BRONX, NEW YORK, March 18- A five-run sixth inning, and seven shutout innings on the mound from Scott McClennan (Highland Mills, N.Y./Cornwall), led the Manhattan baseball team to a 7-1 victory over Massachusetts in the final game of the “Strike Out Cancer” Tournament at Seton Hall. The Jaspers (6-9) went 3-1 on the weekend, splitting two games with the host Pirates while sweeping the Minutemen.
As was the case for most of the weekend, a pitchers duel ensued at Owen T. Carroll Field with neither squad mustering much of a threat through the first five innings. Despite UMASS getting a runner on base in all but one inning, McClennan did not allow a anyone past second base in his seven innings of work. Minutemen starter Jordan Pace was solid through his first five frame allowing just three singles before Manhattan broke through.
Entering the top of the sixth in a 0-0 tie, Nick Camastro (Lagrangeville, N.Y./Arlington) led off with a single to center before Aidan John O’Leary (Portsmouth, N.H./Portsmouth) laid down a bunt single to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Kyle Murphy (Waterbury, Conn./Holy Cross) also singled up the middle for the Jaspers but UMASS centerfield Kellen Pagel misplayed the ball, allowing Camastro to score to give Manhattan a 1-0 lead on the error.
The Jaspers would not let up as Ramon Ortega (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus) singled to bring in another run before Brendan Slattery (Danbury, Conn./Brookfield) doubled home two more, leaving the score 4-0 Manhattan with one on and nobody out. After a pop up off the bat of Vin Teixeira (Hamden, Conn./Hamden Hall Country Day) registered the first out of the frame, freshman Chris Reynolds (Wall, N.J./St. Rose) singled home Slattery for the final run of the inning.
McClennan did not allow the Minutemen to regain any momentum, working around a two out single from Nik Campero in the bottom half of the frame. After the Jaspers went in order in the top of the seventh, UMASS looked to go to work in the home half. A leadoff double from Dylan Begin was quickly erased when McClennan picked him off at second for the first out. Pagel would single and steal second to keep the threat alive, but two quick fly outs ended the inning leaving Manhattan up 5-0 after seven.
The Jaspers would add an insurance run in the top of the eighth when Joe Rock (Carmel, N.Y./Kennedy Catholic) worked a bases loaded walk with nobody out to go up 6-0. UMASS would work out of it though as Manhattan left the bases loaded. They would get one more tally in the top of the ninth as Reynolds laced a two out, RBI single up the middle to plate Murphy.
After Michael Scarini (Nanuet, N.Y./Pearl River) tossed a perfect eighth, freshman Chris Liquori (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) came on to seal the deal in the ninth for Manhattan. He would get Campero to ground out weekly back to the mound for the first out before Adam Picard homered to left for the Minutemen’s only run of the game. A Pagel ground out would follow before Liquori walked the bases loaded with two outs. The rookie was able regain his composure and induced a game ending fly out to left.
McClennan (1-1) got his first win of the season allowing only four hits through seven innings walking three and striking out two. Pace (1-1) took the loss for UMASS giving up six runs in seven innings on 11 hits while striking out four.
McClennan was one of two Jaspers named the All-Tournament Team, along with fellow starting pitcher Michael Martin (Massapequa, N.Y./Chaminade) who also tossed seven shutout innings against UMASS.
Manhattan will now turn their attention to conference play as they take on Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival Iona in a three game this coming weekend. The series begins on Sat., March 23 with a double header starting at noon and concludes on Sun. March 24 with one game beginning at noon in New Rochelle, N.Y.