FISHKILL, N.Y. - The Marist baseball team defeated 30th-ranked Army by a score of 6-3 on Wednesday in seventh annual Hudson Valley Baseball Classic, held at Dutchess Stadium on Wednesday before 1,602 fans.
Junior shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) and junior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) had two hits apiece to lead the Marist offensive attack. Shank was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and Orefice was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Shank also made several terrific plays defensively, as the Red Foxes did not commit an error in the contest.
On the mound, freshman left-hander Rich Vrana (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) earned his first career victory. With Marist throwing six pitchers in a pre-determined arrangement, Vrana allowed just one hit in his two innings. He was followed by freshman right-hander Evan Davis (Little Falls, N.Y.), freshman right-hander Brandon Dolan (Franklin Park, N.J.), junior left-hander Dan Zlotnick (Katonah, N.Y.), sophomore right-hander Kevin McCarthy (Malverne, N.Y.) and senior right-hander Jake Rifkin (West Deptford, N.J.). McCarthy pitched 1.1 scoreless as he got out of a seventh-inning jam which saw Army bring the go-ahead run to the plate, and Rifkin pitched a clean ninth for his fifth save of the year.
Marist jumped out early, with two runs in the first, and three in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore third baseman Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) hit a ground ball to short. A force out was recorded at second, but Alex Jensen's throw to first was high, allowing both Shank and Orefice to score. McQuail received an RBI on the play.
In the third, Orefice led off with a single, which was followed by walks by senior left fielder Eric Helmrich (Yonkers, N.Y.) and McQuail to load the bases. Orefice scored on an RBI groundout by freshman second baseman Alec Petrone (Mahopac, N.Y.), and Helmrich then scored on a passed ball. A safety squeeze by sophomore right fielder Pat Welsh (Millersville, Pa.) scored McQuail to make it 5-0.
The Army bullpen, led by Colin Briant, Taylor Goucher and Manny Fernandez, then kept the Red Foxes at bay by holding them to just one hit over the next 3.2 innings. The Black Knights chipped away at their deficit with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. However, Marist secured an insurance run in the eighth as sophomore outfielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) had a two-out single to plate Petrone, who had led off the inning with a base hit.
Marist now leads the all-time Hudson Valley Baseball Classic series by a 4-3 margin.
For Army (33-10), starter Andrew Flaherty took the loss to fall to 3-1. The Black Knights outhit the Red Foxes 10-8, as 1-2-3 hitters Zach Price, Daniel Cortes and Kevin McKague each went 2-for-4.
Marist improved to 16-20, as the Red Foxes have won nine of their last 13. The Red Foxes return to action this weekend with a three-game conference series at Iona.