RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Manhattan battled with UAlbany (3-7-1) for nine innings before today’s baseball contest was called a 10-10 tie due to darkness at Van Cortlandt Park in Riverdale. The Jaspers exploded for all 10 runs over two innings thanks in part to home runs by freshmen Austin Sheffield and Chad Salem. The duo combined for six RBIs in the team’s home opener.
The Great Danes held a 5-0 advantage over Manhattan (3-7-1) by the end of the third inning. Sophomore left-hander Mike Gazzola relieved starter Zac Goyer in the top of the third inning helping him get out of a jam which resulted in just three runs.
Gazzola was solid in relief for the Jaspers as the local product struck out two and allowed two hits on five batters faced.
Manhattan erupted for a four run fourth inning which was sparked by a Salem homer over the left field wall scoring senior third baseman Dom Lombardi who walked in the lead off spot. Salem went 2-for-4 from the plate, scored two runs and posted three RBIs. His home run marked the second of the 2008 campaign.
Sheffield was inspired by Salem’s homer as he followed with a solo blast of his own which also landed over the left field fence. Sheffield was 3-for-5 and had three RBIs.
Luis Llerena, a freshman shortstop, capped off the four run fourth with a double into left field to knock in Ruben Perez who singled in a previous at bat. Llerena contributed two hits and a RBI to the effort.
Albany rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth inning to regain a 9-4 edge. Jamie Liebowitz, the Great Danes’ designated hitter, blasted a two-run homer into left center to anchor the scoring surge.
The Jaspers jumped all over Albany relievers Chris Ott and Hunter Moffatt in the sixth inning lighting them up for six runs on three hits. Sheffield wrapped up the inning with a RBI single scoring Salem and Lombardi.
Manhattan entered the bottom of the ninth boasting a 10-9 lead with freshman Dan Forman on the mound. The left-hander struck out the first two batters he faced before Albany senior Mike Konstanty connected on a single to left center scoring Gary Pitcheralle. The run evened the game at 10-10.
Despite placing runners on first and second in the early stages of the bottom of the ninth, Sean Gregory worked the Great Danes out of the inning. Gregory got Kevin Nieto to fly out, and Mark Onorati to strikeout completing a scoreless three innings of relief.
The game was called promptly after the ninth inning due to darkness. With the tie, both squads stand 3-7-1 on the season.
Manhattan returns to action on Friday evening to start its three game set with Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Va. First pitch will be tossed at 7 p.m.