Miraculous Comeback Keeps Marist Baseball In Contention For MAAC Championship Berth
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Marist baseball team remains in contention for the final berth in next week's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships following a doubleheader split at Fairfield on Saturday. The Red Foxes used a ninth-inning comeback to earn a 9-6 victory in game one, but suffered a 4-0 loss in the second game.
Marist's final regular-season game will be at Fairfield on Sunday at 2 p.m. If the Red Foxes win, they will be the number six seed in the MAAC championships. If they lose, their season will come to an end.
Sophomore second baseman Joey Aiola (Suffern, N.Y.) had a team-high four hits on the day, going 4-for-7 with a run scored. Senior right fielder Pat Welsh (Millersville, Pa.) went 3-for-7 with an RBI and a run scored.
Marist trailed 6-4 in the top of the ninth with two outs and no one on base. The next seven Red Foxes reached safely as they scored five runs in the inning.
Junior first baseman Steve Laurino (Carle Place, N.Y.) started the rally with a line drive to right center on the first pitch of the at-bat. Welsh then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and senior catcher Zachary Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.) had a seven-pitch at-bat end with a walk. McIntire followed with a line drive single to left, which brought home Laurino and pinch-runner Jamari Moore (Marietta, Ga.), who just beat the tag with a head-first slide, to tie the game at six apiece. Aiola followed with a slow bouncer to second that he beat for an infield single, and a throwing error brought home Passerelle from second to give Marist the lead. Sophomore left fielder Matt Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) then drove home McIntire and Aiola with a single to put the Red Foxes up 9-6.
Marist scored its last five runs between its 26th and 27th outs, and scored its first four runs before recording its second out of the first inning. The big blow came off the bat of Passerelle, who laced a two-run single. Fairfield then tied the game in the third thanks to a bases-clearing triple by designated hitter Seb Salvo, which was followed by an RBI single from right field Jack Giannini. Fairfield then took a 6-4 lead in the sixth on an RBI single by catcher Ryan Plourde and an RBI double by left fielder Jake Salpietro. The score remained that way until the Red Foxes’ ninth-inning comeback.
Junior left-hander Rich Vrana (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) earned the win (2-7) by pitching the final four innings. Vrana allowed four hits and two runs, and struck out two. Junior right-hander Evan Davis (Little Falls, N.Y.) started and allowed four unearned runs in five innings. Fairfield reliever Tucker Panciera (7-3), who pitched 2.1 innings, took the loss.
A pitchers’ duel between Marist freshman right-hander Scott Boches (Feasterville, Pa.) and Fairfield’s Mike Wallace resulted in a scoreless tie through three innings of the seven-inning contest. In the fourth, Fairfield scored its first run on a two-out error, and right fielder Billy Zolga added an RBI single to give the Stags a 2-0 lead.
Fairfield maintained its 2-0 lead until the sixth, when a two-out homer by Salvo gave the Stags the final runs of the game.
Fairfield outhit Marist, 6-3. Both Boches and Wallace pitched complete game. Boches struck out four and walked two, with two of the four runs he allowed being unearned. Wallace struck out four and walked two, and retired 10 in a row at one point.
Marist is now 17-31 overall and 10-13 in the MAAC. Fairfield now stands at 29-22 overall and 14-8 in the MAAC. The Stags have wrapped up the third seed in next week’s MAAC championships.