POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.— It happened again.
With the game tied at two in bottom of the seventh inning of second game of Saturday’s double-header against Fairfield, Greg Kocinski hit a deep fly to center field, pinch-runner Robbie Armitage tagged up from third and slid into home to beat the throw for the winning run. This is the fifth walk-off win this season for Marist.
In Game One, Marist starter Tony Romanelli pitched 6 ⅓ innings, giving up three runs and getting five strikeouts. Romanelli improved his record to 4-4 for the season with the victory today.
Marist broke things open in the fifth inning. Kocinski doubled to left driving Anthony Lazar and Jordan Roper to tie the game at two. Later in the inning, Randy Taveras singled up the middle to score Tyler Kapuscinski and Frankie Gregoire.
In the bottom of the seventh Gregoire, 3 for 4 in the game, drove in two more runs with a single, driving in Kapuscinski and Kocinski, lengthening Marist’s lead to 6-3.
Marist closer Mike Coss closed out the game in the ninth, allowing a baserunner to start the inning but was able to get the next two batters out, giving Marist a 7-3 victory.
Even though winning in walk-off fashion is becoming old news for the Red Foxes, they do not celebrate like it, with players jumping up and down in excitement, throwing water in the air and sprinting and swarming around Kocinski, the hero.
After the double-header sweep against Fairfield, winning 7-3 in game one and 3-2 in game two, Marist now has a 10-4 record in MAAC play. Marist continued their success at McCann Field as their record improved to 11-1 at home this year.
Game Two was a pitchers duel between Marist’s Charlie Jerla and Fairfield’s John Signore. Jerla threw a seven inning complete game, giving up no earned-runs and striking out three. Signore, who entered the game with a 2.81 E.R.A and .250 opponent batting average, pitched a scoreless game until the sixth inning, ultimately pitching a complete game.
Marist was down 2-1 in bottom of the seventh, when Head Coach Chris Tracz was ejected from the game after a short interaction with the umpire arguing balls and strikes.
“He didn’t really say that much. The umpire kinda had a quick trigger,” redshirt senior Kocinski said. “I think it kind of fired us up though. We thought it was a bit unfair. So we wanted to take advantage and use it as momentum to get us rolling, and we did.”
After the ejection, the dugout and fans on the Marist side got rowdy and the energy in the park picked up. It was a 72 degree day in Poughkeepsie, and as a result there was a big turnout with an estimated 235 in attendance for the sunny doubleheader.
“At the end of the game they got a little scared. They panicked a little bit because big crowd means big noise, that definitely plays in our favor,” Kocinski said.
Matt Iantosca got the rally started with a single that dropped to center field. Marist third base coach, Eric Pelletier, who took control of the head coaching duties after the ejection, then sent Chris Tracz up to pinch hit. Tracz singled to right field and advanced the tying run to third. Coach Pelletier called time to chat with the next hitter up Lazar.
With one out, Lazar dropped a surprise bunt down, scoring pinch runner Scabo from third and the speedy Lazar beat out the pitcher’s throw to first for a single.
“Laz did a good job getting the squeeze down. The best part was that our freshman pinch runner [Armitage], in one of his first times on the basepath this year, saw third was open and advanced to third,” Pelletier said.
The call was risky but Pelletier had confidence in Lazar’s speed and bunting ability. “It is something we practice a lot and he takes pride in,” Pelletier said.
After tying the game, Fairfield walked Andrew Rouse to load the bases. Then, Kocinski finished things off with some late-inning heroics—but he couldn’t do the job alone.
“It is the one year anniversary of my grandfather’s death. He was with me in the box right there,” Kocinski said. “I looked up during my last at bat and thought ‘help me out here, help the guys out.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”