FISHKILL, N.Y. - Siena looked every bit the part of a team determined to defend its MAAC Championships Wednesday. The Saints blew by Monmouth 12-0 and then rallied past top seed Rider 5-4 to move within a game of the Championship Series. That game will take place Friday at noon against the winner of tomorrow's Canisius/Quinnipiac game here at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill.
Game One - No. 4 Siena 12, No. 5 Monmouth 0
Matt Quintana delivered a performance for the ages, twirling a complete-game, three-hit shutout, and Siena poured it on at the plate in a comfortable 12-0 win over Monmouth. It was the first shutout thrown by a Siena pitcher in the MAAC Tournament since John Lannan did it here in 2005.
Dave Hoffmann had three hits including a solo home run that broke the ice in the second inning.
The Saints batted around in the second, adding four more runs after Hoffmann's homer to seize control of the game early. The key play in the frame came with Justin Esquerra at the plate and the bases loaded with two outs. Esquerra lined the ball to right field and Chris Gaetano charged, but overran the drive. Gaetano reached up at the last second, and the ball glanced off his glove before rolling all the way to the wall. The bases cleared on the error and Siena took a 5-0 lead.
That was more than enough run support for Quintana. The senior right hander led the MAAC in ERA this season, but made just three starts, seeing most of his action out of the bullpen. He lowered that ERA to 1.52, and got stronger as the game went on retiring 14 of the final 15 men he faced. Quintana struck out six and walked just one, moving into second place all-time at Siena in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Saints tacked on two runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Hoffmann and an RBI single by Alex Tuccio. They blew the game wide open with five runs in the eighth, the key hit coming on a two-run single by Brian Fay.
Seven of Siena's nine starters hit safely and eight scored a run.
Chris Gaetano had two of Monmouth's three hits. The Hawks will play No. 6 seed Marist in an elimination game Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Game Two - No. 4 Siena 5, No. 1 Rider 4
Bryan Goossens retired 21 of the last 22 men he faced, the lone blemish a hit batter with two outs in the ninth as Siena rallied past the top-seeded Broncs 5-4.
Goossens was tagged for four runs and eight hits in the first two innings as the Broncs jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead.
That's where things stood until MAAC Rookie of the Year Joe Drpich stepped to the plate with two men on and two outs in the sixth. Drpich sat on a 3-1 fastball and blasted it over the right field wall for his ninth home run of the season. The Siena dugout spilled onto the field as the Saints took a lead they would not relinquish.
Goossens struck out four and did not walk a batter (Quintana walked just one in the opener). It was the third complete game of his career, but the first time he has pitched nine innings.
Rider had Goossens firmly against the ropes in the first two innings, knocking him around for eight hits and four runs. Leadoff man Nick Richter had two of those hits and runs, and he made a couple stellar plays at third in a losing effort.
"(Pitching) coach (Brian) McCullough told me I was flying open, and we made an adjustment," Goossens said. "Coach Rossi said we needed to go seven or eight innings, so I just dug in."
Freshmen Jordan Bishop and Dan Lowndes joined Siena's Mr. May Tyler Martis with two hits. Siena's offense averaged just 4.2 runs per game this season, but the Saints scored 15 times and had 19 hits Wednesday. They also played spectacular defense. Martis, Lowndes and Dan Swain all made fabulous plays in the field.
If the Saints get pitching, hitting and defense like this Friday, they'll be heading back to the Championship series.