POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist baseball team swept a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference home doubleheader against Manhattan on Saturday. In the seven-inning first game, the Red Foxes prevailed 11-6. Marist then earned an 8-7 victory in the nine-inning second game to complete the three-game series sweep.
For Marist on the day, freshman third baseman Ben Moller (Warrington, Pa.) had two hits in each game, going 4-for-7 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Sophomore second baseman Joey Aiola (Suffern, N.Y.) drove in four runs. Freshman right-hander Ryan Thomas (Ringoes, N.J.) earned saves in both games.
After spotting Manhattan a 2-0 lead, the Red Foxes took the lead for good with an eight-run third inning. Marist scored all of its runs with two outs, as seven consecutive hitters reached safely. Moller had a two-run single in the inning.
Manhattan scored once in the fourth and twice in the sixth to cut its deficit to 8-5. The Jaspers brought the tying run to the plate, but Thomas came in the game with two outs, and induced a comebacker to end the threat. The Red Foxes then tacked on three runs in the bottom half of the inning, which included a two-run double by Aiola.
Freshman right-hander Scott Boches (Feasterville, Pa.) went the first 5.2 innings to pick up the win, which ran his record to 3-2. Thomas recorded the final four outs for his fifth save. Manhattan starter Nick Girardi (0-1), who went 2.2 innings, took the loss.
In what was a pitchers’ duel through the first six innings between Manhattan’s William Fabra and Marist senior left-hander Jordan Eich (Spencerport, N.Y.), the Red Foxes struck first with two runs in the third. A squeeze bunt single from senior right fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) brought home Moller with the game’s first run. Junior first baseman Steve Laurino (Carle Place, N.Y.) followed with a two-out double to bring home Berry.
After Manhattan shortstop Jose Carrera singled to lead off the game, Eich retired 16 consecutive Jaspers. However, Manhattan took the lead with three unearned runs – one in the sixth, and two in the seventh. Marist then tied the game in the seventh without the benefit of a hit, as a sacrifice fly from senior shortstop Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) brought home pinch-runner Jamari Moore (Marietta, Ga.).
In the top of the eighth, Marist freshman right-hander Sean Keenan (Dayton, N.J.) entered with runners at the corners and one out. Keenan induced a pop-out to himself, and then junior catcher Mark Swertfager (Katonah, N.Y.) teamed with Aiola to thwart a double-steal attempt to end the inning. Marist then scored five in the eighth to take the lead for good. Aiola’s RBI single broke the tie, and was followed by an RBI bunt single from Moller. Sophomore Matt Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) came off the bench to add a pinch-hit two-run single, which was followed by an RBI double from McQuail.
Manhattan then battled to score four in the ninth. The Jaspers had the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but Thomas induced a groundout to end the game.
Eich gave up four hits and three unearned runs in 7.1 innings. Keenan (3-0) earned the victory, and Thomas got the final two outs for his sixth save. For Manhattan, Fabra allowed five hits and two runs in six innings. Shawn Kanwisher (1-2), the third of four Manhattan pitchers, took the loss. Carrera paced the Jaspers offensively on the day by going 3-for-8 with three RBIs and three stolen bases.
Marist is now 12-23 overall and 5-7 in the MAAC; Manhattan is 8-26 overall and 4-11 in the MAAC.
The Red Foxes have now won a season-high four straight. They will return to action on Tuesday, when they host UMass-Lowell in a non-conference game. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.