Manhattan Heads into MAAC Baseball Championship
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TROY, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team avoided elimination for the second straight day and now the Jaspers head into the MAAC Championship round. The Jaspers needed junior catcher Ramon Ortega's fourth RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning to send Manhattan (31-25) off with a 6-5 victory over Rider (22-34) on Saturday at Joe Bruno Stadium. Top seeded Manhattan will now face #2 Canisius beginning at 6 p.m. tonight in Troy, N.Y.
Freshman reliever Michael Scarinci gave the Jaspers four strong innings out of the bullpen in his second appearance in the 2012 MAAC Tournament. Scarinci extended his MAAC Tournament scoreless inning streak to 7 1/3 innings. He turned the ball over to sophomore closer Jacob Marchus in the ninth inning who was as dominant as he was during the regular-season. Marchus preserved the one run advantage to record his eighth save of the season, still without giving up an earned run against MAAC opponents this season.
Jaspers outfielder's Joe Rock, Anthony Vega and second baseman Nick Camastro helped Ortega power the Manhattan offense. Rock hit 3-for-4, while Vega and Camastro delivered two hits apiece. Vega's two doubles tied a MAAC Tournament single game record.
Manhattan struck in the bottom of the first inning posting three runs on the scoreboard. Ortega knocked in the first run and then freshman third baseman Joe McClennan drove in the second with a two-out single through the left side. Next it was Rock's RBI single also through the left side that put Manhattan ahead 3-0.
The Broncs jumped senior starting pitcher Mike Giordano for four runs on four hits and an error in the third inning to gain a 4-3 edge. Rider started its rally with one out beginning with back-to-back singles from designated hitter Ian Lindsay and third baseman Adam Wayman. Right fielder Jerry Mulderig notched the RBI double to right center to get the first run in.
Broncs' first baseman Ryan Murphy had a RBI single through the left side and then left fielder Nick Crescenzo tied the game at three. Catcher Eric Strano gave the Broncs their one run advantage with a sacrifice fly.
Rider opened a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning with Wayman's sacrifice fly. That was the last inning for Giordano who finished his 63 career appearance for the Jaspers with four strikeouts.
Manhattan answered back quickly in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks in part to a lead off walk from sophomore shortstop Yoandry Galan and a single through the left side by Camastro. The base runners set up a two RBI double to right center by Ortega who delivered the clutch hit off freshman left-handed reliever Zach Mawson.
Scarinci began his valiant effort beginning in the fifth inning. He gave up only three hits to earn his sixth victory of the season.
The game stayed locked at 5-5 going into the eighth inning. Manhattan's All-MAAC First Team middle infield of Camastro and Galan turned the big double play to get out of the eighth inning, setting it up for the go ahead run in the bottom of the frame.
Vega recorded the clutch double in the bottom of the eighth inning that pushed Galan to third base with no outs. After an intentional walk to Camastro to load the bases, Ortega came up with the game winning single through the left side.
Marchus wrapped up the ninth quickly retiring three of the four batters he faced to send Manhattan into the championship round. Manhattan now needs two victories over Canisius to win the program's second straight MAAC title. A win over the Golden Griffs on Saturday would force the decisive contest on Sunday at 1 p.m.