RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team (1-2) rolled to their first victory of the season knocking off #10 Miami (5-1) 12-7 on Sunday at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables, Fla. The Jaspers' bats were active posting 17 hits in the ball game and freshman reliever John Soldinger was untouchable in his collegiate debut shutting down the Hurricanes to earn a four inning save. Jaspers' lefty starter Mike Gazzola earned his first win of the year.
The win marked Manhattan's first over a ranked opponent since 2006 when the Jaspers defeated #6 Nebraska and Cornhuskers starter Joba Chamberlain in the NCAA Tournament. The Jaspers also defeated #15 Tulane that year in the season opener.
Jaspers' senior centerfielder Kevin Nieto, the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, set the tempo with a lead off double to start the game. Two batters later junior outfielder Mike McCann sent an RBI single up the middle to get Manhattan's first run on the scoreboard. First baseman Austin Sheffield capped the two run first inning with an RBI double scoring Chad Salem.
Sheffield hit 3-for-5 with three RBI and finished the three game series batting 6-for-12 with three doubles. Nieto was 3-for-6 from the plate with a stolen base before the Miami native's hometown crowd.
Miami matched the Jaspers' two runs in the bottom of the second when freshmen Stephen Perez and Zeke DeVoss went back-to-back with RBI singles. Perez was 3-for-4 from the plate and DeVoss had two hits.
Manhattan's break out inning was the top of the fourth when the Jaspers' hit parade resulted in seven runs. Manhattan went through the entire batting order and used RBI singles from Mark Onorati, Anthony Armenio and Nick Camastro, and a two-RBI double from Sheffield to help roll out to a 9-2 advantage.
Onorati, a junior outfielder, had a big offensive day going 4-for-6 at the plate with three doubles and scoring two runs. Camastro hit 2-for-4.
The Hurricanes pulled back within 9-7 after a three run fifth inning and two run sixth. Senior Scott Lawson launched a two run homer in the fifth, followed by a solo shot from sophomore catcher David Villasuso. Then in the sixth, sophomore Rony Rodriguez delivered a two RBI double with no one out triggering the Jaspers call to the bullpen for Soldinger.
Gazzola got through five innings with a strikeout and only two walks.
After inheriting a runner and putting another base runner on by giving up a single, Soldinger battled out of the inning. He ended the fight striking out Lawson for the third out.
Manhattan added three insurance runs in the seventh with McCann's RBI single, and then Salem's two RBI double.
Soldinger retired three consecutive batters in the seventh, striking out the first two. He navigated through an efficient eighth, and then closed an impressive performance striking out the final batter of the game. Soldinger recorded five strikeouts, allowed just four hits and walked only two batters.
Manhattan returns to the Bronx for a showdown with cross-town rival Fordham on Wednesday at 3 p.m.