The Big Two took matters into their own hands, now Siena controls their own fate
Marist 3 (9)
The Siena Saints scored their biggest sweep in many seasons when they took down the Marist Red Foxes on senior day in Loudonville, NY Saturday.
The Saints began the day with their backs up against the wall. Now some other team has to hope they lose tomorrow. The day didn't start well for Siena, as they fell behind the Red Foxes 2-0 in the top of the first inning of game one. Megan Lamoureux's walk, and Dani Koltz's double led to a pair of unearned runs due to an error by first baseman Kayla Kaminsky. It took a while for the Saints to chip away at Marist starter Emily Osterhaus, scoring a run in the third inning when Nastasha Powlowsky singled home Shannon Jones, who had doubled; then again in the fifth inning when Nastasha singled home another run to tie the game. You see, in each instance, Jessika-Jo Sandrini was intentionally walked, and Nastasha made Marist pay. Keep in mind that it didn't work for Marist. This was a close and hard fought game which went to extra innings. Siena almost won it in the bottom of the eighth inning when with two runners on, Lyndsey McKeever hit a sharp single to center field. Alyssa Sceppaguercio was sent home, but Ashley Corriss gunned her down with a perfect throw. This almost cost the Saints dearly, as in the top of the ninth inning, pinch hitter Joelle Zhaka smashed a pitch over the right field fence to give Marist a 3-2 lead. The lead would not last. In the bottom of the same inning, Samantha Ray led off with a single, scampering to second base on a wild pitch. Marist then decided to pitch to Shannon Jones with first base open, probably remembering the failed intentional walks. Uh uh. Game over. Shannon ripped a pitch over the right field fence, lifting the Saints to victory and new hope for the postseason. Shannon was 3 for 3 in this game with two walks.
Game two started much the same way as game one, with Marist the beneficiary of a Siena error which allowed an unearned run. This time a dropped ball by left fielder Mandy Ferro gave the Red Foxes a 1-0 first inning lead. Siena tied the score in the bottom of the second inning when Jen Duell doubled home Meg Volz. Jen had a great day by the way, hitting 5 for 8. The top of the third inning probably had Siena coach Bill Lajeunesse tearing out his hair as his team committed another three errors that allowed Marist to take a 3-1 lead. But at least the inning ended with a nice double play by third baseman Samantha Ray. However, after maybe receiving a "pep talk", the Saints got all those runs back and one more in the bottom of the same inning, thanks to Meg Volz's three run blast over the center field fence. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Marist decided they had better issue Shannon Jones a free pass. Well, Jessika-Jo Sandrini threw a monkey wrench in that plan by driving home Lauren Milligan. Unfortunately for Marist, it wouldn't be the last they'd hear from J-J. Nastasha Powlowsky then sent Shannon Jones home, with her third RBI of the day, and the Saints had a 6-3 lead. At this point, the Red Foxes started to play with desperation, realizing that their whole season could be on the line. In the top of the fifth, Nicole DiVirgilio hit one over center to pull Marist to within two runs. And after Alyssa Zhaka singled, Haley Birnbaum lined a pitch to deep center, good for a triple, and suddenly the Red Foxes were back in it, trailing only 6-5. The bottom of the sixth inning came, and guess who was up? Samantha Ray led off with a very important walk, and it was decision time again for Marist. They pitched to Shannon Jones, and she reached for an offering and hit it for a single. That brought up Jessika-Jo Sandrini. Game over. Let's go home. J-J clobbered a pitch over the center field fence, and the Saints were up 9-5 with their quick strike offense. They smelled blood, and Jen Duel smashed a double good for another two runs. Mandy Ferro singled home another.
Amanda Filippazzo, pitching her final home game, picked up the win. J-J had four RBIs; Jen Duel and Meg Volz, three each.
Now Siena finds themselves in control of their own fate. Win their final two games, and they're in. A split could get them in also, but that's too complicated to go into here.
Marist, at 8-6, is still alive. But they face the task of a road trip to Iona, where they possibly may have to sweep. Very difficult task.