POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Marist baseball team completed a three-game series sweep of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rival Niagara with a 5-2 victory at McCann Baseball Field on Sunday.
A balanced team effort propelled the Red Foxes to victory. Four pitchers combined to allow just four hits and no earned runs. Sophomore left-hander Rich Vrana (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) started and earned the win with five solid innings. Vrana struck out five and allowed just two hits. Sophomore right-hander Evan Davis (Little Falls, N.Y.) followed with 1.2 scoreless innings, and junior right-hander Chris Thorsen (Lititz, Pa.) followed by retiring all four batters he faced, including two strikeouts. Junior right-hander Kevin McCarthy (Malverne, N.Y.) finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the season.
Offensively, junior catcher Zachary Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.) doubled, tripled and scored two runs. Senior shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and junior second baseman Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) drove in two runs.
Marist got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the home half of the first. Shank started the rally with a two-out double, and senior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) followed with a walk. McQuail then doubled to left field to bring Shank and Orefice home.
Niagara tied the game in the top of the third when first baseman Ryan McCauley homered to right field with two outs, but Marist took the lead back for good in the fourth. Passerelle led off with a double down the left field line, and junior right fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) followed with a four-pitch walk. With the runners in motion on a 3-2 pitch, freshman designated hitter Graham McIntire (Concord, N.H.) singled to score Passerelle, and Berry moved up to third. Two batters later, freshman center fielder Matt Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) executed a safety squeeze, which brought home Berry and gave the Red Foxes a 4-2 lead.
Marist closed out the scoring in the sixth, when Passerelle led off with a triple and scored on a passed ball.
Niagara starter Jim Fort, who went the first three-plus innings, took the loss and fell to 1-3.
In addition to being 3-0 in the MAAC, Marist is now over .500 for the first time this season at 9-8 overall. Niagara is 4-19 overall and 0-3 in the MAAC.
Marist returns to action on Tuesday, when the Red Foxes host Fordham in a non-conference game. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.