NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- After Rider tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh, the Iona College baseball team rallied for five runs in the bottom half of the inning on the way to a 7-2 MAAC series opening victory at City Park this afternoon.
Following two unearned runs in the top of the seventh, the Gaels (8-10, 2-2 MAAC) used six hits in the bottom of the frame to plate five runs. With one out, Tyler Bruno and Brian Picone put together back-to-back singles. In the next at-bat, Fran Kinsey legged out a triple to score Bruno and Picone to give the Maroon & Gold the lead again.
Iona kept the momentum going as Sean Breen singled in Kinsey to make it 5-2 before Niko Switalla singled to put runners on the corners. With two outs, Alex Beckett doubled home both to lift the advance to 7-2.
After seven shutout innings and being in line for the win, Bill Maier handed the ball off to Andrew Camiolo for the eighth and ninth innings. Camiolo secured the victory for Maier and Iona by not allowing a runner on base throughout his two innings of work.
Maier, who did not allow an earned run, started the first seven innings for the Gaels by scattering six hits with no walks allowed and striking out eight. Offensively, Beckett went 3-for-3 with three RBI, including the seventh inning double. Breen added two hits, two runs and a RBI while Picone scored twice and Switalla produced two hits and a RBI
The Gaels created a 1-0 lead in the opening inning as Switalla drove in Picone after the outfielder led off the inning with a walk. In the sixth, Beckett pushed the Maroon & Gold ahead 2-0 with a RBI single to centerfield on a 1-1 count to score Breen.
Rider (8-13, 1-3 MAAC) tied the game in the seventh on one swing of the bat as Jake Bender single to right center to score two runs. However, Maier limited the damage with a fly ball to end the inning after help from Beckett as the catcher threw out Bender trying to steal second base.
The two teams return tomorrow to conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader scheduled for 1:00 pm at City Park.