May 6-12, 2004
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Enriquez leads Le Moyne bats past Marist
Undoubtedly and deservedly, a three home-run, seven-RBI performance by third-baseman Andre Enriquez will be the most well-remembered aspect of Le Moyne’s 14-8 win over Marist, but equally worth noting was the nervy display put on by reliever Nick Marascia. Le Moyne had built up a convincing 11-5 lead when suddenly a three-run rally put the Red Foxes back into contention in the top of the seventh.
Marist still threatened after the rally with two outs and runners looming on both second and third when middle reliever Chris Bilyk came in, delivering a strikeout. After Bilyk allowed a walk with one out in the eighth, Marascia entered the pictured. Marist’s Keith Brackhold got a single to put Travis Musolf into scoring position, but then Marascia knuckled down. Facing the heart of the Red Foxes’ lineup, he threw back-to-back strike outs to terminate the threat. Le Moyne riposted Marist’s challenge to the lead with three runs in the bottom of the eighth and then Marascia retired all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth to preserve the win and the Dolphins’ dominance over their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rivals. “Nick’s been doing that all year so I didn’t say anything to Nick, I just said come in and do what you do…he’s an experienced veteran,” coach Steve Owens said. “It’s a tough day to pitch today. The wind’s blowing out against a good hitting team, a lot of hard ground balls went through the infield, but I think we minimized when we had to and when they scored, we came back and scored to keep up the distance.”
With the series-clinching win, the Dolphins improved to 16-2 in MAAC play and 24-15 overall, while Marist fell to 12-6, 19-23. The Red Foxes lead the chasing pack in the MAAC as the closest challenger to an overall league title for the Dolphins. Enriquez’s stunning offensive display tied a Le Moyne record for home runs in a game set by teammate Steven Suarez, whose original effort came in 2002 against Virginia Tech. “It was super, he stayed within himself today, he got good pitches to hit…he’s got tremendous power and when he doesn’t try to get too big, he’s a great hitter,” Owens said.
Although none of the Miami product’s home runs were glorified fly balls that escaped the close confines of Dick Rockwell field, two of them were crushed beyond the deepest parts of the center field wall. The seven RBI meant that Enriquez played a direct role in 50 percent of the Dolphins’ scoring Sunday. “Coach told me to relax today and just go. On a day like today where the wind is blowing, you don’t want to do too much, you just want to make sure that you hit for line drives and it will go,” Enriquez said.
After Marist took a one-run lead in the game’s opening inning, Le Moyne pounced. Keith Connors plated Kyle Brown for the Dolpins’ first run with a well-hit ball that veered away from center field and dropped to the right near the track for a double. Enriquez pulled the offensive surge together when he brought in both Connors and Anthony Aquilino on his first home run to give Le Moyne a 4-0 lead. Marist pulled to within one run of the lead courtesy of Bryan Trowler’s three-run homer, but Le Moyne was ready to counter once again in the bottom of the third.
Aquilino sparked the offensive thrust with a solo homer. Then, both Jeff Justice and Mike Affronti got on base with almost identical singles setting up Enriquez’s second three-run home run of the afternoon in the third inning. After Marist scored another run, Le Moyne pulled away again in the bottom of the fifth and then again in the sixth. With two outs, local product Ben Gaal from Christian Brothers Academy hit a driven single that bounded into right center field and Aaron Bulkley drew a walk. Batting at the top of the order, Kyle Brown brought in Gaal from second.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Dolphins extended their lead as Enriquez hit his third and final home run and Brian Hansen scored from third on a pass ball to give the hosts an 11-5 lead. The Red Foxes stormed back with three runs, but Bilyk and Marascia provided damage control and the offense was able to tack on three more runs to keep the lead just that much more beyond breaching.
Le Moyne split with Marist in a Saturday doubleheader, winning the first game by a commanding margin 14-2, but conceding the second 6-3. With Sunday’s victory, Le Moyne secured the series. Owens explained that the primary factor in winning the series could be reduced to the Dolphins simply boasting a better team. “I think we’re a better team and when we go to a third or a fourth game, depth in the bullpen and things like that sometimes start being a factor and today we had good offensive approach,” the coach said. Junior Alan Drechsler, who started, improved his record to 6-0 this season, as he tossed six innings and struck out four to pick up the win. Marascia earned the save.
Enriquez, Aquilino, Affronti, Hansen, and Gaal each had a multi-hit game to lead 15-hit Le Moyne attack. Bulkley went 1-for-2 and walked three times.