Manhattan Drops Season Opener at Florida Atlantic
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Reigning MAAC Pitcher of the Year John Soldinger tossed seven strong innings posting seven strikeouts, but Manhattan could not generate much offense as the Jaspers fell 2-0 at Florida Atlantic (4-0) on Friday. Senior right-hander Ryan Garton had eight strikeouts in seven innings of work to lift the Owls past Manhattan (0-1) in its season opener.
Florida Atlantic jumped out to a one run edge in the third inning with an infield ground out by Corey Keller, which allowed Owls shortstop Mitch Morales to score the go ahead run. Morales singled to lead off the innings. The Owls added another run in the seventh inning to take a 2-0 cushion after Morales sacrifice fly to right field that allowed junior catcher Mike Spano to cross the plate.
Manhattan missed a few key opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the contest, beginning in the third inning when sophomore designated hitter Andrew Gorecki was doubled up on Nick Camastro's fly out to end the frame. Owls' outfielder Alex Hudak made the big play by throwing out Gorecki, who doubled earlier in the inning, with a pinpoint throw to catcher Mike Spano who applied the tag.
The Jaspers couldn't capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity in the top of the seven as Garton managed to strike out Manhattan left fielder Chris Kalousdian . Manhattan made one last push in the eighth inning by putting runners on first and second, before junior reliever R.J. Alvaraz got Florida Atlantic out of the jam by striking out Preseason All-MAAC selection Ramon Ortega.
Manhattan reliever Jacob Marchus pitched a perfect eighth inning and struck out one batter in his 2012 debut.
The Jaspers and Owls return to action on Saturday when they play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium. The squads will wrap up the four game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.