ASHEVILLE, NC – The Iona College baseball team rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, however, were unable to get past UNC Asheville in game two of a three-game series as the hosts secured a 10-8 victory.
Trailing 10-5 in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, Joseph Lovecchio singled to right field to drive in two runs to cut the deficit to 10-7 with only one out. In the next at-bat, Matt Byrne singled in Matt Flannery to bring the Gaels (3-2) to within two runs. However, a double play ended the inning and rally as the Bulldogs (4-5) tied the weekend series.
Lovecchio led the Maroon & Gold with three hits and three RBI while Bryne also added three hits to with a run scored and a RBI. Flannery scored twice on the afternoon in addition to Lou Matarazzo notching a homerun.
UNC Asheville jumped ahead to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first behind three hits. Joe Tietjen tripled in two runs to start the scoring before later scoring on a groundout.
Each team scored a run in the third, including Lovecchio’s first RBI single of the day. With the Bulldogs leading 4-1 entering the fifth, the hosts plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning without producing a hit. Tanner Bush produced the first run by being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded followed by Andrew Friedholm scoring on a wild pitch.
Trailing 6-1, the Gaels cut into the deficit in the sixth with three runs. Fran Kinsey drove in the first run with a single to center field to score Byrne. Two batters later, Matarazzo brought Iona within two behind a two-run homerun to left field. The Bulldogs quickly responded to regain a five-run margin on one swing of the bat from Danny Wilson, a three-run homerun to left.
With three hits in the eighth, Seth Hoagland plated Lovecchio to bring the Maroon & Gold to 9-5. Following another Bulldog run in the bottom of the eighth, the Gaels looked to create a rally in the ninth with three runs before the double play ended the threat.
The two teams complete the three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a 12:00 pm first pitch in North Carolina.
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