On Saturday afternoon the Marist Red Foxes took care of business in the first game of their double header against conference foe Niagara University. After both contests, they now have won three of their last four games late into the season and sit in fifth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
First pitch for game one was approximately 12:00 p.m., and the route was clear early on for the Red Foxes. Senior outfielder Frankie Gregoire added onto his impressive campaign blasting a three-run homerun to left field in the first inning.
The bats were alive and Gregoire’s teammates followed in his footsteps. The Red Foxes smashed four homeruns and scored a run in every inning, absent of the eighth and ninth, and finished game one with 19 runs and 17 hits. They won the first game 19-3.
Sophomore Alex Pansini tossed an absolute gem going 8.0 innings pitched, allowing only five hits and two runs. He also struck-out eight batters. Pansini will need his rest, but he gave the bullpen a nice break by throwing a total of 133 pitches. Sophomore Trevor Backman entered in the ninth and ended the impressive win for Marist.
Unlike the first one, game two was a pitchers’ duel from the start. It was junior Matthew Brash from Niagara University who went head-to-head with Marist’s red-shirt senior Tony Romanelli.
The score remained tied at zero until the top of the third inning when redshirt senior for Niagara, Darian Blanks singled to left-field. He followed his single by stealing second-base and was eventually driven in for the first run of the game on an RBI single by Dawson Bailey.
Niagara stayed hot in the next inning when freshman Max Giordano doubled down the left-field line and after a sacrifice bunt, Giordano advanced to third base. He was driven in by a sacrifice fly to right field.
Marist couldn’t muster anything until the fifth inning. Second baseman Anthony Lazar started the inning with a single up the middle. Senior Tyler Kapuscinski followed and reached safely on an error. The stage was set for sophomore Robbie Armitage and he came through in the clutch for Marist, tattooing a three-run homerun to centerfield and Marist took a 3-2 lead heading to the sixth inning.
After walking Armitage’s brother Reece on four straight pitches, Niagara decided to pull starter Brash ending his game with a stat line of 4.2 innings pitched, five allowed hits, three runs, and seven strikeouts.
For Romanelli, he was pulled in the sixth after pitching into trouble. His final stat line featured 5.0 innings pitched, six hits allowed, five strikeouts, and two-earned runs.
After Armitage’s big homerun, Niagara quickly tied the score in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, freshman Josh Marchese hit a sacrifice fly to left field. The threat was subdued when sophomore Nick Cantone came into relief with two outs and the bases loaded. He struck out Blanks.
In the bottom of the same inning, Robbie was put into another clutch situation. After two two-out walks to Anthony Lazar and Kapuscinski, Robbie came to the plate with the chance to give Marist another lead, but he struck out to end the inning.
Niagara took the lead back with a two-run homerun off the bat of freshman Joey Battaglia, in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom half of the inning, senior Randy Taveras walked, and the tying run was on board for Marist. Gregoire reached on an error and then he and Taveras advanced another base on an error in the outfield.
The Red Foxes had the chance to tie the game or end it in walk-off fashion, with runners on second and third and no-outs, junior pitcher Yohn Zapata-Baez proceeded to strike out Reece and Gene Napolitano. Freshman Brian Hart came to the plate as the winning run with two outs and the runners still on base. But he struck out swinging on the 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Marist split their doubleheader with Niagara, and look to take the series on Sunday April 28.
Edited by Meaghan Roche