Manhattan Takes Series Opener Against Rider
RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Entering the weekend, the two-time defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Champion Manhattan baseball team knew it would have its hands full with a depleted pitching staff and hosting the top team in the league in Rider. They would turn to their star pitcher, John Soldinger (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore), in the series opener and he would not disappoint. Soldinger tossed a complete game, handing the Broncs a 3-1 defeat at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday.
Jumping ahead early, Rider (18-13, 5-2 MAAC) got back-to-back singles from Mike Parsons and Eric Strano to begin the top of the first. Parsons would later score on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Adam Wayman with two outs. That would be the only run given up by Soldinger as he worked his around trouble in the late innings.
The Broncs lead did not last long as the Jaspers (15-15, 6-4 MAAC) got some clutch hitting in the home half of the second. A leadoff walk from Joe McClennan (Highland Mills, N.Y./Cornwall) would be followed by a sacrifice bunt from Brendan Slattery (Danbury, Conn./Brookfield) to put a runner in scoring position with one out. After Joe Rock (Carmel, N.Y./Kennedy Catholic) flied out to second, shortstop Yoandry Galan (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) worked a walk to put runners at the corners.
Senior Nick Camastro (Lagrangeville, N.Y./Arlington) then ripped a hard double down the left field line, scoring McClennan to tie the ball game. From there, the Jaspers would struggle to get any more runs as Rider pitcher Tyler Smith stranded seven runners over the course of his outing.
Meanwhile, the Broncs struggled to get anything off of Soldinger who allowed only two hits between the second and sixth innings. After setting down the side in order in the sixth, his offense provided him with the lead necessary for a win. McClennan would once again start it off, hitting a pop up that fell harmlessly behind the pitchers mound for a leadoff single. He would then advance to second on past ball before later scoring on Galan’s two out, RBI single to centerfield.
Nursing a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Soldinger took matters into his own hands, playing a role in every out of the frame. After Wayman doubled to leadoff the inning, Nick Crescenzo dropped a bunt down the first baseline but Soldinger quickly hopped off the mound and fired to third to get the lead runner. Justin Thomas then singled up the middle, putting runners on the corners and one out. When Greg Fazio hit a hard grounder up the middle, Soldinger dove to his left and from the ground threw out Crescenzo at the plate. He would then strike out Ian Lindsay to end the inning and preserve the lead.
Manhattan rewarded their righty with an insurance run in the seventh as Slattery drove in Ramon Ortega (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus) with a two out double down the right field line off relief pitcher Sean Kuberiet. Slattery finished 2-2 on the day with an RBI and a hit by pitch. He was one of three Jaspers to record a multi-hit effort at the plate along with Camastro and Kyle Murphy (Waterbury, Conn./Holy Cross).
Soldinger (2-2) set down the side in order in the eighth before striking out the final two batters of the game in the ninth after a one out walk. He scattered six hits on the day, striking out five and walking just one for his first ever win over the Broncs. Smith (5-3) took the loss giving up all three runs on eight hits, walking four and striking out one in three and two thirds innings.
Manhattan and Rider will conclude their weekend series with a double header on Sun., April 14 at Van Cortlandt Park. Game one will be a seven inning contest starting at noon while the second game will be a full nine inning contest begin shortly after the conclusion of game one.