May 4, 2013
Cortland opens tourney by rolling past Fredonia
To get off to a successful start in this baseball quest to repeat as conference playoff champions, SUNY Cortland did its best work over the latter part of Friday’s opening day challenge.
While relievers Tyler Scott and Ryan McAlary held Fredonia scoreless over the final five innings, the host Red Dragons came up with five-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh — featuring a two-run triple off the bat of Brian Barry — while coming up with an 11-3 victory over fourth-seed Fredonia.
On an ideal afternoon under crystal clear blue skies at Wallace Field, it was an ideal way for the top-seeded regular season champs to get this four-team, double-elimination SUNY Athletic Conference tournament underway.
Junior first baseman Max Rosing delivered what proved to be the go-ahead home run leading off the second inning as Cortland built a 6-1 lead through three frames. The winners collected 13 hits overall while improving to 32-9 on the season, with Rosing, leadoff hitter and shortstop John Adornetto, center fielder Zach Graczyk and third baseman Anthony Iacomini all enjoying two-hit outings.
“We left some runs out there, but we have been hitting the ball pretty well,” said Coach Joe Brown after Cortland took care of the Blue Devils (18-15). Cortland had closed out regular season conference play last weekend with a three-game sweep at Fredonia prior to this tourney rematch.
“We still have a lot of pitching left, and the way we’ve been hitting the ball I think we’re sitting pretty,” said Rosing of the importance of capturing the vital opening game in a tournament that will crown a champion Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Barkley (6-1), Mike Hughes (5-1) and Brandon Serio (4-1) are those starters still at Coach Brown’s disposal — with Barkley slated to start at 1 p.m. this afternoon when the Red Dragons take on third-seed Oswego (24-13) in a crucial winner’s bracket showdown.
The Cortland-Oswego winner moves into the championship round at noon on Sunday, and will have to be beaten twice to be denied the title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament.
Oswego defeated second-seed New Paltz 9-5 in the second contest played on Friday at Wallace Field.
COACH BROWN WENT with left-hander Brandon McClain as his starter against Fredonia. After giving up an RBI single in the top of the first to Dillon Lowe, McClain left two Blue Devils stranded with an inning-ending strikeout.
After giving up three consecutive hits including a Kenny Johnston RBI double to the bottom of the Fredonia batting order in the fourth, with the Blue Devils also getting a run home on a Jake Nowak sacrifice fly, McClain ended that inning getting dangerous Fredonia catcher Brian Sheehan looking at a third strike.
Though Cortland still led 6-3, Coach Brown decided to turn to the well-rested Scott on the mound. “It was more of a gut feeling than not having confidence in him,” said Brown of replacing McClain.
Cortland escaped further trouble when second baseman Bryan Mistretta saved a run in the seventh by diving to his right and throwing out Ian Gallagher for the inning’s final out with a Blue Devil on second base.
Fredonia filled the bases with one out in the seventh on a John Bennett double, a walk and a Erick Krohl single that was hit too hard to bring Bennett home. That ended Scott’s stint, and McAlary came on to get an pop-up and grounder to prevent Fredonia from scoring.
McAlary also breezed through a 1-2-3 ninth.
CORTLAND HAD LITTLE trouble stirring up trouble offensively, as Fredonia also saved top hurlers like Zachary Jordan (5-1), Kyle Grey (2-0, 2.90 ERA) and Sean Larson for the weekend.
Cortland’s Brown was not surprised to see Zachary Hugg take the mound as the Blue Devils’ starter, saying: “They threw the kid who threw the best against us last weekend.”
Cortland tied the game at 1-1 quickly in the bottom of the first, when Adornetto doubled to the wall in right and took third when the ball was bobbled. He scored while Fredonia later turned a double play.
Rosing led off the second with a shot over the fence in left-center. “It was an off-speed pitch. He got a fast ball in on me on the first pitch but then he left one hanging and I was able to turn on it,” said Rosing.
The Red Dragons were on the verge of bigger things with two-outs, as Danny Castaldo waked, went to third on a Mistretta hit-and-run single and scored on Adornotto’s opposite field double. Though Mistretta was thrown out at the plate on the play after a nifty Fredonia relay to end the rally, Cortland held a 3-1 lead.
Three more runs in the third on a P.J. Rinaldi sacrifice fly, an Iacomini RBI single and a Brian Barry liner that was dropped after Fredonia’s outfielder slipped down hiked the lead to 6-1.
“We had to respond,” said Rosing of the way Cortland quickly answered Fredonia’s early run. “You can’t let a team like that hang with you.”
Cortland then broke things open in the seventh, starting with a Graczyk leadoff single to center. Iacomini singled home the first run and Berry delivered his big two-run triple to make it 9-3, with an error when Fredonia was tardy on a grounder and Mistretta RBI base hit bringing two final runs home.
Oswego 9, New Paltz 5: A three-run outburst in the top of the ninth inning finished off Oswego’s win over the Hawks in Friday’s second contest at Wallace Field. Ed Charles and Mike Stark doubled home runs in that late Lakers rally, finished off by a Scott Buniak RBI single.
The Lakers never trailed after taking a 5-0 lead through three innings, out-hitting New Paltz 16-7 on the day. Mike McMullen was 3-for-5 and starting pitcher Dan Erne (6-1) allowed just seven hits through seven innings. Erne struck out three batters before Miles Kelly pitched two scoreless innings to earn a save.
Designated hitter David Lostaglio was 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for the Hawks (16-18).
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