NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College baseball team used a six-run, sixth inning rally and a season-high 12 runs and 20 hits in a 12-6 win over Niagara to take the rubber game of a three-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series at City Park. Sophomores 1B Christian Choman and DH Travis Mistretta had four hits apiece and classmate RHP Max Bruckner tossed 4.1 innings of scoreless relief in the victory.
Both teams got on the board in the first inning. Niagara scored its run on a Gael miscue with one out. 2B Mike Furhman beat out a sac bunt attempt and RF Anthony Firenzi scored from second base after a throwing error. Iona's run came when senior CF Joe Torres stole home. Junior LF Jimmy Guiliano attempted to steal second and got himself in a run down to allow Torres to cross the plate without a throw.
The Gaels scored three times in the fourth inning. Mistretta earned his first of three RBI in the contest with a one-out single the other way. After rookie 2B Tyler Bruno walked, senior 3B Bobby Vitulano hit a double off the third base bag to plate two more runs.
Niagara answered in the next half inning with five runs to take a 6-4 lead. Each run was scored with two outs as the Purple Eagles took advantage of walks and hit batters and two timely hits in the frame.
The Gaels broke the game open in the sixth inning off Niagara reliever RHP Geoff Soja. Sophomore SS Vinny DeMaria started the rally with a one-out double to shallow centerfield. Guiliano drove his teammate home with a base hit down the right field line. After an infield hit by freshman catcher Alex Beckett, rookie RF Kyle DiVico hit a run scoring single through the right side and wound up on second base after the throw to third. Choman earned his RBI with a base hit up the middle and was followed by a two-run triple by Mistretta into the right centerfield gap. He scored with Bruno at the plate on a wild pitch to give Iona a 10-6 advantage.
The Gaels added runs in the seventh and eighth innings with RBI singles from Beckett and Bruno.
All nine Iona players recorded hits including six with multiple tallies while seven were responsible for the Gaels runs batted in. Mistretta was 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Choman scored three times and drove in a run and was also 4-for-5 from the plate. Beckett continued his hot week with three hits in five at bats. Guiliano and Torres also had two hits apiece. Torres had two stolen bases to run his Iona-best total to 20 on the season.
Iona starter, freshman RHP Bill Maier allowed all six runs in the first 4.2 innings of the contest. Bruckner came on to toss the final 4.1 and allowed just three base runners on a base hit and two hit batters to earn his second win of the season.
Soja took the loss allowing six runs on nine hits with two walks. Fuhrman and SS Geoff Seto recorded two hits each for the visitors.
The Gaels are back in action this week at St. John's on Wednesday (Apr. 30) at 6:00 pm in a game that can be seen nationally on ESPN3.
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