POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Marist baseball team split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) doubleheader with Rider on Saturday. The Red Foxes won the first game 11-5, but fell 4-0 in the second game.

As a result, Marist clinched the #2 seed in next week’s MAAC championships. Rider clinched the regular-season championship, while Canisius and Siena will be the third and fourth seeds, respectively.

Senior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), junior third baseman Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) and junior catcher Zachary Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.) each had three hits on the day for Marist. Passerelle was 3-for-6 in both games, while Orefice and McQuail for 3-for-8.

Here is a closer look at today’s games:

Game One – Marist 11, Rider 5

The Red Foxes pounded out 16 hits, with seven players having at least two. Orefice led the way by going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI. Passerelle, sophomore left fielder Steve Laurino (Carle Place, N.Y.) and junior right fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) all had two hits, two RBIs and a run scored. Freshman second baseman Joey Aiola (Suffern, N.Y.) had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.

Marist got on the scoreboard first with three runs in the second, thanks to four consecutive two-out hits and a wild pitch. After Rider scored once in the third, Marist answered with four in the home half of the frame. Passerelle belted a two-run double in an inning which saw the first five Red Foxes reach base safely.

Rider climbed back into the game with a single run in the fourth, and three more in the sixth to make the score 7-5. With the bases loaded and two outs, Marist junior right-hander Kevin McCarthy (Malverne, N.Y.) came in to retire Rider designated hitter Jerry Mulderig on a first-pitch fielder’s choice to end the inning and maintain the two-run lead. The Red Foxes then re-claimed their five-run lead on RBI singles by Orefice, McQuail and Berry in the bottom of the inning. Marist scored the final run of the game in the eighth on a two-out double by Laurino, which brought in Orefice.

Senior right-hander Chris Bielak (Sayreville, N.J.) went the first five innings to record his seventh win of the season. McCarthy, who held Rider scoreless and struck out four in the final 3.1 innings, earned his seventh save.

For Rider, starter Tyler Smith (6-5) took the loss. Smith went two-plus innings. Center fielder James Locklear went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Game Two – Rider 4, Marist 0

After a scoreless first three innings, Rider plated three in the fourth. Third baseman Adam Wayman and Mulderig had back-to-back one-out singles, and right fielder Nick Crescenzo followed with a ground-ball double just inside the line to score both. Second baseman Greg Fazio then singled up the middle with two outs to bring home Crescenzo.

In the top of the seventh, first baseman Justin Thomas homered to left field on the first pitch of the inning for the game’s final run. Marist never got a run as far as third base in the game.

Kurt Sowa (11-1) allowed one hit over the first four innings to record the win. Mike Murphy pitched the final three for his first save. For Marist, senior right-hander Brett Houseal (Landisville, Pa.) took the loss to fall to 7-6. Houseal went 6.1 innings, allowed seven hits and no walks, and struck out two. Junior right-hander Chris Thorsen (Lititz, Pa.) recorded the final two outs of the seventh.

Rider outhit Marist, 8-5. Freshman center fielder Graham McIntire (Concord, N.H.) went 2-for-3.

Marist and Rider will wrap up the regular season with a single game Sunday at noon. Prior to the game, Marist will honor the five members of its senior class – Bielak, Houseal, Orefice, shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) and left fielder Eric Helmrich (Yonkers, N.Y.). The Red Foxes will open the MAAC Championships against Canisius on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, N.J.

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