RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team split its MAAC opening doubleheader with Marist (10-9, 1-1 MAAC) on Saturday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Manhattan (11-8, 1-1 MAAC) cruised to a 9-4 victory in game one before falling 5-1 in the nightcap. Red-shirt freshman Ramon Ortega went 4-for-9 (.444) in the doubleheader and Mark Onorati hit 4-for-10 to maintain his team-leading batting average (.416).
In game one, junior third baseman Chad Salem sparked a three run fifth inning with a solo home run to break a 3-3 tie and then sophomore relief pitcher Mike Giordano shut down the Red Foxes for the final four frames. Giordano was spectacular allowing just one hit and retiring 12 of 16 batters faced for his first save of the season. Salem hit 2-for-4 in the ballgame and scored four of Manhattan's nine runs.
The Jaspers took a two run advantage in the second inning. Ortega loaded the bases with his first of three singles and Marist starter Kyle Putnam proceeded to hit Jaspers' second baseman Kyle Murphy allowing the first run across the plate. Freshman shortstop Nick Camastro delivered a sacrifice fly later in the inning to send Manhattan ahead 2-0.
Putnam, a junior right-hander from New Windsor, N.Y., managed 4 2/3 innings and allowed six runs.
Marist posted its first run in the second inning receiving a RBI single from freshman Zach Shank. Jaspers' first baseman Austin Sheffield extended Manhattan's lead to 3-1 in the third inning with a single which sent Salem across home plate.
The Red Foxes tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with RBIs coming off the bats of junior Michael Gallic and sophomore Jon Schwind. Manhattan broke open the contest in the fifth inning with Salem's team-leading fifth home run of the season and then RBI singles from Ortega and Camastro to take a 6-3 advantage.
Jaspers' lefty starter Mike Gazzola navigated through the fifth inning yielding one run in the frame setting up for his second win of the year. Gazzola had two strikeouts in the contest.
Manhattan gave Giordano extra run support scoring twice in the eighth courtesy of Anthony Armenio's RBI single and Sheffield's sacrifice fly. In the ninth, junior outfielder Mike McCann capped a 2-for-4 day with a RBI single to secure the Jaspers' first conference win of the year.
In game two, Manhattan fell behind by three runs in the third inning and could not figure out Red Foxes' senior starter B.J. Martin who pitched the complete game with eight strikeouts.
Manhattan freshman starter Eric Luksis got off to a rocky start as he walked in the first run of the ballgame in the second inning. Red Foxes' shortstop Richard Curylo added a two RBI single to go up 3-0. Luksis lasted five innings with five earned runs and four strikeouts.
Sheffield singled in the Jaspers' only run in the third inning. Marist responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame off two RBI singles from red-shirt junior catcher Bryce Nugent and Shank providing all the offensive support the Red Foxes would need.
Manhattan stranded two base runners in the fourth inning and left the bases loaded in the fifth missing out on prime opportunities to rally back into the game. Kevin Nieto and Onorati each hit 2-for-4 in the game.
Manhattan and Marist will play the final contest of the three game series on Sunday at 12 p.m.