By Brian Savard
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The State University of New York at New Paltz baseball team split its opening games at the Snowbird Classic on Saturday, losing, 4-0, to No. 10 Marietta College in game one before winning, 17-8, over Nichols College in game two.
New Paltz moves to 6-6 overall and meets up with Nichols again tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. before squaring off with Farmingdale State College at 3 p.m. Marietta advances to 8-3 overall and faces La Roche College on Wednesday, March 19, in a 2 p.m. doubleheader, while Nichols drops to 0-3 and takes on New Paltz tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.
No. 10 Marietta 4, New Paltz 0
Junior pitcher Brian Solomon went toe-to-toe with Marietta’s pitchers, but the Pioneers did just enough offensively to come away with the win.
Marietta struck first, scoring in the first inning off an RBI single by senior left fielder Josh Ungerbuehler. Both pitchers and defenses took over in the middle innings, as both teams were kept off the scoreboard from the second inning through the sixth inning.
Junior shortstop Christian Demko gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead in the seventh with an RBI single to center field, and during the next at-bat, Demko and senior second baseman Zach Bukiewicz pulled off a double steal, with Bukiewicz coming around to score.
Head coach Matt Righter handed the ball to sophomore pitcher Christian Huertas in the eighth inning, and after loading the bases with no outs, Marietta made it a 4-0 game after a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Kevin Johnston. Huertas settled in, though, retiring the next three batters to keep the margin at four runs. While sophomore catcher Tyler Bell ripped a two-out single to second base in the ninth, the Pioneers were able to record the final out and come away with the win.
The left-handed Soloman was the hard-luck loser, yielding three runs off seven hits while striking out seven. Marietta’s freshman pitcher Tyler Nierberding picked up the win, lasting five innings while giving up just two hits.
Four Hawks had one hit each, while junior third baseman Ryan Hanahan batted 3-for-4 with one run scored and a stolen base to lead Marietta.
New Paltz 17, Nichols 8
The Hawks scored their most runs in a game since winning, 24-1, over the College of Staten Island on March 13, 2012, pounding out 25 hits in the 17-8 game-two victory over Nichols. Even more impressive was the fact that New Paltz’s lineup combined for 13 extra-base hits.
New Paltz jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the second inning, as the Hawks scored three in the first and one in the second. Nichols made it a two-run game in the fourth, as freshman first baseman Jeff Sylvester drove in two runs off a single to left field.
The game got out of hand in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, as New Paltz pushed across four runs in each frame. A sacrifice fly by Bell in the eighth put the Hawks on top, 17-2. Nichols rallied in the eighth and ninth innings, plating six runs, only two of which were earned.
Senior pitcher Chris Pyz picked up the win on the mound for the Hawks, yielding two runs off five hits and a walk while striking out two. Sophomore pitcher Brady Boisvert was tagged with the loss for Nichols, allowing eight runs (five earned) off 12 hits while striking out one.
Junior left fielder Shaun Hansen and Bell each had four-hit games. Hansen added three runs scored, three doubles and two RBI, while Bell added three runs scored, three RBI and one double.
Sylvester paced the Bison with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate that included four RBI and one run scored.