Giordano Lifts Jaspers Past Fairfield
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Junior Mike Giordano finished off what proved to be a dominant pitching weekend by Jasper starters as he registered a career-high nine strikeouts to help Manhattan (12-11, 6-0) earn a 3-1 series sweeping victory over Fairfield (7-15, 1-5 MAAC) on Sunday at Van Cortlandt Park. Jaspers' senior first baseman Austin Sheffield drove in two runs as Manhattan won its seventh straight contest to remain undefeated in the league standings.
"Today was exactly what we talk about in MAAC games: pitching, defense and timely hitting," said Manhattan head coach Kevin Leighton.
Giordano was handed the torch after complete game efforts from sophomores John Soldinger and Eric Luksis during Saturday's doubleheader sweep of the Stags. Giordano pitched eight strong innings without walking a batter to earn his third victory of the year and improve to 2-0 in MAAC starts. The Bedford, N.Y. native was rolling early striking out five batters by the end of the second inning. Giordano threw 107 pitches with 77 hitting the strike zone.
"Mike did a good job of getting ahead and expanding the zone with two strikes," explained Leighton. "When he locates he is going to be very good for us."
Fairfield got on the scoreboard first in the third inning by working the bases loaded, after back-to-back singles by juniors Mark Skrapits and Larry Cornelia. The Stags would score their only run on a two-out wild pitch. The Jaspers responded in the bottom of the fourth inning tying the game at 1-1 on Sheffield's sacrifice fly ball. Senior third baseman Chad Salem scored on the play after singling up the middle. Jaspers' senior outfielder Mike McCann moved Salem into scoring position with a one-out double down the left field line.
McCann had two hits in the contest, which extended his consecutive game hit streak to 13. The left handed slugger from Belle Harbor, N.Y. has been Manhattan's top offensive weapon in conference games, thus far, as he leads the Jaspers batting .526 (10-19) and has 10 RBI in six ballgames.
The Jaspers posted the go ahead run in the sixth inning off of Fairfield starting pitcher Scott Warwick. Warwick was stingy all day long and he struck out five batters in 7 1/3 innings, but Manhattan was able to use a clutch two-out double from Salem and Sheffield's RBI single to take a 2-1 advantage.
Salem posted his team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the year finishing 3-for-4 from the plate. He scored two runs and drove in the Jaspers' third run in the bottom of the eighth inning with a RBI single to centerfield. It extended Manhattan's lead to 3-1.
Manhattan turned to the bullpen for the first time in the three game series with Fairfield in the ninth inning, utilizing freshman reliever Jacob Marchus to close out the game. Marchus retired three of four batters faced and recorded one strikeout to pick up his second save of the season.
The Jaspers return to Van Cortlandt Park on Tuesday when they host local non-conference rival Long Island at 3:30 p.m. Manhattan resumes MAAC play next weekend in Jersey City when the Jaspers take on Saint Peter's. The series is scheduled to begin on Saturday with a doubleheader set for 12 p.m.