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Jaspers Claim 2008 MAAC Regular-Season Title; Kevin Leighton Earns 100th Career Coaching Victory

Courtesy: Manhattan Athletic Department
Release: 05/17/2008
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Jaspers secure program's first MAAC Regular-Season title
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RIVERDALE, N.Y. The Manhattan College baseball team cruised to a 16-3 victory at Fairfield (14-36, 11-14 MAAC) this afternoon in its regular-season finale earning a share of the program’s first MAAC Regular-Season title. Third year head coach Kevin Leighton posted his 100th career victory to reach this feat the quickest in Manhattan College baseball history. The Jaspers enter the 2008 MAAC Championships as the #2 seed as a result of a tie breaker with co-regular season champion Canisius. Manhattan (31-18-1, 19-5 MAAC) will square off with #3 seeded Siena on Thursday at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

“I am grateful Bob Byrnes (athletic director) has given me the opportunity to achieve this,” proclaimed Leighton. “I also want to thank assistant coaches Mike Cole and Ryan Darcy for all the hard work they have contributed in reaching this 100th win. It is certainly a special win for me. I would like to recognize and thank all the players over the last three years who have helped attain this milestone.”


Manhattan jumped on the Stags early posting a 10 run first inning to secure a comfortable advantage. The Jaspers bat through the lineup and connected on eight hits, including a two-RBI double from Ryan Masters midway through the surge. Senior catcher Dom Lombardi capped off the rout with a two-RBI single putting Manhattan on top 10-0.


Lombardi was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with three RBIs, while Masters was 3-for-6 and scored a run batting in the nine hole.


The Jaspers tacked on two runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings reaching the 16 run total. The squad erupted for 17 hits in the ballgame.


Senior outfielder Eric Nieto connected on three hits and scored four runs leading off the Jaspers batting order. Nieto tallied his first two during the first inning rampage, and then blasted a lead off single into left field in the top of the sixth moving himself into a tie for first all-time on the program’s career-hit list. Nieto’s 67th hit of the season marked the 216th of his career tying John Fitzpatrick ’06 atop the chart.


Freshman standout Mark Onorati went 2-for-3 on the afternoon, and scored three runs. Onorati is tied with Nieto for a team-high 53 runs over the regular-season, and he stands second on the ball club with 60 hits.


Osmani Sanchez knocked in three RBIs in the contest, while Chad Salem and Kevin Nieto had two. Freshman catcher Jose Behar contributed a RBI double to the winning effort.


Jaspers’ lefty starter Dan Forman improved to 8-3 on the season as he spun three scoreless innings and struck out four batters. Sophomore reliever Brian Pendergast tossed the final three scoreless innings earning the save.


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