walk, a pair of wild pitches, and an RBI groundout by junior second baseman Jordan Bishop to plate freshman leftfielder Chris Davignon in the third. But the Red Foxes got the run back in the home half of the inning, and Matt Iantosca delivered the go-ahead, two-run home run – his first of the season – in the fourth inning to put Marist on top for good.
Randy Taveras recorded four hits, and Frankie Gregoire and Matt Pagano added three apiece for the Red Foxes which have won nine of 11. John Parisi tossed five strong innings in relief to earn the win in a bullpen game for Marist which trotted out five different relievers.
Senior centerfielder Dan Swain hit his 20th career home run and reached based three times, while freshman designated hitter Nico Ramos recorded two of Siena’s four hits and broke up the combined no-hitter to lead off the seventh.
The Saints will now look to bounce back as they prepare to play their two biggest games of the season Friday. The regular season-ending doubleheader is set to get underway at noon.