2-run 8th leads Hall over Iona
The baseball team defeated the Iona Gaels 4-2 Wednesday behind seven shutout innings from sophomore starter Anthony Elia.
In the top of the second inning, the Gaels were threatening to score after back to back singles from Zach Brown and Joe Smith. Elia got out of the inning with a strike him out, throw him out double play.
Pirates senior shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio got the offense going for the Hall in the second inning, singling up the middle in his first at-bat against Mariano Rivera Jr., son of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Sophomore third baseman Kyle Grimm followed up with a single, advancing Papaccio to third on a hit-and-run. Freshman Zack Weigel then scored Papaccio with a single to right.
“That (small ball) is our style of play, that’s the way we want to play,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “We count on the defense and the best way to do that is to get guys on base.”
The Pirates also found success with Elia who tossed seven innings giving up six hits, no runs, and four strikeouts.
The game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when the Pirates resorted to more small ball. Papaccio led the inning off with a line drive single up the middle. Papaccio advanced to second on a passed ball and later scored on a Weigel sac fly to centerfield, to give the Pirates the 2-0 lead after six.
“I just stayed short, when I saw it out of his hand, I tried to make the best decision to swing or to take from the get go,” Papaccio, who finished 3-4, said. “I wasn’t guessing on any pitches, I was just staying true to myself and I ended up with a couple of hits.”
The Pirates had an opportunity to extend their lead in the bottom of the seventh after a triple from senior left fielder Ryan Sullivan and a walk by classmate Scott Kalamar. Gaels pitcher Matt Marley was able to get Papaccio to fly out to deep centerfield though to end the frame.
Defensively, it was smooth sailing for the Pirates until the eighth inning when junior Josh Prevost, who came in relief for Elia, allowed the bases to be loaded after surrendering a walk and a pair of singles.
Freshman Luke Cahill came on in relief to try to hold onto the lead; however, two singles by the Gaels tied the game at 2-2.
Fortunately for the Pirates, they were able to retake the lead in their half of the eighth.
Sophomore Tyler Boyd led off the inning with a walk and was pinch run for by freshman Derek Jenkins. He advanced to second base on a throwing error by pitcher Marley. Grimm reached on a bunt single, advancing Jenkins to third. Grimm then stole second. Junior catcher Dillon Hamlin kept the inning going with a two-run single to right, giving the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
The Hall then called on junior closer Brian Gilbert who completed a one-two-three ninth inning to win the game for the Pirates.
The team begins a conference series with the Georgetown Hoyas this weekend at home.
David Heim can be reached at email@example.com.