March 25, 2009
HR blow upends Dragons
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland shortstop Andrew Pezzuto leaps over Rochester runner Alex Cagan after forcing him at second. The throw to first was too late to get the double play. Rochester spoiled Cortland’s home opener, winning 5-2.
Rochester was able to do what SUNY Cortland hitters could not accomplish in this early-season baseball match-up of nationally-ranked squads — come up with a clutch hit.
Rochester spoiled the Red Dragons’ home opener with a 5-2 victory Tuesday afternoon at Wallace Field, a three-run homer off the bat of Nathan Stein finishing off a decisive four-run outburst in the top of the sixth inning.
That was the crucial blow in a game where Cortland stranded a dozen base runners, including getting no runs after loading the bases in both the sixth and eighth innings after falling behind against the visiting Yellowjackets.
Rochester is now 12-2 on the season and ranked eighth nationally in the American Baseball Coaches Association Division III national poll. The Yellowjackets were among those teams also receiving votes in the D3baseball.com rankings.
Cortland, ranked 15th by the ABCA and 17th by D3baseball.com, falls to 11-6 heading into SUNY Athletic Conference play as the defending champions.
With today’s scheduled trip to Mount St. Vincent postponed until April 26, the Red Dragons host Oswego at noon Saturday in a conference doubleheader. The Red Dragons will also play a non-conference twin bill at Wallace Field against Cazenovia College on Sunday, that first pitch at 1 p.m.
The Red Dragons had just seven hits in the loss to Rochester, catcher Andersen Gardner going 2-for-3 with a walk and shortstop Andrew Pezzuto finishing 2-for-4.
Reliever Paul Toland, who entered the game in the fifth inning and allowed four hits over four innings of work, picked up the win for Rochester. Charles Chanatry retired the side in the ninth inning for his first save of the season.
Southpaw Michael Mahay (1-1) started for the Red Dragons, Cortland carrying a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning. A bunt single by Jay Jay Vanderstyne started the Rochester rally then, followed by a Ryan Sullivan single through the let side of the infield. When Mahay hit the next batter with a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs.
A fielder’s choice that picked up an out at second base brought Vanderstyne home to even things up at 2-2. Stein then belted his three-run homer to left-center to put the visitors ahead to stay and end Mahay’s afternoon.
The sophomore from Whitesboro allowed nine hits and five runs in his 5-1/3 innings of work.
Cortland had a chance to erase that deficit, filling the bases in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. A pair of walks sandwiched around a Pezzuto base hit created that opportunity before a fly ball to right ended the scoring chance.
The Red Dragons also stranded a runner on third in the seventh. In the eighth, Cortland loaded the bases again, this time with no outs, as Gardner walked, Nick Faust was hit by a pitch and Pezzutto singled to short. Toland escaped the jam on a fielder’s choice force out at home, a shallow flyout to right and a liner to left — with a great diving catch near the warning track by Dan Ludwig saving at least two runs.
It was that kind of day for the Red Dragons.
Rochester opened the scoring on a Francis RBI single in the to of the second. Cortland got that run back in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Coffey was hit by a pitch with one out, moved to third on a Gardner single through the right side and scored on a grounder to third by Nick Faust.
Faust was safe on the play due to an error, and stole second on the back end of a double steal with Gardner, but a strikeout and a groundout stranded the runners on second and third.
Cortland took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when senior and Cortland High grad Mike Avery singled and raced to third on a Jason Simon base hit. Avery scored when Steve Nickel grounded into a double play.
Rochester 5, Cortland 2
By innings: R H E
University of Rochester 010 004 000 — 5 10 1
SUNY Cortland 000 110 000 — 2 7 1
Rochester- Blair Veenema, Paul Toland (5) (W, 2-0), Charles Chanatry (9) (Save, 1) and Ryan Sullivan, Casey Storme (9). Cortland- Michael Mahay (L, 1-1), Brandon DeRosa (6), Brendan Hourihan (7), George Jweid (8) and Andersen Gardner
2bh- Dan Ludwig (R). 3bh- Jason Simone (C). HR- Nathan Stein (R)
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