MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Manhattanville baseball team swept a pair of games against #7/8 Manchester on Saturday afternoon by the scores of 7-6 and 8-7. In the two games, freshmen Robbie Lynch (Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and Joe Anselmi (North Rockland, N.Y./North Rockland) combined for five hits and five RBIs, while the Valiants bullpen was able to close out each game in the end.
The wins mark the first over a nationally ranked team since a 12-9 victory over #7 Eastern Connecticut State on March 29, 2011, and is the first time the Valiants have taken two from a nationally ranked foe since begining the 2008 season with 5-3 and 3-2 victories over #3 Kean on March 2, 2008.
In the opener, newcomer Zack Eklund (West Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) took the mound for his first start as a Valiant, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven total hits. Senior Joe Pareres (Bronxville, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and sophomore Sam Garito (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep) came on strong in relief, giving up no runs in 1 2/3 innings before junior Joe Palmeri (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport/South Manor) closed the game for Manhattanville in the seventh inning.
At the plate, Manhattanville scored three runs in the top half of the first inning as Lynch and fellow classmate John Delahanty (Mahopac/N.Y.) were able to drive in the first runs of the game. Delahanty reached base on an error, scoring sophomore Jordanis Nunez (Bronx, N.Y./St. Raymond), while Lynch knocked in sophomore Chris Lattarulo (Armonk, N.Y./Byram Hills) and junior Bobby Guerra (Bronx, N.Y./Arlington) off a single to left field.
After giving up two runs to the Spartans in the bottom of the first, the Valiants were able to get one back as junior Nick Euvino (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) reached first base on an error, scoring sophomore Kurt Hommen (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood), making it 4-2 Manhattanville.
Manchester answered the two-run deficit in the second inning, scoring three runs and taking a 5-4 lead into the third inning. Down by one run, Manhattanville responded with one run in the next three innings, obtaining a 7-5 lead in the fifth inning. Lynch came up big again in the fifth, smacking a double and scoring Delhanty for the seventh Valiants run.
The Spartans were able to get one run back in the bottom half of the seventh before Palmeri picked up the save, solidifying a win for the Valiants in their season opener with a 7-6 final over the seventh ranked team in the nation.
In game two, Manhattanville sent senior V.J. Collins (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Arlington) for a start in the crimson and white. Collins allowed six earned runs in 6 2/3 innings of work before junior Zack Zareva (Warren, N.J./Watchung Hills Regional) came on to finish off the Spartans. Instead of playing a normal seven innings, both teams agreed to play nine as Zareva pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and picking up the win for Manhattanville.
Manchester provided its potent offense in the second game as the Spartans jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first four innings of play. The Valiants needed a spark and they were able to get one from Anselmi in the fifth. After a double by Anselmi knocking in Delahanty, the Valiants rattled off five runs in the fifth inning, pulling the game within one run, 6-5. Junior Nate Trashansky (Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) came up huge in the fifth as a pinch hitter, stroking a double into centerfield, scoring two.
The Spartans were able to get one more run in the sixth inning which was unearned, making it 7-5. Although down by two runs late in the game, the Valiants refused to back down.
Sophomore Cody Polchinski (Yonkers, N.Y./Iona Prep) got a late rally started, singling to right field, scoring Anselmi in the sixth. The Valiants scored one run for the next two innings, taking a lead over the Spartans, 8-7. Guerra knocked in the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the eighth inning on a single to center field as Nunez came in to score.
With an 8-7 lead headed into the final inning, Zareva remained composed, punching out the Spartans 1-2-3, sealing the doubleheader sweep over #7/8 Manchester.
Manhattanville (2-0) will return to the field on Sunday afternoon for a doubleheader against Muhlenberg beginning at 12 p.m.