May 21, 2004
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y - Anthony Aquilino's single through the right side of the Siena infield triggered a four-run fourth inning, giving LeMoyne a lead it would not relinquish in an 8-3 victory over Siena in Loudonville on Senior Day Friday afternoon. The loss officially ended the Saints' mathematical postseason aspirations, and put a damper on the celebration of the standout careers of the seven members of the Siena class of 2004.
The Saints jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in their first at bat. Senior Blake Hanan doubled to left with one out, and promptly stole third base, tying the school's career stolen base record with the 80th steal of his four-year tenure. In the eighth inning, he stole second base to become the all-time leader in the category. Hanan scored the game's first run when classmate Shawn Hampton ripped a two-out double to right centerfield, and Hampton scored on Scott King's ensuing double to left centerfield.
Siena starter John Lannan made the lead hold up until the fourth inning, working a scoreless first third of the game on the mound. Aquilino's key hit sparked the LeMoyne offense in the fourth. Keith Connors was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and advanced to second on a Lannan wild pitch before scoring on Aquilino's single. After Jeff Justice worked a walk to put runners at first and second, Mike Affronti fisted an infield single just past Lannan, and narrowly beat the throw to first after the southpaw tracked the ball down. Aquilino scored the equalizer on another wild pitch, and Justice beat Hanan's throw to the plate on Andre Enriquez's grounder to short to give the Dolphins a 3-2 lead. Steve Suarez lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to account for the fourth run, though Enriquez was caught at the plate trying to score all the way from second as the initial throw home found its way to the backstop.
LeMoyne's Alan Drechler did not allow a run after the first inning, working six solid frames while allowing just five hits and improving to 9-0 on the season. The Saints fought back in the eighth, scoring a single run off reliever Chris Soja. Hanan scored the run after reaching on his second hit of the day and stealing his milestone 81st base. He came around to score on a two-out fielding error off the bat of Tony Cipolla. A.J. Lindsay came on to retire Hampton and worked out of trouble in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. Senior Josh Copskey pitched four innings of brilliant relief for the Saints, allowing the home team to scratch back into the game. Copskey did not allow a run and sacrificed just three hits, lowering his team-best season ERA under 2.00.
However, the Dolphins added all the insurance they would need in their final at bat, scoring four times off reliever Josh Courage. Steve Suarez began the inning with a towering homerun to right field, his second of the series. Enriquez collected the other big knock in the inning, lining a single to centerfield that scored two runs. The Siena defense did its share to fuel the rally, committing all three of the team's errors in the ninth inning.
Siena finished the 2004 season with a 27-26 overall record and a 13-12 mark in the MAAC. It is the first winning season for the program since 1999, when the Saints advanced to the NCAA Tournament and set a program record with 34 wins.
|Siena Saints Baseball 2004 Seniors|