Siena baseball has now reached the MAAC Championship round in each of its last four MAAC Tournament appearances after winning twice Saturday afternoon against No.5 Monmouth (6-5) and No.3 Fairfield (4-3). Siena will face N0.1 Canisius for the second consecutive year in the Championship series. Canisius defeated Siena last season 12-11 on a walk-off bases loaded hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the ninth.
The rematch will occur Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. with the first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Siena needs to defeat the defending MAAC Champions twice to clinch an NCAA berth.
Siena avoided elimination Saturday in walk-off fashion after defeating No. 5 Monmouth University 6-5 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. Andres Ortiz sent the game-winning single to left-center field, allowing senior John Rooney to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
The Saints were led by three seniors, Vincent Citro, John Rooney and Andres Ortiz. The trio combined to go 9-for-13 at the plate with five runs scored and three runs batted in. Citro started the game off with a bunt single to third base and eventually scored on a throwing error by the Hawks' catcher for the early 1-0 lead.
Monmouth responded in the third inning, scoring three runs on one hit. Ed Lewicki struggled to find his control, walking three batters in the inning. Wilgus connected for an RBI single to centerfield , followed by an RBI Sac Fly by Gronsky and a wild pitch allowed Lamberton to score for the Hawks' third run of the inning.
Citro doubled to lead off the bottom of the third and scored on a John Rooney single through the left side, cutting the Hawks' lead to 3-2.
Monmouth would increase its lead to a game high three runs with a two run sixth inning. After a Sweeney single to right field, Avella took a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall for a 2-run homerun. Siena prevented additional damage and started to make their comeback.
Siena tied the game up in the seventh with two runs coming from a Justin Esquerra fielder's choice, scoring Tyler Martis. Senior Rooney followed up with a single of his own to score Citro. Rooney went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI's.
The game-winning run came in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. Andreas Ortiz lined a 1-0 pitch to left-center field that allowed Rooney to score from second, giving Siena the 6-5 win.
Siena faced elimination again in game two against No.3 Fairfield. Fairfield defeated the Saints 5-3 in 12 innings Thursday. In the rematch, Siena scored three times in the first two innings.
Citro continued with a hot-bat, now hitting 8-for-11 in Siena's three MAAC Tournament games. Back-to-back singles by Citro and Allen and an intentional walk to Rooney set the stage for Brian Fay. Fay flied out to right field to allow Citro to tag and score from third.
Citro and Allen teamed up again the very next inning. Citro singled to left with two outs and stole second on the next pitch. Allen pulled a 1-2 pitch down the leftfield line for an RBI double. Allen later scored on a Justin Esquerra single to center.
Fairfield scored twice in the fifth and one more in the seventh to tie the game at three. Siena responded immediately in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead and not surprisingly, it was the senior duo of Citro and Allen. Citro walked and later scored from first on Allen's RBI double to the leftfield fence.
The MAAC Co-Reliever of the Year, Neil Fryer pitched the final 2.1 innings to earn the win and help Siena get back to the MAAC Championship series tomorrow afternoon against No. 1 Canisius.