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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Saints Jump Into Top 4 With Sweep Of Rider

Walk off winner for Mandy Ferro in game two
Siena 16
Rider 0 (5)

Siena 7
Rider 6

The Siena Saints won their fourth consecutive conference game with a sweep of the Rider Broncs Saturday in Loudonville, NY.

Game one in this series was somewhat surreal, with the Saints pounding out 19 hits and scoring 16 runs in four innings in the run rule win. It was so lopsided, one wished that Siena coach Bill Lajeunesse might send in the bat girl as a pinch hitter to show some mercy. The Saints scored six runs in the first inning; seven runs in the third inning, and three runs in the fourth inning. Home runs were hit by Abby Carpenter, Shannon Jones and Mikaela Searight. Abby was 3 for 3 with three RBIs; Shannon was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Stephanie Viggiano and Mandy Ferro each had three hits. Meg Volz and Paige Lloyd each had two RBIs. Jessika-Jo Sandrini got the easy win. Ali Meagher took the loss.

However...

As is their style, the shorthanded Broncs bounced back in game two, playing as hard as they could, and very nearly threw a monkey wrench in the Saints' postseason plans. Rider is an amazing team this year. This has happened to them before, but they never get demoralized. Siena found themselves in a real battle in the second game, pulling it out in the seventh inning. But the Saints did take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a Meg Volz RBI and an unearned run scored by Melanie Kalesse. But if they thought they were in for another cakewalk, they were wrong. Rider responded by scoring a run in each of the next four innings to take a 4-2 lead. In the second, Gina McCool singled home a run. In the third, Emily Cottrell singled home a run. In the fourth, Dana Sensi drove one home. And in the fifth, Gina McCool gave the Broncs a two run lead. Freshman Ali Meagher, the Broncs' only pitcher, who had given up so much in game one, pitched markedly better in game two, as she has done in other doubleheaders. I think at this point Siena hit the panic button. They pulled to within 4-3 of Rider in the fifth inning when Alyssa Lancaster's single and an error scored Jessika-Jo Sandrini. The Saints then scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 6-4 lead. Paige Lloyd smashed a lead off homer, then Alyssa Lancaster's two run double gave Siena what seemed to be a comfortable lead headed to the seventh. It wasn't. The Broncs pulled to within one run with Gina McCool's double; they tied the Saints when Mary Rossi hit a two RBI single. But Siena would win the game and get the sweep in the bottom of the seventh, walk off style. After Abby Carpenter singled, and her pinch runner Chelsea Stout was bunted to third, Mandy Ferro calmly delivered the game winning hit, a single to left field, and Siena survived. Jessika-Jo Sandrini picked up her second win of the day to improve to 7-5. Ali Meagher took the loss.

Siena is now 4-2, in the top four, and awaiting the Fairfield Stags, who will be in Loudonville Sunday. Rider fell to 3-7; but you have to admire the way they play in adversity. Down the road, that may serve them well.

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