Pitching and Defense Step Up to Help Marist Even Series with Iona

After dropping the first game of the double header, the Red Foxes looked to even the three-game series against conference rivals Iona Gaels. A couple of huge home runs and some phenomenal pitching and defense gave Marist enough to win game two 5-1. 

Senior pitcher Drake Quinn got the start for the Foxes and was incredible early on, striking out 8 of Iona’s batters and only allowing two hits in what would be his first win of the season. 

“I definitely noticed that they like to chase sliders down and away, and also try to keep them off balance by mixing in outside fastballs with my offspeed,” said Quinn, when asked about what he noticed in the first game. 

The defense behind Quinn helped, backing up their pitcher making play after play to keep the Gaels off the bases. The Red Fox defense forced four 1-2-3 innings in the first five, showing much-needed adjustments after conceding 13 runs in the first game of the double-header. 

“We pitched it better. We were in the zone, Quinn got us an incredible start, probably his best start of the year.” said Marist’s head coach Lance Ratchford. “Backs were against the wall and there was definitely a different mentality in game two.”

Justin Kapuscinski started the scoring in the second inning with a lead-off moonshot to left field to put the Red Foxes on top 1-0. This was the seniors third home run of the season, coming at a great time to put the Foxes on the board first.

“The first game I was kind of struggling a little bit,” said Kapuscinski, “the at-bats changed just from simplifying everything, just seeing ball, hitting ball.” 

 Kapuscinski has continued to be a huge contributor for the Marist offense and he sparked momentum again in the bottom of the sixth with a double, going on to score. The senior reached base four times on four at-bats and scored three times in this game, in what has been an incredible season for the Red Foxes’ first baseman.  

“Contributing is just being there for my boys right now and just hitting the ball. That’s the best way I know how to contribute and I’m doing everything I can to be there for my guys,” said Kapuscisnki. 

Neither team would find the scoreboard again until a Dylan Hoy two-run homer to right in the fifth inning. The senior’s third home run on the season extended the lead to 3-0 for Marist. Hoy has been another great contributor to the Red Foxes this season as he continues to get on base and drive in big runs, while also holding down the shortstop position beautifully for his team. 

Iona secured their lone run of the game when a one-out walk followed by an error had the Gaels threatening with the top of their lineup leading off in the sixth inning. A soft hit line drive to center moved the lead runner to third who was promptly driven in with a single to right, giving the Gaels their first run of the game. Quinn’s eighth strikeout of the game ended the inning, forcing Iona to strand 2 base runners. 

Quinn’s great night came to a close before the start of the seventh inning as the lefty sophomore Jack Bowery came on in relief. Bowery continued Marist’s stellar pitching, closing out the game for the Foxes with four strikeouts in the long save effort, his first save of the season. 

“Quinn carried us to the seventh inning and then Jack Bowery just shut the door,” said Ratchford.

Following a disappointing 13-7 loss in the first game of the double header, Ratchford put the Foxes on the right path to take game two, with his pitching core responding immediately to a disappointing game one.

“I thought the first game was one of the worst games we played all year, in a big game, and we rose to the occasion in game two with our pitching,” Ratchford said. “We can be happy about it, but we have to flip the script to game three.”

The final game of this key series for the Foxes will take place on Sunday, April 30, the game which Ratchford pointed out to be “one of the biggest of the season,” will be moved to Bard College due to weather concerns, with a potential rainout depending on the weather in Red Hook.

“We have to win this series, point blank, that’s what has to happen, that was the conversation we had after the game,” said Ratchford. 

Following the two games today, the Foxes remain .500 at home this season and will have a couple of days to rest before traveling to Bard College for the final game of the three game series with Iona. Marist is now 11-30 (5-9 in MAAC play) this season, hoping to get another win on Sunday.

Edited By Dan Aulbach

Photo From Marist Athletics

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