NEW YORK (AP) — Marist women’s basketball coach Brian Giorgis usually tries to avoid fouls. On Saturday at Yankee Stadium, he kept collecting them.
Giorgis cleanly caught two foul balls — in consecutive innings, no less — while sitting in the second deck watching his beloved Cleveland Indians play the New York Yankees.
Not bad for a lifelong baseball fan who’s been to nearly every park in the majors, but had never come close to snagging a souvenir.
“I’m going to play the lottery when I get home,” Giorgis told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
The 62-year-coach has led the Red Foxes to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 berth in 2007. His shutout streak at the ballpark ended in a flash.
Giorgis was watching from the first base side when Cleveland’s Roberto Perez hit a foul in his direction in the fifth inning. Giorgis cradled it into his body as if it was a football.
“I stuck my hands up and they were shaking like crazy. It didn’t bounce and I brought it right into my chest,” he said. “My chest still hurts.”
The next inning, Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit a ball toward Giorgis and he made 2 for 2. A man who had been sitting in front of Giorgis had gone to get food for his family, clearing the way.
“I raised both balls in the air and got a huge cheer from the Yankee crowd,” Giorgis said. “I’ve never had a ball come near me before and here I got two in one day.”
It probably helped that Giorgis was wearing a Lou Gehrig jersey, rather than the one featuring Indians great Bob Feller he’d planned to wear. Giorgis said he once wore a Carlos Baerga jersey to the Bronx ballpark and got booed.
Giorgis gave the Perez ball to the son of the family that was sitting in front of him. An avid baseball memorabilia collector, Giorgis is keeping the Encarnacion ball with hopes of getting it signed one day by the Indians star.
“That’s the keeper,” he said on the train home after the Indians lost 5-2.
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