Leopards send seniors out with win over Niagara
May 9, 2010
EASTON, Pa. - Apparently Lafayette's seniors were not quite ready to end the season as they took Niagara to extra innings before pulling out the 8-7, 10-inning win to sweep the Purple Eagles.
Lafayette (15-30) wrapped up its 2010 season with a three-game sweep of Niagara and won seven of its final nine games.
On Sunday, the Leopards collected 16 hits, led by three apiece from seniors Matt Hall and Brad Weiss and junior Brian Davila. Leadoff hitter Rob Froio went 2-for-5 with three RBI as all but two batters recorded at least one hit for Lafayette.
Senior starter Jeremy Atkins went 8.1 innings and gave up five runs while striking out five batters. He finishes his career with 146 strikeouts, 11th all-time in program history.
Niagara took the first lead of the game. In the second, Atkins allowed three straight hits, the first three of the ballgame, to give the Purple Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Lafayette responded with a two-out rally of its own in the bottom half of that inning. A.J. Pisarri singled to second base and second on a sac bunt. With two outs, Weiss sent him home with a single through the right side.
Atkins ran into trouble in the fourth, putting runners on first and third with no one out. He nearly got out of the jam, retiring the next two batters, but gave up a two-run single to Adam Wagner, making it 3-1.
Like earlier in the game, the Leopards' offense responded in its half of the inning. Weiss knocked a one-out double to right field and Davila sent him home with a single through the left side. Froio came up with the game-tying hit, a single to left center that sent Davila home.
A Niagara error to leadoff the fifth eventually allowed Lafayette to score the go-ahead run. Justin Shepherd took second on a miscue by third baseman Trevor Rutkowski and Matt Fenster drove him home with a single to right field.
Atkins worked around what could have been a costly throwing error by Shepherd in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two men out, he got Wagner to ground out and escape out of the inning without allowing a run.
The Leopards tacked on a run in the sixth when Weiss scored his second run of the game following a fielder's choice on a Froio groundout.
Atkins remained as the game headed into the ninth. He gave up a run on a two hits and a wild pitch and Joe Kinney brought in Jack Rems with one out and runners on first and second. Rems gave up a walk to load the bases and the Leopards called on closer Jeff Snell.
Jason Cramer reached on a fielder's choice, allowing the tying run to score. The Leopards went down one-two-three in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
In the 10th, Snell gave up two-out RBI hits to Matt Wietlispach and Cam Stykemain as the Purple Eagles went up 7-5. Sophomore reliever Sean McGrath entered the game and got Stephen Smith to strike out looking.
The Leopards put their first two runners aboard to open the 10th. Froio and Shepherd came through with back-to-back RBI hits to right field, knotting the game at seven. Fenster secured the series sweep with a sac fly to left and Froio came home with the winning run.
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