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          Release: 02/19/2010
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Courtesy: Stockton Photo Inc.

DURHAM, NC - In his first appearance since May. 7, 2007, a span of nearly three years, senior LHP Justin Wiley pitched seven strong innings to propel the Iona College baseball team to the 4-2 win over North Carolina Central University in the team's 2010 opener. Wiley gave up just one unearned run and scattered four hits over the seven frames while striking out nine batters at Durham Athletic Park. It was an emotional effort for the fourth-year performer Wiley who retains sophomore eligibility due to his two straight years of inaction due to injury.

The Gaels opened the afternoon's scoring with a two run second inning. Senior LF Andrew Passerelle opened the inning with a singled through the left side. Next up was junior C Chris Griffin who doubled down the right field line to put two Gaels in scoring position with no outs. With sophomore RF Colin Lyall at bat, a pass ball scored Passerelle and pushed Griffin over to third. Sophomore CF Dean Dignelli picked up an RBI with a ground out that scored Griffin.

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when with two outs, a throwing error by Wiley allowed NC Central's Blake Murray to score. Wiley was able to escape further harm when he struck out NC Central's Anthony Wilson with runners on second and third to end the inning.

The Gaels put another run across un the sixth which began with a single by senior 2B Nick Rossetti and a walk to freshman DH Kyle Charron. Sophomore 3B Chris Burke followed with a single, scoring Rossetti to push the Iona lead to 3-1.

The Eagles cut the lead to one in the eighth inning. Akeem Hood reached on an infield single and moved to second on a Wilson single. He advanced to third via a fielder's choice. A balk by freshman RHP Pete Ladis scored Hood and the scored was 3-2 in favor of Iona.

Passerelle stretched the Iona lead to two when he launched a home run to lead off the top of the ninth inning. Ladis retired NC Central in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the Iona victory.

The Gaels picked up a season-opening win for the first time since the 2000 campaign.  The squad looks for its second win tomorrow afternoon in Durham when they take on Navy.  Junior LHP Brian Callahan takes the hill for the Maroon & Gold against the Midshipmen.


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