LEWISTON, NY – The Iona College baseball team pounded out 14 hits, drew five walks and took advantage of seven Niagara errors in a 12-2 win in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at Bobo Field. The Gaels took the three-game series from the Purple Eagles, putting base runners on in every inning except the ninth.
Iona scored four times in the opening frame and never looked back. After to back-to back walks to senior 1B Jimmy Guiliano and freshman CF Jon Budesa, the pair raced home on junior LF Travis Mistretta’s sacrifice attempt when Niagara RHP Liam Stroud’s throw to first bounced down the right field line. Rookie 3B Seth Hoagland drew the third walk of the inning. Mistretta scored from third on junior DH Carmine Palummo’s infield single. After junior SS Vinny DeMaria also walked, junior RF Kyle DiVico picked up an RBI on a groundout for the Gaels’ fourth run.
After threatening in the second and third innings, the Maroon & Gold scored its fifth run on a one-out sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore C Alex Beckett.
Iona’s big inning was the top of the sixth when five runs came across to give the visitors a commanding 10-0 advantage. Sophomore 2B Tyler Bruno single with one out was followed up by a base hit through the right side by Guiliano. With runners on first and third, Budesa attempted a safety squeeze bunt and reached safely to load the bases after Niagara threw home and Bruno correctly decided to hold his base. Mistretta drove in two runs with a single to center field for the team’s first tallies of the frame. Following a Beckett walk, freshman 3B Seth Hoagland’s line drive up the middle plated two more Gael runs. Two batters later, DeMaria singled home Beckett to give Iona a double digit lead.
Niagara got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning. The run was stranded at second after graduate LHP Eddie Macaluso induced two pop outs and a ground out to end the threat. The Purple Eagles scored their second run in the seventh inning off rookie RHP Jared Finkel after back-to-back two out hits.
The Gaels rounded out their scoring when two runs came home on a DeMaria’s single and an error by the Niagara right fielder.
DeMaria and Hoagland were both 3-for-4 with two RBI. DeMaria’s third hit of the contest was his 50th of the year, becoming the 60th player in school history to reach 50 or more hits in a single season. Hoagland also scored twice in the game. Guiliano, Mistretta and Palummo all posted three hits in the win. Budesa scored a team-best three times in the win.
Macaluso picked up his second straight win allowing one run on seven hits over six innings with nine strikeouts. Finkel tossed the seventh and posted two outs in the eighth before sophomore RHP Vinny Martin came on and needed in to record the final out. Senior RHP John Daddino pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
The Gaels complete the 2015 regular season on Thursday and Friday in a three-game series with MAAC rival Manhattan at City Park. First pitch for both days is slated for 3:00 pm.