JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The Marist baseball team clinched a spot in the 2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships with a 7-6 victory at Saint Peter's on Sunday.
Senior shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. A total of five Red Foxes finished with multi-hit games. Freshman designated hitter Matt Pagano (Cranston, R.I.), senior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), sophomore left fielder Steve Laurino (Carle Place, N.Y.) and freshman second baseman Joey Aiola (Suffern, N.Y.) all had two hits apiece. Orefice and Laurino each drove in two runs.
Junior right-hander Kevin McCarthy (Malverne, N.Y.) pitched the final 4.1 innings to earn the win in relief. McCarthy (4-2) struck out four and allowed four hits. Sophomore left-hander Rich Vrana (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) started, went the first 4.2, and allowed two runs and three hits while striking out three.
Saint Peter’s took a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-run double by first baseman Nick Henriquez. Marist scored one in the fourth when junior right fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) belted a two-out triple, and scored on a single by junior catcher Zachary Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.). The Red Foxes took the lead for good with three in the fifth. Aiola started the rally with a leadoff single, and scored on an RBI single by Shank. Orefice then doubled, scoring Shank from first. A two-out RBI single by Laurino then scored Orefice.
The Red Foxes then tacked on three more in the seventh. Pagano led off with a bunt single, and went to second after Shank drew a four-pitch walk. Orefice then doubled to bring home Pagano and advance Shank to third. After junior third baseman Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Laurino’s sacrifice fly brought home Shank. McQuail later scored on a throwing error.
Marist led 7-2 entering the ninth, but Saint Peter's scored four in the ninth and had the tying run at third base with two outs. But McCarthy made a back-handed stab of a line drive off the bat of Matt Mancini to end the game.
Saint Peter’s starter Zach Hopf (2-8), who went six innings, took the loss. The Red Foxes outhit the Peacocks, 13-7.
Marist improved to 25-19-1 overall and 15-6 in the MAAC; Saint Peter’s fell to 14-30 overall and 7-11 in the MAAC.
The Red Foxes will have their conference bye next weekend, and will return to action with a two-game set at ACC foe Virginia Tech. The teams will play a single game both Saturday and Sunday, with play on each day scheduled to start at 2 p.m.