Jaspers Split Doubleheader at Siena
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Entering the final series of the 2013 season, the Manhattan baseball team split their doubleheader with Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival Siena on Thursday afternoon. After the Jaspers (23-28, 10-13 MAAC) took the opener by a final of 6-3, the Saints exploded in the nightcap winning 12-5 at Siena Field.
Game one was highlighted by a strong pitching performance from John Soldinger, making the final start of his career. He would work through the first three innings facing just one batter over the minimum, giving up a walk in the second and a single in the third. Meanwhile, the Manhattan offense staked him to 2-0 lead in the top half of the third.
Both Joe Rock and Nick Camastro would be hit by pitches to begin the inning. Ramon Ortega then hit a double down the left field line off starter Bryan Goossens, scoring Rock. That hit gave Ortega 213 for his career, moving him into 10th place all-time in program history, breaking a tie with current assistant coach Nick Derba. The Jaspers added another run in the inning as Christian Santisteban brought home Camastro on a sacrifice fly with one out.
The Saints (25-27, 15-8 MAAC) got a run back in the home half of the fourth Larry Balkwill homered, cutting the Manhattan lead to just one. The Jaspers would get that run back and more in the following frame, plating three runs.
It all began with Kyle Murphy working a one out walk and advancing to second on a wild pitch. Following an Ortega groundout, Manhattan put on a two out rally that featured two timely hits and a pair of walks. A Santisteban walk put runners on the corners with two outs ahead of Brendan Slattery who singled to right center for a run. Joe McClennan then followed with a double to left that scored both Santisteban and Slattery for a 5-1 lead. Matt Troisi walked to keep the inning alive but was retired on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
That would chase Goossens from the game for Siena while Soldinger continued to go roll along through five innings. He would run into trouble however in the sixth, hitting the first batter he faced. After a pair of fly-outs, Balkwill walked to place runners on the corners before Brian Fay singled home two runs making it a 6-3 ballgame. Soldinger would get out on the inning, forcing the next batter to ground into a fielder’s choice.
Manhattan was able to add an insurance run in the top of the sixth on a Santisteban two-out single off reliever Jim Meindl. After allowing the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh to reach, Soldinger recorded three straight outs without giving up a run and left the game in line for a win.
Sean Abbate would then come on for the Jaspers and get some help from his defense in tossing two shutout innings. He would give up a single and double in the home half of the eighth to begin the inning but lead runner Mike Fish was thrown out at home on a perfect relay between Rock, Camastro, and Ortega. Balkwill, who hit the double, was then thrown out trying to steal third for the second out of the inning before Abbate got a fly out to end the frame.
He then made things a bit interesting in the ninth, putting two on with one out before retiring the next two in order. It was the first save of the year for Abbate who struck out one batter in his two innings of work. Soldinger (5-3) got the win going seven innings allowing three runs on just five hits while working around four walks. Goossens (1-5) took the loss giving up five runs on five hits while walking three and hitting two more batters.
The second game began in a favorable fashion for Manhattan as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Ortega’s two-run homer in the top of the first off starter Rick Morales. It continued in the bottom half when Jacob Marchus faced the minimum three batters allowing only a single.
However, things would take a turn for the worse in the bottom of the second. Balkwill grounded out to second to begin the inning but Fay would reach on a one out walk before advancing to second on a John Rooney single. After a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners with two outs, Dave Hoffman and Tyler Martis each singled home a run to knot the game at 2-2. Vincent Citro then hit a ground ball to second base that was thrown away by Camastro trying to make the play at second.
That would score Hoffman, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead and keep the inning alive. Andres Ortiz followed with an RBI single of his own before Fish homered to left driving in three more for a 7-2 advantage. Marchus then got Balkwill to fly out to right for the final out of the inning as Siena batted around.
Despite the early deficit, Manhattan immediately began fighting back as Camastro doubled to begin the top of the third. That hit broke a tie with former Jasper Kevin Nieto for fifth all-time, giving him 220 for his career. He would be followed by a Chris Reynolds homerun that brought the team within three at 7-4. Unfortunately, that would be all they would get as Ortega was thrown out at home trying to score from second on an Andrew Gorecki double to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Manhattan turned to their bullpen as senior Matt Jordan relieved Marchus. The southpaw would go three innings in relief, finding trouble in the fifth. Fish started things off with a single and swipe of second base before reaching third on Balkwill’s groundout to second. A Rooney single began the scoring in that inning and was shortly followed by Mike Allen’s RBI single to make it a 9-4 Siena advantage as Fay scored on a throwing error from Gorecki.
Hoffman doubled to right center, plating Rooney for his second RBI of the game, with just one out. Martis would then ground out to short for the second out of the inning advancing Hoffman. He would then come home on a wild pitch prior to Ortiz’s foul out to end the inning with the Saints ahead 12-4 after five innings.
Once again, the Jaspers looked to quickly get back into the game scoring in the top of the sixth. Carlos Cabrera pitched a scoreless fifth in relief but game up consecutive one out walks to Gorecki and McClennan in the following frame. Yoandry Galan then hit a bounding ball to third that was misplayed by Fay allowing Gorecki to score. That would be all the team would get though as Matt Quintana came on in relief after Rock was hit by a pitch. He would get the next two batters he faced in order and pitch a perfect seventh to preserve the win.
Marchus (4-4) took the loss for Manhattan after allowing seven runs, two earned, on six hits in only two innings of work. Morales (3-2) picked up the win for the Saints allowing four runs on five hits in his four innings of work.
The two teams will conclude their regular season on Fri., May 17, at noon with a nine inning affair at Siena Field.