Jaspers Down Western Carolina in Season Opener
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Chad Salem picked up where he left off from last season in his All-MAAC First Team campaign by blasting two home run in his first two at bats of 2011 as Manhattan (1-0) took down Western Carolina (3-2) 11-6 on Friday at Hennon Stadium in Cullowhee, N.C. Jaspers' sophomore starter John Soldinger pitched a no-hitter into the sixth inning to lead Manhattan on the mound in its season opener.
Salem, a senior from Rye, N.Y. who had 15 home runs and 68 RBI in 2010, wasted little time to jump start the Jaspers' offense as the smashed a two-run blast in the first inning, knocking in sophomore left fielder Anthony Vega. Salem extended the Manhattan lead to 4-0 in his next at bat in the fourth inning when he launched his second homer, which drove in senior Mark Onorati who reached base on a single.
Meanwhile, Soldinger was wheeling and dealing on the hill, mowing down one Catamount after another. The right-hander from Bayshore, N.Y. retired 15-of-19 batters faced and recorded six strikeouts in the first five frames.
The Manhattan bats began to heat up with two outs in the fifth inning when Salem singled to center field, which sparked a five hit, four run rally. Jaspers' senior Mike McCann followed with a single, before Austin Sheffield and Ramon Ortega provided RBI singles. Sophomore designated hitter Kyle Murphy cleaned up the inning with a two RBI triple.
Catamounts' right fielder Cameron Dullnig broke up Soldinger's no-hit bid in the sixth inning when he doubled to right field. Western Carolina proceeded to score three runs in the inning with center fielder Matt Johns RBI single, a sacrifice fly from catcher Stephen Notaro, and then shortstop Aaron Attaway crossed the plate on a fielding error.
Onorati cleared the bases with a two-RBI single in the seventh inning, sending Murphy and Ortega across the plate to go ahead 10-3. Murphy hit 2-for-4 in the contest.
Western Carolina got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh off Jaspers' freshman right-hander Kevin Bonanni. Bonanni recorded four strikeouts and yielded three hits in 2 2/3 innings of work in his collegiate debut.
In the ninth inning, Onorati registered his third hit of the contest with a solo home run to give Manhattan a six run cushion. Western Carolina worked one more run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, before Bonanni turned the ball over to Jaspers' junior Taylor Sewitt with two outs. With the bases loaded, Sewitt got Catamount freshman Dykota Spiess pop out to center field to earn the save.
Manhattan and Western Carolina play the second contest of their three game series on Saturday at 12 p.m. The clubs wrap up on Sunday on Childress Field at Hennon Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.