Courtesy: Fairfield University

Stags Fall Just Short, Ending their 2017 Season

Courtesy: Fairfield University
May 27, 2017

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – If there is one thing that we have grown to love about this Fairfield University baseball team over the last few years, is that they have never given up, usually finding exciting magic game after game. We saw that same effort throughout this tournament, however, this time the magic was not behind their sails, and neither was the wind as the Stags fell within a foot of another exciting win. Mac Crispino's bid for a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth was caught by Iona's right fielder right up against the wall putting an end to a 7-6 Fairfield defeat and also the 2017 season.

The setback officially eliminates the Stags from the MAAC Championships and puts an end to a season that featured 31 victories and their second-straight regular season championship.

The Gaels who have been the magical team so far in Niagara Falls, tied the contest three different times before blowing the game open with three runs in the seventh. The highlight of the frame came when pinch hitter Lou Matarazzo line a two-run single to give the Gaels a 7-4 lead.

The Stags (31-23) would score the game's next two runs including putting the tying run on board in the ninth on a Troy Scocca RBI single, before Iona kept their magical run alive with the final catch.

The Stags were the first team on the board as they plated two runs in the third inning. Tim Zeng lined the first pitch of the inning into right center for a single, which set the tone for the frame. Zeng would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Gambardella and later to third on a balk. The pace setter would score on an infield single by Jack Gethings. The Stags would load the bases and add another run on a fielder's choice by Scocca.

David Sacco was as impressive as he could be through the first three innings, allowing a lone Iona hit while striking out four. The Gaels figured out the junior right hander the second time through the lineup as they were able to even the game on a two-out, two-run single by Sean Scales in the fourth.

The pair of Zeng and Gethings also contributed to the third run for the Stags. Zeng worked out a two-out seven pitch walk in the fourth and would score on a RBI single by Gethings. Arciuolo added to the lead with a RBI single as the next batter.

Arciuolo was a part of another big play in the bottom half of the frame as the center fielder threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end the inning.

The Gaels would have more opportunities and would take advantage. Iona would tie the game in the sixth, but had their big inning in the seventh when a throwing error would plate the first run. Iona added two more and Iona's bullpen sealed the rest.

The best chance for the Stags came with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh. Scocca crushed a ball to deep right center field where the center fielder Fran Kinsey was able to run down and snow cone for the first out. He was also able to double off the runner off of second base.

Gethings led the team with four hits, bringing his season total to 76 which will finish one shy of the program's single season mark. Arciuolo both added a pair of hits as he finishes the year with 74.

As a team, the Stags will end the campaign one victory shy of the single season record which was set in 2014 and 2016, the last two times they reached the MAAC Championships.

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