Siena Baseball saw its 2017 campaign come to a close with a season-ending doubleheader split against MAAC rival Marist in Poughkeepsie. The Red Foxes eliminated the Saints from MAAC Tournament contention with a 4-3 win in the opener, while Siena was able to enact a bit of revenge in denying Marist the regular season crown with a 6-5 triumph in the nightcap.
The Saints (20-28-2, 11-13) entered the final day of the regular season needing to sweep the doubleheader -- and also receive some help -- in order to qualify for the MAAC Tournament for a fifth consecutive season. But Siena, which has advanced to the past four MAAC Championship Series, had its postseason hopes dashed as a result of its defeat in the opener.
Game One: Marist 4, Siena 3 (7)
A three-run third inning proved to be the difference in propelling Marist (29-21, 16-8) to victory in the seven-inning affair in the middle game of the series. The Red Foxes strung together four singles, and were the beneficiaries of a pair of errors in the frame.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Kirkpatrick delivered the decisive blow of the inning with the go-ahead, two run single. Marist added an insurance run in the fourth to extend their lead to 4-1, and put the pressure on the Saints.
But with their backs against the wall, Siena responded with a two-run fifth. Junior first baseman Joe Drpich and sophomore third baseman Brian Kelly each produced back-to-back run-scoring hits to rally the Saints within 4-3.
In the final inning, junior captain Phil Madonna led off with a single and was advanced into scoring position with one out, but Siena was unable to bring home the tying run as the Saints were officially eliminated from qualifying into the MAAC Tournament field for the first time since 2012.
Game Two: Siena 6, Marist 5
Senior centerfielder Dan Swain capped a brilliant career with the go-ahead, three-run triple in his final collegiate at-bat in the ninth inning as Siena ended its season on a high note. The Saints scored four times in the final inning, and then withstood a two-run Red Foxes rally in the bottom of the ninth, to secure the program's fifth consecutive 20-win season.
Marist harbored a 3-2 advantage heading into the final inning. But Siena quickly loaded the bases and, after Madonna lined out to short for the first out, Swain split the outfielders in the right centerfield gap to bring home all three baserunners and give the Saints a 5-3 lead. Sophomore second baseman Jordan Bishop then plated Swain with what would prove to be a vital insurance run on a sacrifice fly.
With the MAAC Regular Season Championship hanging in the balance, the Red Foxes made a hard final push in their attempt to rally and secure the No. 1 seed. Kirkpatrick blasted a two-run home run to pull Marist within a run, and the Red Foxes then pieced together two more singles and an error to load the bases with two outs. But freshman closer Danny Hobbs induced Matt Iantosca into a harmless fly out to center to send Siena's senior class out winners.
All three seniors had a hand in the victory in their final collegiate game as Swain and Patrick Ortland each recorded a pair of hits, and Chris Amorosi tossed five solid innings. Swain finishes his career ranked in the top-10 in program history in almost every offensive category, as he departs ranking tied for second all-time in triples (11), fourth in at-bats (781), fifth in both total bases (357) and extra-base hits (73), tied for sixth in times hit by pitch (30), seventh in hits (233), tied for seventh in doubles (42), 10th in both runs scored (142) and walks (89), and tied for 10th in home runs (20).
Kirkpatrick and Patrick Lightner each accounted for three hits as part of a 13-hit effort for Marist which despite the loss secured the second and final First Round bye in next week's MAAC Tournament in which they will enter as the No. 2 seed.
The future is bright for a young and upcoming Siena squad which was comprised of 22 freshman and sophomores this season, of whom many played key roles. The youthful Saints recorded 16 of their 20 wins on the road this season, tying for the program's most since winning 18 road games in 2005. Siena is set to return eight members of their starting lineup and all but one pitcher in 2018.