Jaspers Top Fordham In Home Opener
RIVERDALE, N.Y. – After opening the season with 24 straight road games, the Manhattan College baseball team finally felt the comforts of home on Wednesday afternoon. And the Jaspers, who didn’t lose at Van Cortlandt Park at all in 2012, weren’t going to let their home winning streak come to an end in their 2013 home opener. Manhattan (11-14) scored three runs in the first before holding on for a 5-4 victory over rival Fordham (11-15) in the “Battle of the Bronx” at Van Cortlandt Park. It was Manhattan’s 20th straight home win.
“It feels good for me, and it feels good for our guys (to be home),” Head Coach Jim Duffy said. “You could see the energy in the guys today. They expect good things to happen here. It’s a new year; we can’t rely on last year. But it was good to get home and get a win that we desperately needed.”
After starter Matt Jordan (Kingston, N.Y.) retired the Rams in order in the top of the first, the Jaspers immediately went to work offensively. Leadoff man Nick Camastro (Lagrangeville, N.Y.) smoked a double down the left field line, then moved to third on a wild pitch. Camastro then came across when nobody covered first on Kyle Murphy’s (Waterbury, Conn.) grounder to second. Murphy went to second on a groundout and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Andrew Gorecki (Smithtown, N.Y.) crushed a long home run to right field that gave Manhattan a 3-0 lead.
Fordham manufactured a run in the fourth before Camastro was at the heart of another Manhattan rally in the bottom half of the inning. He delivered a one-out double to left center and scored on a double by Ramon Ortega (Miami, Fla.).
The Rams threatened again in the top of the sixth. Tim Swatek and Matthew Cianci started the inning with back-to-back singles, and Swatek scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan McNally, pulling Fordham within 4-2. The Rams put the tying run on base when Mike Mauri was hit by a pitch, but reliever Michael Scarinci (Nanuet, N.Y.) got Joseph Runco to foul out to end the inning. Manhattan got that run back in the bottom half of the inning, though, as Murphy smoked a two-out double and scored on a single by Brendan Slattery (Danbury, Conn.).
With Manhattan now leading 5-2, Fordham continued to chip away. Joseph DeVito belted a solo home run in the seventh, and the Rams put the tying run on base after Charles Galiano and Mike Mauri both singled in the eighth, prompting Duffy to call on closer Jacob Marchus (Miami, Fla.). Marcus gave up a flare that was just out of Yoandry Galan’s (Miami, Fla.) reach and dropped for an RBI single. However, Camastro fired a dart to third base to throw out Mauri, who was trying to advance from first, and end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, the Rams put runners on first and second with one out before Marchus struck out Swatek and retired Cianci on a fly ball to left, preserving the 5-4 victory and snapping the Jaspers’ four-game losing streak.
As a team, Manhattan collected seven hits in the game. Camastro went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, while Murphy was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Gorecki collected two RBIs on his second homer of the season. Jordan (2-4) earned the win after yielding two runs and six hits while striking out three and walking one in 5.2 innings. John Soldinger (Bay Shore, N.Y.) pitched one inning, giving up one run on one hit and striking out one. Marchus allowed three hits and struck out one in 1.1 innings to earn his program-record 14th career save.
Fordham outhit Manhattan 12-7, with four different Rams each collecting two hits. Runco went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Charles Galiano and DeVito were both 2-for-4 with a run scored. Cianci had a 2-for-5 day at the plate and also scored a run. Cody Johnson (2-1) got the start for the Rams and took the loss. He surrendered three runs and three hits, struck out one and walked one in two innings of work. J.C. Porter tossed three innings and was charged with one run on two hits while striking out two and walking one. Rich Anastasi, Jimmy Murphy and Brett Kennedy each hurled one inning of relief.
“Every time we come out here with Fordham, we always want to compete,” Gorecki said. “They don’t make it easy on us, but it feels good to come out and get a win.”
“The timing was right,” Duffy said. “It’s a rivalry. It’s the cross-town thing, so the win is important to us and our school. And it was the home opener. I think it was a good day. It lined up for us to win.”The Jaspers (3-3 MAAC) play their first home Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) series this weekend. Marist (14-9, 5-1 MAAC) visits Van Cortlandt Park for a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, and the series will conclude with a single game at 12 p.m. on Sunday.