BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Iona College baseball team earned a 6-3 win over Sacred Heart in non-conference action at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. A two-run double in the sixth inning by junior 2B Bobby Vitulano and five strong relief innings by red shirt freshman Mariano Rivera led the Gaels in the victory.
Each team got a run in their first at bat. The Gaels struck first. With one out, junior RF Joe Smith singled to right field. An error by the Pioneer outfielder allowed junior CF Joe Torres to race around from first and gave the Maroon & Gold a 1-0 advantage.
The Gaels jumped ahead 2-1 in the third. Smith again drove in Torres from first base, this time with a clean double to right center. Sacred Heart would knot the score at 2-2 an inning later.
With two-out, rookie 1B Christian Choman singled to center. After stealing second base, sophomore LF Jimmy Guiliano drew a walk. Vitulano followed with the eventual game-winning hit chasing Sacred Heart starter Connor Landers.
Iona added two more runs to their advantage in the seventh inning. With two out, and senior 3B Matthew Kriss on base, Torres smashed his second collegiate home run, a two-run shot over the left field fence to give Iona a 6-2 advantage.
The Pioneers added an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning to round out the scoring.
On the mound, senior RHPs Thomas Kriss, Kenny Dietrich, Conan Leon and Anthony LaFauci each tossed an inning. Dietrich and Leon faced the minimum in their day's work. Rivera took the hill in the fifth and tossed the final five innings, scattering four hits, allowing an unearned run with a walk and a strikeout in his first collegiate win.
Torres went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two more driven in. Smith also posted two hits in the win.
Iona is back in action tomorrow and Friday in a three-game series with MAAC rival Canisius at City Park in New Rochelle. The Gaels and Griffs square off in a single game Thursday at 2:00 pm before a noon doubleheader the following day.