By Justin Satkowski
PURCHASE - Third-seeded Purchase College pulled away with five runs in the sixth inning and went on to an 8-4 victory over sixth-seeded Mount Saint Mary College in the opening round of the Skyline Conference Tournament. The Panthers improve to 19-11 overall and advance to the weekend’s double elimination stage, while the Knights finish the season at 16-17.
The Knights got off to a quick start with a pair of runs in the first inning. Freshman Mike Leone singled and moved to third on a single from junior Vinnie Carminati. The next batter, senior Michael Matuk, singled to drive home the first run of the game. With runners at first and third, Matuk stole second, and when the catcher’s throw went to the outfield, Carminati came home to make it 2-0.
The Panthers answered with single runs in the first, second, and third innings to take a 3-2 lead after three. The Mount managed just two hits in innings two through six and Purchase pulled away with five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Trailing 8-2, Leone and Carminati put together singles to lead off the eighth, placing runners at first and third. But Matuk grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to put the brakes on a potential rally. Senior Alec Seidman homered to lead off the ninth, cutting the deficit to 8-4, and the Knights would get one final chance. Following singles from sophomore Rocco Pepe and freshman James Nakashian, Carminati drew a walk to load the bases with two outs in the ninth. But Matuk flew out to center field, allowing Purchase to emerge with the 8-4 victory.
Seidman finished 3-for-4 on the day with a run scored and an RBI, while Leone and Carminati each finished with a pair of hits.
Purchase starting pitcher Miller Ludlow worked eight innings to earn the win. He allowed just eight hits and two earned runs while striking out 10. Right fielder Ronald Echavarria went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs, while center fielder Colin Morris added three hits (3-for-4) and a run scored.