ASHEVILLE, NC – Bill Maier turned in a second straight solid start for the Iona College baseball team and benefited from an early 3-0 lead to earn a 4-1 victory at UNC Asheville to open a non-conference three-game series this afternoon.
Maier worked through nine hits surrendered to move to 2-0 on the season in the same amount of starts, adding five strikeouts while not walking a batter with one run surrendered. Jared Finkel earned the save by striking out six of the seven batters he faced while Andrew Camiolo added a scoreless inning of relief.
The Gaels (3-1) plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning to claim the first lead of the contest. Alex Beckett and Lou Matarazzo led off the frame with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, before Stephen Hansen put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners.
In the next at-bat, Tyler Bruno single to drive in the first run before to score Matarazzo after Beckett scored the opening run on a wild pitch. During the fifth inning, Iona added a third run as Jon Budesa scored an unearned run on a wild pitch after reaching on an error earlier.
UNC Asheville (3-5) led the bottom half of the fifth with a triple followed by a double to cut the deficit to 3-1. However, after Finkel struck out three in the eighth, the Maroon & Gold added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Fran Kinsey scored a bases loaded walk to Hansen.
Finkel closed out his second save of the season in the ninth with three straight strikeouts on called third strikes. Iona was able to offset a 10-7 advantage in hits for Asheville by producing eight walks.
Both teams return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm.
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