NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College baseball junior LF/1B Jimmy Guiliano's walk-off sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no out in the bottom of the ninth inning propelled the Gaels to an 8-7 win over New York Tech in non-conference action at City Park. Playing in its first night home game in New Rochelle in program history, Iona prevailed in a see-saw matchup that saw three different lead changes in the nine inning contest.
NYIT got on the board in its first at bats, scoring twice on a two-out RBI seeing-eye single by DH Laurent Polenghi. Iona halved the deficit in the fourth. Guiliano led off the frame with a hustle double to left field. Rookie C Chris Russo followed with a run scoring line drive to left field to make the score 2-1.
Similar to its tallies in the opening inning, the Bears used a two-out bloop single by C Robert Fiato to plate two runs in the top of the fifth. The Gaels answered in the bottom of the frame, knotting the score at 4-4. The rally came with two outs and the bases loaded. Sophomore DH Travis Mistretta hit a line shot up the middle to drive in senior CF Joe Torres and sophomore SS Vinny DeMaria. Iona tied the score on an infield hit by sophomore 1B Zach Brown.
The Gaels took a 6-4 lead in the next inning. Rookie 2B Tyler Bruno drew a seven pitch walk to lead off the inning. After stealing second, and a Torres walk, Bruno scored from second on a base hit the other way by DeMaria. After Guiliano was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases, Russo came through with a second RBI single to drive in Torres from third base.
New York Tech added three runs in the top of the eighth inning to regain the lead. Pinch hitter Frank Sanacore delivered the big blow, with a two-run triple into the left centerfield gap.
The Gaels rallied for a tying run in the bottom of the inning without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Guiliano walked. After stealing second, he advanced to third on a ground out. Back-to-back walks to Mistretta and freshman LF Kyle DiVico loaded the bases. On a 1-1 pitch, senior RF Joe Smith took a breaking ball to the helmet and the Gaels tied the game on the hit by pitch.
Iona quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth to set up the walk-off win. Senior 3B Bobby Vitulano laced a single to left center to lead off the frame. After Torres drew a four pitch walk, DeMaria laid down a perfect bunt where all three runners wound up safe on their bases. Guiliano drilled a high fastball on a 2-1 count to deep right field and Vitulano scored the winning run without a throw.
The Gaels recorded 11 hits in the contest. After a team-leading 11 contests this season with multiple-hits, DeMaria recorded his first career three-hit effort and drove in and scored a run. Russo and Vitulano had two hits apiece while Russo and Mistretta each had two RBI. Guiliano scored three runs to go along with his game ending RBI. He was 1-for-2 with two walks and extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Five pitchers combined for the Gaels' win with closer John Daddino earning the win in relief. He pitched two innings allowed two hits and struck out four batters in his first victory of the season while lowering his team-leading ERA to 1.38 on the season.
Fiato and 1B Joshua Canabal each had three this in the contest to lead the Bears. RHP Tommy Cardonna took the loss in relief.
The Gaels look to extend their three-game winning streak this weekend in a MAAC series at Monmouth beginning Saturday.
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