Manhattan Repeats as MAAC Champs!
TROY, N.Y. - The Manhattan College Jaspers are MAAC Baseball Champions, again. The Jaspers completed the improbable feat of winning four games in three days to come out of the elimination bracket and win the program's second straight conference title, their third crown since 2006. The Jaspers finished off a miraculous run with a 3-2 victory over Canisius (33-27) in 11 innings on Sunday at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, N.Y.
Manhattan (33-25) relied on the MAAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Taylor Sewitt who finished off one of the more impressive college pitching performances in a postseason tournament with an 11 inning effort on Sunday. Sewitt recorded every out in relief of starting pitcher Matt Jordan to finish the tournament with three wins after going 22 scoreless innings and posting 20 strikeouts throwing 296 pitches over the weekend.
Junior first baseman Kyle Murphy was the Jaspers' offensive hero as he lined a RBI single up the middle in the top of the 11th inning that scored sophomore shortstop Yoandry Galan in what proved to be the game-winning run. It was Murphy's only hit of the game, but it came in a primetime moment off of the 2012 MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year Jon Fitzsimmons.
Runs were extremely difficult to come by on Sunday in a do or die game for both teams. The Jaspers surrendered their only two runs in the first inning after a lead off hit and a pair of walks off Jordan. Sewitt was called out of the bullpen to settle the situation approximately 13 hours after earning his second victory of the tournament. He helped the Jaspers avoid elimination on Saturday evening pitching the final two innings of a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Golden Griffs. Canisius got its two runs in the first inning on sophomore first baseman Jimmy Luppens single to center field.
The resilient Jaspers chipped away at the deficit beginning in the top of the third inning. Galan posted a one out double down the left field line and junior second baseman Nick Camastro singled him in to get within 2-1. Camastro was dominant at the plate on Sunday, batting 4-for-6, to cap off a stellar MAAC Tournament where he hit .476 (10-21) in five starts.
Manhattan tied the ballgame in the fourth inning after freshman third baseman Joe McClennan's infield single and sophomore left fielder Chris Kalousdian's double to right field advanced McClennan to third. It set the Jaspers up to tie the game on a wild pitch by Canisius starting pitcher Rohn Pierce. McClennan finished 2-for-3 in the ballgame.
The Jaspers left 13 runners on base with the Golden Griffs burning seven pitchers in the contest. While on the flip side, Sewitt left 12 Canisius runners stranded on base en route to his 11th victory of the season, which ranks as the second most in program history only behind Chris Cody's 12 victories in 2006. Sewitt scattered five hits and struck out five batters in the longest performance of his career.
Jasper juniors Ramon Ortega, Brendan Slattery, Joe Rock and Camastro were named to the 2012 MAAC All-Tournament Team joining Sewitt. Ortega had a tournament-high six RBI over five games. Rock smashed the game tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday to help the Jaspers avoid elimination against Canisius. And Slattery smacked the game winning run in extra innings of the same contest against the Golden Griffs. Camastro finished his MAAC Tournament with a .542 on-base percentage.
Manhattan is the first team to win back-to-back MAAC titles since LeMoyne did it in 2003 & 2004. The Jaspers earned their fourth berth into the NCAA Tournament in program history. Manhattan's opponent will be revealed at 12 p.m. on Monday during the NCAA Selection Show which is televised live on ESPNU.