Moravian falls to Ithaca in NCAA Tournament opener

The seventh ranked and regional top seed Ithaca College baseball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh inning for an 11-2 victory over eighth seed Moravian College in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament Auburn N.Y. Regional being hosted by Ithaca at Falcon Park, home of the Auburn Doubledays.

The Bombers improve to 35-6 on the season and will play fourth seed Farmingdale State in a winner's bracket game on Thursday while the Greyhounds fall to 24-18 on the season and will face Neumann University in the first elimination game of the tournament Thursday morning.

The Greyhounds would get the first hit of the game in the top of the first inning when sophomore outfielder Matt Hanson doubled down the left field line but he was stranded at second.

The Bombers would get on the scoreboard for a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the first. Sophomore outfielder Christian Brown singled to third base and moved to second on an error before scoring on an RBI single from junior third baseman Colby Gee.

Junior outfielder Joseph Connell led off the second with a single for Moravian but was erased by a double play, and the Greyhounds used a double play to get out of the bottom of the second inning.

Freshman outfielder Jimmy McCarthy had a two-out single for Moravian in the third inning but was stranded at first base.

The Greyhounds threatened in the top of the fourth inning. Hanson led off with a single and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Freshman first baseman Charles Savite hit a ground out to move to third base before Connell drew a walk to put runners on the corners. However, Ithaca starter senior Pat Lemmo would get a pair of strikeouts to get out of the inning.

Moravian would tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman catcher Mike Roethke led off with a double past a diving left fielder, and he moved to third on a ground out be freshman second baseman Alex Bull. On the plate, Ithaca threw to third base behind Roethke but the throw ended up down the left field line, allowing him to score the tying run.

Hanson reached on an error to start the sixth inning but Ithaca turned another double play for the first two outs of the inning.

The Greyhounds would take a 2-1 lead with a run in the top of the seventh. Sophomore third baseman Ryan Luke led off the top of the seventh inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore pinch hitter Joey DiSarno. Roethke followed with a single to right field to put runners on the corners again for Moravian. Bull followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to right centerfield to score Luke.

Ithaca answered in the bottom of the seventh inning with four runs to take a 5-2 lead. Sophomore designated hitter Max Addy led off with a walk and scored the tying run on an RBI single by junior outfielder Luke Stark. Brown put the Bombers in front with a two-RBI single up the middle. Brown crossed the plate on an RBI sacrifice fly by junior shortstop Tim Locastro.

Moravian put two runners on base in the top of the eighth but was unable to score. Sophomore shortstop Colin Case led off with an infield single and Hanson followed with his third hit of the game. Ithaca turned another double play and added a ground out to get out of the inning.

The Bombers added six runs to their lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on an RBI bases loaded walk by Locastro, a wild pitch, a two-RBI double by Gee and a two-RBI single by senior catcher Corey Caswell.

Ithaca finished the game with an 11-9 edge in hits with Brown, Gee and senior outfielder Andrew Turner each collecting two hits. Hanson led Moravian at the plate with a three-for-four performance while Roethke was two-for-four.

Junior Robert Solano started on the mound for the Greyhounds, and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and one walk in 6.1 innings. Solano, who falls to 5-3 on the season, became just the second pitcher in school history to toss more than 70 innings in a season with 71.2 innings this spring. Junior Chris Soltys tossed 1.1 innings with four runs on two hits and two walks to go with two strikeouts. Freshman Brett Wagner pitched a third of an inning with two runs on two hits and a strikeout.

Lemmo improved to 10-0 on the season after allowing two runs, one earned, on nine hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts.

First pitch for Thursday is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Falcon Park with the winner moving onto Friday's elimination round.

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