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Baseball drops two in wild home-opening series against Plattsburgh

by Carson Werner - Sports Editor
Wed, Apr 3rd 2019 02:50 pm
Senior shortstop Charlie Serino awaits the call after being tagged out at the plate.
Senior shortstop Charlie Serino awaits the call after being tagged out at the plate.

The weather warmed up just in time for The College at Brockport baseball team’s home opening series against SUNYAC competitor, Plattsburgh State. On Friday, March 29, the Golden Eagles hosted a midday doubleheader against the 2—11 Cardinals who were still in search of their first conference win.

Brockport’s conference record going into game one against Plattsburgh was 2—4, losing two games in each conference series the week before. The team’s spring training trip last week  consisted of nine games, six of them scheduled against SUNYAC opponents, Oneonta and Oswego. The squad committed 21 errors, gave up 93 hits and 67 runs in a 3—6 effort. Hoping that the familiarity of home field would put some life into the team, Brockport only managed to win one of three games in the series.  

“Obviously we weren’t super excited with the way we have performed as of late,” head coach Justin Beach said. “It just seems we have lost some of the confidence that we had coming into the season. I still believe we have a team that can achieve great things, we just need to get back to playing with confidence.” 

The day of the doubleheader turned out to be a nightmare for the home squad. At the start of the first game, it seemed as though Brockport was going to cruise past Plattsburgh. Brockport opened scoring in the bottom of the third inning when sophomore outfielder Nicholas Pastore scored on an infield throwing error. Senior catcher Liam O’Leary later singled in junior outfielder Tom Kretzler to put Brockport ahead 2-0. Through the first six innings, the Plattsburgh offense was silenced by a terrific outing from senior pitcher Alex Brown. Brown struck out five while giving up five hits in six and a third innings.

After a promising start from a veteran pitcher, Brockport watched its lead disappear when Brown was relieved by sophomore pitcher Chris Cramer in the middle of the sixth. Plattsburgh tallied four runs on three hits and two walks, taking advantage of Brown’s exit. The Cardinals’ two-run advantage would be enough to win the game, 5-3, as both sides scored a run in the ninth. 

The second game of the doubleheader would end up being more excruciating than the first for Brockport. The Golden Eagles followed the same routine as they had done the first game and scored first in the third inning. Freshman outfielder Ryan Mansell singled in senior third baseman Josh Cosgrove to give Brockport the early 1-0 lead. In the fourth, the Cardinals were able to string two doubles together and tie the game at one. 

Brockport retaliated in the fifth with a two-run double from senior third baseman Lou Miceli. On the mound for Brockport, junior pitcher Trevor McCarthy went the distance. It was smooth sailing for the third year starter through most of the game, only giving up six hits and two runs in the first six innings. It wasn’t until the seventh when Plattsburgh capitalized on two singles and a miraculous last-ditch effort to tie the game up and send it into extra innings.

Relying on a few groundouts to get a run across, Plattsburgh left one man on third base with two outs. Junior center fielder Keller Kowalowski took advantage of the pitcher in his windup to steal home and tie the game with two outs. McCarthy ended the inning by striking out the next batter. 

The Golden Eagles had their chances but couldn’t capitalize on a two-out bases-loaded situation in the seventh and man in scoring position in the eighth. The Cardinals scored another run in the eighth on an error by freshman third baseman D’Ante Furcinito-Zapanta, giving them the lead and eventual win, 4-3.

In what could have been the most unfortunate home-opening series for the Brockport baseball team, the third game on Saturday held a little more meaning than the first two. The first inning foreshadowed the high amount of offensive production that would be seen in the game with four runs crossing the plate, two from each side. The two offenses would be held scoreless through the fourth inning, where there was very little action in the field. Plattsburgh and Brockport both tallied another two runs in their half of the fifth, bringing the tie to four.  

Instead of the Cardinal bats coming to life in the seventh inning for a third time, the Golden Eagles took charge and put four runs on the board. Nowak and Mansell both drove in two runs on singles while junior second baseman Daniel Delgaizo and freshman catcher Ryan Voight both drove in a run.

With a four run lead heading into the ninth, Brockport was feeling comfortable with its position. Whether it be luck, skill or having a knack for comebacks, the Cardinals managed to comeback and take the lead in the top of the ninth with a two-out, two-run homerun. 

In the bottom of the ninth, senior first baseman Matt Van Allen led off with a double to right center field. Senior pitcher Jason Hellwig came in to pinch run for Van Allen and would end up getting caught stealing at third base. Pastore was able to make it on base via a walk and remained at first for the duration of the inning. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, down by one run, Kretzler pimped a two-run walk off homerun to give Brockport a much needed, 10-9 victory.

“It was an amazing moment for me and our team,” Kretzler said. “We’ve had a frustrating first half starting off 8—12 with more than enough talent to be a successful team. Hopefully this is the spark we needed to turn our season around.” 

The Golden Eagles are back in action on Wednesday, April 3, at St. John Fisher. Brockport will play a single game against the Cardinals at 4 p.m. before facing New Paltz in a three-game series this weekend.

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
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