Manhattan Sweeps Series with Niagara
Box Score - Game One
Box Score - Game Two
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team completed the MAAC series sweep of Niagara on Saturday as the Jaspers picked up 4-2 and 8-4 wins in the doubleheader at Van Cortlandt Park. Junior centerfielder Anthony Vega hit .625 (5-for-8), scored four runs and smashed a three run homer in the two game set to help extend Manhattan's (12-17, 7-2 MAAC) win streak to eight, which is the sixth longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
The Jaspers got a complete game effort in game one out of junior right hander John Soldinger who recorded five strikeouts and yielded only one earned run in the 4-2 triumph. Manhattan shortstop Yoandry Galan delivered his second straight three hit performance to keep up his hot hitting in MAAC contests. The sophomore from Miami harbors a team leading .414 batting average in nine conference starts.
Manhattan put all four of its runs on the scoreboard in the first two innings, and that was more than enough for Soldinger. Junior first baseman Kyle Murphy laced an RBI single in the bottom of the first to break the scoreless tie. Then in the second inning, sophomore left fielder Chris Kalousdian knocked in a run and he scored later in the frame on an error. Junior second baseman Nick Camastro put Manhattan on top of Niagara 4-0 with a sacrifice fly that allowed Galan to cross home plate.
Soldinger battled on the hill to finish off his third complete game of the season and the 11th of his career. He allowed Niagara (10-16, 3-5 MAAC) only four hits in the contest and worked out of trouble in the fourth inning when the Purple Eagles got both of their runs. Soldinger found his way out of a jam after walking the first three batters of the inning, giving up his only earned run on a sacrifice fly to shortstop Jon Wilson.
Vega and Murphy each hit 3-for-4 in the first contest. Niagara starting pitcher Drew Fittry was credited with the loss falling to 3-1 on the season.
Manhattan received another solid starting pitching effort in game two with sophomore right hander Scott McClennan rolling through 6 2/3 innings. McClennan posted four strikeouts as he earned his second consecutive MAAC victory.
The Jaspers were held hitless by Niagara starter Jordan Schwartz until the fourth inning. Manhattan broke up the no hitter with back-to-back RBI doubles from Ramon Ortega and Andrew Gorecki, and the Jaspers started piling on the runs from there.
Manhattan's defense stepped up in big spots as they forced Niagara to leave 14 runners on base. Gorecki's highlight reel diving catch in right field to end the top of the fifth inning saved potentially two runners from scoring and the Purple Eagles from tying the contest.
The Jaspers then rallied for four runs in the bottom of fifth inning to open a 6-0 advantage. Galan singled in the first run of the inning, before Vega smashed his second home run of the season, which was a three run bullet that exited right field in a heartbeat.
Niagara would not go away quietly as they posted a run in the sixth inning and three runs on four hits in the seventh to pull within 6-4. Purple Eagles catcher Evan Wexler led the squad with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate with two RBI.
Manhattan rebuilt a four run advantage in the bottom of the seventh inning when they scored twice on RBI singles from Kalousdian and Ortega. Ortega finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored to help power the Jaspers offense in game two.
In the final two innings, Manhattan needed its bullpen to step up like it did on Friday in the Jaspers 12 inning walk-off victory. This time sophomore Michael Martin and senior Taylor Sewitt answered the call. Martin stranded runners on first and third by getting out of the seventh inning with a strikeout, and then in the eighth inning he sat down first baseman Ryan McCauley with the bases loaded on a strikeout looking.
Sewitt finished off the side in the eighth inning by striking out the final two batters with the bases still loaded. He then made quick work in the ninth inning as he retired the final three outs, including a game ending double play, to earn his first save of the season.
With the victories, Manhattan maintains its unblemished home record improving to 8-0 at Van Cortlandt Park this season. The Jaspers have also won their last seven MAAC contests.
Manhattan has two non-conference home games scheduled this week with Sacred Heart coming to town on Tuesday before the Jaspers host cross-Bronx rival Fordham on Wednesday. Both games are slated for 3:30 p.m.