Marist baseball began their season later than any other team in the MAAC. However, despite all the obstacles that plagued them, the Red Foxes remained resilient and finished the regular season 17-9 (5th seed). In game one of the best of three MAAC quarterfinal matchup against Canisius (4th seed), Marist fell 8-3.
The first inning of this game was very active on both sides. Marist struck early, with senior third baseman Robbie Armitage driving in two runs in the top of the inning. While the bottom half saw Canisius freshman Carlin Dick hit a leadoff home run off Junior Ryan Cardona. The Red Foxes ace then loaded the bases, but was able to escape the jam with a pivotal strikeout.
Marist held a 3-1 lead through three, but the fourth inning would lead to their unraveling. Following a Cardona bases loaded walk to bring the game within one run, Canisius graduate student Jacob Victor found a hole on the left side of the infield to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs.
“That one extra base hit that scored two runs kind of broke the game open,” head coach Chris Tracz said. “They were the aggressors in the first game.”
Sophomore Dylan Hoy made his best efforts to keep the Red Foxes in this game. The shortstop was all over the diamond, contributing two hits and providing impeccable glove work, including a sparkling leaping catch in the fifth inning.
“He’s been outstanding, one of the best players at shortstops in our league and he showed that today,” Tracz said.
Unfortunately for Marist, even Hoy’s defensive wizardry could not prevent Canisius from taking game one. The Golden Griffins pulled away in the later innings with four insurance runs in the seventh and eighth, while graduate student Kyle Warner closed out the game with an impressive 5⅔ innings of scoreless baseball.
After a challenging game one, the Red Foxes rebounded strong in game two to stay alive and force a winner-take-all game three, winning 12-6 in a slugfest.
Game two did not get off to a great start for Marist, falling into an early four-run deficit. However, instead of panicking, the Red Foxes kept their composure and rebounded in a major way. The Marist bats emerged with vengeance from the third to the fifth inning, scoring eleven runs during that span.
“We’ve scored in bunches all year and once we’ve got some momentum we can play downhill as good as anybody,” Tracz said.
Junior Niko Amory helped lead the offensive charge, going 3 for 5 with a two-run home run to cap off the teams tenth and eleventh consecutive runs scored.
“He [Amory] just got in a good place and put together some really good at bats and some great swings,” Tracz said.
Senior Alex Pansini started game two for the Red Foxes and despite allowing six earned runs, including four in the first, he was able to get the team through 5⅓ innings. Junior Erubiel Candelario relieved Pansini, even though he is normally used as a starter. Coach Tracz wanted to ensure that this game was secured and made sure to use his best weapons to reach the finish line.
Candelario somewhat mimicked Warner’s performance in game one, throwing 3⅔ scoreless innings to close the game.
“The season’s over, if you don’t win. So the thought process is let’s get to game three,” Tracz said. “I thought the best move right there was to go to a Erubiel who I thought was a great matchup for them and he was awesome.”
Marist plays game three tomorrow with the season on the line. The winner will play Fairfield in the semifinals.
Edited by Nick Stanziale
Photo from Marist College Athletics