May 15, 2008


Cortland romps in regional start


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland sophomore Andersen Gardner had three hits including a 3-run homer in Wednesday’s 10-1 NCAA win over Grove City in Auburn.

AUBURN — Securing that first victory is so vital in any post-season baseball tournament, which is why Wednesday afternoon a turned into such a success for SUNY Cortland.
In the NCAA Division III Regional held at Falcon Park, the top seeded Red Dragons were 10-1 winners over eighth seed Grove City to get this double-elimination event underway.
A four-run seventh inning featuring back-to-back home runs — a 3-run shot by sophomore Andersen Gardner and a solo blast by senior John Giametti, Jr. — broke this game open.
Senior catcher Mike Zaccardo went 4-for-5 and Gardner finished 3-for-4 as Cortland (39-3) extended its school-record winning streak to 35 games behind a 16-hit attack.
The Red Dragons are scheduled to face Montclair State at 4:30 this afternoon in the second round. Montclair rallied with three runs in the eighth inning to defeat Eastern Connecticut State 8-7 in Wednesday’s opening game.
In other games yesterday, third seed Rensselaer nipped Farmingdale 7-6 and Ohio Wesleyan upset second seed and regional host Ithaca 5-3.
Cortland junior starter Brendan Rowlands survived a touch of wildness, walking five and hitting a batter, while improving to 4-0 on the season. He allowed just three his and struck out seven while pitching six scoreless innings.
Freshman Michael Mahay gave up just one hit and struck out one in two scoreless innings of relief. Grove City (18-17) broke up the Red Dragons’ shutout bid with a run in the ninth on a Brian Moran RBI single.
Grove City, out of Pennsylvania, would leave 12 base runners stranded  in the game.
Cortland grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when junior and Cortland High grad Mike Avery reached on a bunt single, went to third on a Zaccardo single and scored on senior Matt Vitalone’s sacrifice fly.
In the second, senior Anthony Coromato walked, stole second and scored on a double by senior second baseman Joey Russo.
Rowlands got into trouble in the third when the Wolverines loaded the bases with no outs on a Seth Thompson and a pair of walks. Rowlands escaped the jam, however, with two strikeouts and a flyout.
Cortland added to the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first run came on a Zaccardo RBI single and the other on a passed ball.
Two more runs crossed the plate in the sixth on RBI singles by Coromato and Russo. The Red Dragons broke the game open in the seventh when Gardner and Giametta went deep.
Cortland finished with 16 hits. Russo went 2-for-3 with a walk and has hit safely in nine straight games. Thompson was 3-for-4 with a walk for Grove City.