March 13, 2009


Nickel, Gardner lead Dragons

AUBURNDALE, FLA. – Juniors Steve Nickel and Andersen Gardner each drove in runs in a two-run eighth inning Thursday as the nationally 15th-ranked SUNY Cortland baseball team rallied for a 5-4 win over previously undefeated Rhode Island College.
Junior George Jweid earned the victory with two and two-third innings of scoreless relief. He allowed two hits and no walks and struck out two. He earned his first victory since defeating Ithaca in the championship game of the 2007 NCAA Division III New York Regional. Jweid pitched only nine innings over four games last season due to injury and just one third of an inning previously this season.
Sophomore Mike Assmann started for the Red Dragons (6-3) and gave up four runs, three earned, in six and one-third innings. He scattered seven hits and one walk and struck out eight. Bobby Fournier started for RIC and struck out 12 Red Dragons in six and two-third innings. He gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks and received a no decision. Jeff Costa led the Anchormen offensively with a 3-for-5 effort and Josh Cardoso was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Cortland trailed 4-3 after seven innings. After sophomore Zach Reynolds led off the top of the eighth with a walk, pinch runner Matt June stole second and took third on the play due to a wild throw. Nickel followed with an RBI double to tie the game and Gardner singled to drive in Nickel with what proved to be the winning tally.
The Red Dragons took a 2-0 lead in the second. Nickel singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Gardner walked and, two batters later, senior John Zilnicki singled in Nickel with Gardner moving to third. A double steal accounted for the second run.
The Anchormen grabbed the lead with three runs in the third. With one out, Jared Rossi walked and Costa singled him to third. Jordan Amorin drove in a run with a groundout to second and a Tim Schabowski single put runners on first and third. Cardoso followed with a two-run double.
Cortland tied the game in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Mike Salvatore led off with a single and was bunted to second by Shawn Bailey. Pinch runner Ryan Benson moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jason Simone’s RBI single.
RIC regained the lead in its half of the seventh. Costa reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third when a strikeout in the dirt required a throw to first base to record the out. Jweid entered the game and struck out the first batter he faced before Cardoso reached on an error that allowed Costa to score. Jweid allowed one hit in the eighth, and he gave up a Costa leadoff single in the ninth. He fanned the next batter and induced a double-play grounder as first baseman Alex Coffey fielded the ball, touched first and threw to second for the tag play to end the game.
Nickel finished the game 2-for-4 and Simone and Mike Avery each went 2-for-5 to account for six of Cortland’s nine hits.

Cortland 5, Rhode Island College 4
Cortland 020 000 120 — 5 9 4
R.I. College 003 000 100 — 4 9 1
Cortland: Mike Assmann, George Jweid (7) (W, 1-0) and Andersen Gardner. RIC: Bobby Fournier, Kyle Dumont (7), Bobby Venditto (8) (L), Eric Fama (8), Paul Vatter (9) and Jordan Amorin.
2B- Steve Nickel (C), Josh Cardoso (RIC).