NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (March 24, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball team won its Skyline Conference-opener against St. Joseph's-Brooklyn, 6-1, on Saturday morning at Flower Park, home field of Iona College in Westchester County. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 12-2 (1-0 Skyline) on the season, while the Bears fall to 0-12 (0-1 Skyline) in defeat.
Senior starter Justus Martin (Eaton, Colo.) was brilliant in his outing, as he picked up his second victory of the season (2-1) with a complete game – allowing just one unearned run on three hits over nine innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts.
The Mariners got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth when senior Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.) extended his hit-streak to nine games with an RBI double to left field that plated junior Jesse Reinebold (Granger, Ind.). Barnes advanced to third on a fly out and then scored on freshman Alex Mesaros' (Pittsburgh, Pa.) bloop-single down the right field line.
USMMA added two more runs in the sixth after freshman Colin Baker (Clyde Hill, Wash.) swiped home on a failed squeeze play and the pitch got by the Bears' catcher, followed by a sacrifice fly by Mesaros that scored junior Kyle Cunningham (Panama City Beach, Fla.) and made the score 4-0 in favor of the Mariners.
Both teams then traded unearned runs in consecutive half-innings, with the Mariners tacking on one in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-0 lead, before St. Joe's got on the board in the top of the eighth by taking advantage of a Merchant Marine error. USMMA closed out the scoring in the eighth with a sacrifice fly by freshman Vincenzo Alteri (Watertown, N.Y.) that plated Mesaros.
As a team, the Mariners recorded three extra-base hits – a pair of doubles by Barnes and a triple by senior Jacob Sithong (Orlando, Fla.). They also stole five bases on the day – Cunningham had two and Mesaros, Alteri and Baker had the others. Sithong also prevented a potential comeback attempt when it was still just a 2-0 game with a beautiful diving catch on a liner in the top of the sixth.
Mesaros finished the day 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run and was one of six different Mariners to score. Junior Reilly Cherry (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) went 2-for-4 in the game.
For St. Joseph's, sophomore starter Andrew Watters was tacked with the loss after tossing 4.2 innings and allowing two runs on six hits with three Ks. In 0.2 innings of relief, junior Jonathan Schneider allowed two more runs on one hit and classmate J.J. McLaughlin finished the final 2.2 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits.
At the plate, just three Bears recorded one hit apiece. Junior Adam Schwartz had a triple and came around to score SJC's lone run in the eighth, while sophomore William DeLuca added a double in the fourth inning.
Up next, the Mariners will take on Skyline opponent Mount St. Vincent in a night doubleheader tomorrow, Sunday, March 25. The games will take place at Bay County Park in East Rockaway, N.Y., with first pitch of the opener set for 6 p.m.
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