|Soldinger Powers Manhattan Past Canisius|
Saturday's contest between the two teams featured similarities to the Jaspers' 2011 MAAC Tournament victory over the Golden Griffs, including the final score. Again, Soldinger powered through nine strong innings in a valiant effort, and this time he struck out three batters en route to his third win of the season. Ortega also came up with the clutch game-tying hit like he did last May at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J. that propelled Manhattan to the first win of its championship run.
After a rain delay on Saturday in Western New York, the Jaspers struck first in the opening frame courtesy of junior center fielder Anthony Vega's lead off double down the left field line. It was Vega's seventh double of the season. Jaspers' junior second baseman Nick Camastro dropped down the sacrifice bunt that moved Vega to third base and junior first baseman Kyle Murphy drove him in for the first run of the ballgame.
Soldinger yielded both runs to Canisius in the second inning, but returned to form and retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced over the next six innings. The Golden Griffs worked their two runs across home plate on RBI singles from junior shortstop Manny Hernandez and sophomore left fielder Ryan Coppinger to take a 2-1 edge.
Three consecutive one-out singles by Camastro, Murphy and Ortega in the third inning knotted the game at 2-2. Ortega's hit was the game-tying RBI single through the left side.
Canisius starting pitcher Garrett Cortright lasted until the eight inning when he walked the Jaspers lead off hitter Joe McClennan, prompting the Golden Griffs to turn to the bullpen. Freshman pinch hitter Aidan O'Leary pushed McClennan to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Teixeira then stepped to the plate and delivered the biggest hit of the ballgame, a RBI single up the middle to put Manhattan on top 3-2.
Soldinger managed to keep Canisius hitless though the eighth and ninth innings to hold on for the Jaspers. Although, in the bottom of the ninth inning things got interesting as he was forced to battle through a one-out throwing error. The Golden Griffs put runners on first and third base with two outs, but Soldinger finished Canisius off with a game ending strikeout of freshman Connor Panas.
Ortega and senior designated hitter Matt Troisi led the Manhattan offense with two hits apiece. Troisi posted his third double of the season and increased his team leading batting average in conference games to .385.
Cortright was responsible for all three of the Manhattan's earned runs as his record dropped to 4-5 on the season. For Soldinger, it was his second MAAC win of the year.