Manhattanville Off to Best Start Since 1985 with Sweep of Muhlenberg

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Manhattanville baseball team swept a pair of games for the second straight day as the Valiants defeated Muhlenberg by the final scores of 3-0 and 9-7 on Sunday afternoon. Senior Alex Basso (Putnam Valley, N.Y./Putnam Valley) picked up right where he left off a season ago, throwing an absolute gem in game one, going the distance and delivering a complete-game shutout.

With four wins to start the 2014 season, Manhattanville (4-0) is off to the best start to a season since 1985, when the Valiants won the first 11 games of the season and finished the year with a program-record 32 wins.

Basso made his first start of the 2014 season in game one against the Mules and certainly did not disappoint. The senior threw for nine strikeouts, allowing no runs or walks while only giving up four hits for his eight career complete game in the 3-0 win.

The first game was kept scoreless until the fourth inning when freshman John Delahanty (Mahopac/N.Y.) doubled down the left field line, scoring classmate Chris Conklin (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Lakeland) and junior Kevin Brady (Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep), putting the Valiants up 2-0. Manattanville added another run an inning later as junior Bobby Guerra (Bronx, N.Y./Arlington) singled through the right side, knocking in freshman Joe Anselmi (North Rockland, N.Y./North Rockland).

Up 3-0 after five innings, Manhattanville sat comfortable as the Valiants' ace Basso continued dealing on the rubber. The Mules were punched out 1-2-3 in the sixth before applying some pressure in the seventh, connecting on two hits in hopes of a comeback. With two runners on, Basso settled down and closed the door, completing the first shutout of his career.

In game two, the Valiants sent junior Michael Lyon (North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) to the hill for his first start of the season. Lyon threw five innings for Manhattanville, giving up four earned runs on five hits before picking up the fourth straight victory for the Valiants. Game two included a lot more offensive production than game one as Manhattanville pulled away with a 9-7 win.

The Mules struck first in game two, scoring on a fielder's choice as sophomore shortstop Jordanis Nunez (Bronx, N.Y./St. Raymond) could only make a play at first base. Muhlenberg held onto its 1-0 lead for the next few innings until the Valiants answered.

Manhattanville made some noise in the fourth inning, tying the game up as sophomore Kurt Hommen (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) manufactured a single through a left side, scoring Anselmi. The scoring in the fourth was not done there as Nunez came up to the plate with two runners on, crushing a 3-run homerun, giving the Valiants a 4-1 lead.

The Valiants continued stringing together runs in the next two innings, building their lead up to seven runs in the sixth inning. Guerra and Brady made it home safely in the fifth while more insurance runs were put on the scoreboard in the sixth. Junior Nick Euvino (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) belted a single up the middle in the sixth inning, scoring Nunez and Hommen for two RBIs. With the speed of Euvino on the base paths, Guerra was able to knock him in with a single to left field, making it 9-2 Manhattanville.

Muhlenberg was able to answer the Valiants offensive pursuit with one of its own in the bottom half of the sixth. As Lyon was taken out of the game with two runners on base, the Mules were able to get the best of the Manhattanville bullpen, scoring five runs in the sixth inning, pulling the game within two, 9-7.

With a two-run lead headed into the final inning, the Valiants turned to their closer Joe Palmeri (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport/South Manor) to seal the deal. Palmeri entered the game in relief of sophomore Sam Garito (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep) with two outs and got the out he needed, picking up his ninth career save in the 9-7 win.

The Valiants will take the field again tomorrow for two games. Manhattanville will face off with Staten Island at 10 a.m. before taking on York (Pa.) at 1 p.m.