Manhattan Splits Doubleheader at No. 23 Florida Gulf Coast
Box Score - Game One
Box Score - Game Two
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan baseball team battled No. 23 Florida Gulf Coast (7-3) to split the doubleheader on Saturday at Swanson Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. The Jaspers avenged a 1-0 loss in game one with a three-run ninth inning rally in game two to earn a thrilling 6-5 triumph over the Eagles. It marked Manhattan's (1-5) first win over a nationally ranked opponent since 2010 when the Jaspers upended No. 10 Miami. Senior first baseman Kyle Murphy delivered the game-winning RBI single with two-outs to lead Manhattan to its first victory of the season.
Junior reliever Jacob Marchus earned the win, after shutting down Florida Gulf Coast in the final three innings, which allowed Manhattan to mount its comeback. Marchus preserved the Jaspers' first lead of the four-game series as he retired three of the four batters that he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning, including a strike out of pinch hitter Tito Mendoza for the final out.
In game one, senior starter John Soldinger pitched a gem in the complete game effort, but he was outdueled by Eagles' starter Michael Murray and closer R.J. Brown. The only blemish on Soldinger's stat line was the decisive solo home run by junior left fielder Sean Dwyer with one out in the sixth inning.
Murray gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings en route to his second victory of the season. He had four strikeouts. Brown earned his second save of the year, pitching a perfect final two innings with two strikeouts.
Soldinger retired four straight batters before giving up the homer to right field in the sixth inning. He finished with three strikeouts in the 15th complete game of his collegiate career.
Jaspers' junior left fielder Brendan Slattery had both of Manhattan's hits. In the seventh inning, Slattery delivered a lead off single, but Florida Gulf Coast turned a double play to quickly end the threat. Slattery reached base again with two outs in the top of the ninth inning on an error before Brown shut the door on the Jaspers with his second strikeout.
In game two, Florida Gulf Coast put the first five runs on the board by the fourth inning before the Jaspers made their game-winning offensive surge. Murphy led Manhattan with two hits and two RBI. Jaspers' sophomore Aidan John O'Leary's also had two hits and drove in a run.
The Eagles got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, using consecutive singles from red-shirt senior first baseman Brooks Beisner and sophomore center fielder Michael Suchy to load the bases with two outs. Jaspers' starter Scott McClennan hit the next batter, freshman third baseman Nick Rivera, to push the first run across the plate.
Florida Gulf Coast added four more runs in the fourth inning to open a 5-0 advantage. Junior second baseman Brandon Bednar's double down the right field line with the bases loaded plated three runs. Dwyer capped inning with a sacrifice fly sending Bednar across the plate.
McClennan lasted six innings and struck out four batters, before turning the ball over to Marchus who kept the Eagles scoreless for the final three innings. Marchus yielded only three hits and gave up one walk.
Manhattan finally got on the board in the fifth inning after freshman left fielder Christian Santisteban's two-out single. Santisteban advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then he scored with O'Leary's RBI single to center field.
The Jaspers added two more runs in the sixth inning to get within 5-3. Junior shortstop Yoandry Galan singled with one out through the left side. Jaspers' senior catcher Ramon Ortega drew a walk and Slattery was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Murphy's RBI single. Santisteban then drew a bases loaded walk to make it a two run ballgame.
Red-shirt freshman starter Clint Knoblauch tossed 5 1/3 innings and was responsible for the Jaspers' first three runs. The right-hander from Wellington, Fla. had four strikeouts and allowed three hits before handing the contest off to Florida Gulf Coast's bullpen.
After being held scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, Manhattan got to Florida Gulf Coast junior right-handed pitcher Harrison Cooney in the ninth. A lead off single by O'Leary sparked the surge. Senior outfielder Joe Rock reached base on an error, and then senior second baseman Nick Camastro generated a walk to load the bases for the Jaspers with no outs.
Cooney dug deep to strikeout Galan and Ortega, but the Eagles could not get the final out as Slattery reached on a costly error by red-shirt sophomore shortstop Alex Diaz that led to two unearned runs tying the ballgame. With Camastro standing on third base, Murphy beat out an infield hit for what proved to be the game-winning run.
The loss went to Cooney even though he was not credited with giving up an earned run. He finished with four strikeouts.
Manhattan and Florida Gulf Coast will wrap up the weekend series on Sunday. The start time for the final contest has been moved to 12 p.m.