Manhattan Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker To Rider
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Niagara Falls, NY - Rider plated a pair of two-out runs in the eighth inning in defeating Manhattan 4-3 in an elimination game at Sal Maglie Stadium in the 2017 MAAC Championship.
The Jaspers end their season with an 18-35 record while Broncs improve to 24-27-1.
Senior RHP Joey Rocchietti (Green Brook, NJ / Watchung Hills) was solid on the mound, striking out four while yielding four runs on just five hits over 8.0 innings in his last collegiate start.
Both pitchers cruised through the first two frames before Rider drew a leadoff walk in the third only to see that runner erased when Rocchietti induced a double-play lineout.
Junior Michael Pfenninger (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) then led off the bottom part of the frame with a triple to right field only to be stranded when the Broncs John Yocum struck out the next two before inducing a grounder back to the mound.
Rider broke through in the fifth with a pair of runs. Lee Lipinski crushed a one-out home run to left field before Jake Bender brought in the second run with a RBI double. However, the damage could have been worse but Rocchietti left the bases loaded thanks to inducing a fly out to center.
The Jaspers again threatened in the bottomed of the fifth as Pfenninger and junior Brandon Valls (Miami, FL / Dean CC) singled with one out. Unfortunately, the duo would be stranded as Yocum retired the next two hitters.
One inning later, Manhattan appeared to again be in business as junior Brendan Bisset (New City, NY / Don Bosco Prep (NJ)) led off with a double before sophomore Fabian Pena (Miami, FL / Calusa Prep) reached via an error. Unfortunately, the duo would be stranded in scoring position.
The Jaspers would finally break through in the bottom of the seventh inning with a big two-out rally. Sophomore Richie Barrella (Larchmont, NY / Canterbury Prep) was plunked before moving to third on a Jose Carrera (Sr., Miami, FL / St. Brendan) double to left field. Bisset followed with a two-run double down the right field line before Pena greeted reliever Paul Sparano with a run-scoring single to give Manhattan a 3-2 advantage.
Unfortunately, the lead would be short-lived as Rider responded with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. After Rocchietti easily retired the first two hitters, Riley Mihalik hit a double to right center. Harrison McClure then walked and Tyler Kaiser tied the game with a RBI single. Lipinski followed with a run-scoring single to plate McClure while providing what would prove to be the winning run.
After going in order in the bottom of the eighth, Valls worked a full-count with one out in the ninth before roping a single to left field. Valls would move to second on an Adam Genners (Jr., Stanton College Prep) sacrifice bunt before Sparano induced a fly out to end the rally.
Bisset, who reached base safely for the 17th straight game, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs while ending the year with a team-leading .335 average. Pfenninger and Valls each registered two hits to round out the top performers for a Jasper attack that rapped out 10 hits.
Senior Shawn Kanwisher (Washington Township, NJ / St. Joseph Regional) also struck out one in a perfect inning of relief to cap his outstanding career.
Lipinski went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead Rider, which registered just five hits. Sprano struck out two while yielding two hits over 2.1 innings in earning the win.