Jaspers Win, Again; Baseball Clinches MAAC Tournament Berth
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team clinched its spot in the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament four-team field for the 10th straight season on Sunday when the Jaspers rallied for an 8-4 victory over Saint Peter's (19-32, 9-12 MAAC) at Van Cortlandt Park. Jaspers' senior starting pitcher Taylor Sewitt stepped up to the occasion on Senior Day as he set a career-high with 11 strikeouts to improve to 7-1 on the season.
Manhattan (26-24, 15-6 MAAC) overcame a three run deficit by scoring five runs in the seventh and eighth innings to improve to a perfect 15-0 at home this season. With one MAAC series remaining in the regular-season, the Jaspers are within striking distance to secure the program's fourth MAAC Regular-Season title in the last five years. Manhattan needs one victory in the three game set with Siena next week to lock up the #1 seed at the 2012 MAAC Championships at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, N.Y.
The Jaspers' 23rd victory in the last 24th meetings with Saint Peter's didn't come easy on Sunday. Peacocks' senior shortstop Justyn Carter turned a lead off walk in the first inning into a run as he stole second and third base and scored on Chris Grimes sacrifice fly. Saint Peter's then received a two RBI double in the second inning by freshman Nicholas Henriquez to open a 3-0 advantage.
Junior outfielder Joe Rock got Manhattan going in the third inning to push the Jaspers first run across with a RBI single. It was his second hit of the game and Rock delivered a pair of RBIs in the contest. The Peacocks worked one more run on the board using Grimes RBI single to jump ahead 4-1 in the top of the third, before the Manhattan pitching staff held them scoreless for the rest of the game.
Sewitt settled in after the third inning limiting Saint Peter's to only one hit through the seventh inning. The right hander from Highland Mills, N.Y. notched six of his 11 strikeouts during this dominant four inning stretch as he won his third straight start. The only walk Sewitt gave up was in the first inning to Carter.
Manhattan's bats came around slowly but surely. Rock singled in his second run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, and then in the fourth inning sophomore shortstop Yoandry Galan scored on a wild pitch.
Jaspers' sophomore Andrew Gorecki's pinch hit two RBI single in the seventh inning was the big hit of the ballgame that gave Manhattan its first lead, 5-4. Gorecki laced it to center field with one out allowing freshman third baseman Joe McClennan and junior catcher Ramon Ortega to score.
After sophomore reliever Scott McClennan made quick work of the Peacocks in the eighth inning, the Jaspers' offense got back to work. Junior second baseman Nick Camastro smacked his second double of the game that got another run in, which was his team leading 14th double of the season. Ortega followed with his seventh home run of the year, a two run shot that gave Manhattan an 8-4 advantage.
Sophomore reliever Jacob Marchus wrapped it up in the ninth with a strikeout and forcing a game-ending double play ball in the non-save situation. Saint Peter's reliever Dom Macaluso received the loss as he pitched the last two innings and let in five earned runs. Peacocks' starter Matt Mancini lasted 5 1/3 innings with three earned runs.
Junior center fielder Anthony Vega posted his seventh 3-hit performance of the year for his team leading 19th multi-hit game. Camastro joined Vega with three hits in the contest. Vega finished the series hitting .545 with a .615 on-base percentage batting out of the lead off spot in three games against Saint Peter's. Joe McClennan also had a solid offensive day as he hit 2-for-3 with two runs scored and he drew two walks.
Manhattan will look to finish the regular-season strong against Siena. The Jaspers will host the Saints for a doubleheader on Thursday that begins at 12 p.m. and the final game is scheduled for Friday also at noon.