The baseball team has gone 6-6 in its last 12 games, but were able to scratch out two wins in three games against State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) rival SUNY Plattsburgh from Tuesday, April 18 to Wednesday, April 19.
Hawks head coach Arlan Freeman says that he sees his team getting better while other teams have plateaued.
“These guys have been playing really good defense and are hitting the ball the other way,” Freeman said. “The team is starting to believe in my philosophy and everything is starting to come together. When we peak when we need to, we will be successful.”
Against Plattsburgh for the first leg of the doubleheader on April 18, the Hawks enjoyed a 3-1 victory behind strong efforts from third-year pitchers Kyle Eckert and Brian LoRusso.
Eckert started the game for the Hawks and turned in 5 1/3 solid innings, allowing just one earned run and scattering seven hits, while walking two and punching out five.
LoRusso came on and finished out the game, pitching the last 3 2/3 innings, allowing zero runs and only three hits.
LoRusso was the pitcher of record and improved to 2-4 on the season.
On the offensive side, third-year designated hitter Chris Moran led the way with two RBIs on sacrifice flies in the sixth and eighth innings.
Third-year catcher Dwayne Page went 2-for-4 out of the leadoff spot and has improved his batting average to .333 on the season, while second-year first baseman Justin Ganca went 2-for-4 while hitting cleanup.
Freeman says that Page and Ganca have stepped up to the plate in recent games and are leading the way offensively.
“Ganca is driving the ball to all fields and Page has played phenomenal both defensively and offensively,” he said. “Page is leading the team in hitting and has done well since being bumped up to the leadoff spot.”
The second game of the doubleheader on Tuesday saw New Paltz edge out Plattsburgh by a slim 1-0 margin.
The Hawks got on the board first in the third inning and it turned out to be all they needed as they were able to stymie Plattsburgh and keep them off the board the entirety of the game.
Third-year catcher Tyler Laco singled to lead off the frame and advanced to third after a single and a fielder’s choice and ended up scoring when third-year center fielder Nick DiPietro was caught stealing.
Third-year third baseman Jake Williams, first-year right fielder Savino Citriniti and Moran each chipped in a hit for New Paltz, while third-year pitcher Ryan Votypka went the distance, firing a complete-game shutout and improving his record to 3-0.
Freeman said that Votypka has been solid on the mound, both out of the bullpen and starting.
“Votypka tossed 80 pitches out of the bullpen versus Oneonta and 81 pitches against Plattsburgh,” Freeman said. “He’s been great.”
In the final game against Plattsburgh, New Paltz suffered a 6-5 game walk-off loss.
It was a seesaw affair between the two teams as they were neck and neck all game.
Plattsburgh got on the board first in the second, but New Paltz answered back in the fourth with run scoring hits from Ganca and Citriniti.
Plattsburgh regained the lead, scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the seventh, third-year second baseman Anthony Pantano doubled to center to score Citriniti and in the eighth, New Paltz jumped ahead to make it 5-4 after first-year outfielder Matt Warshaw scored on a passed ball and third-year outfielder Brian Brenton scored on a wild pitch.
In the ninth, Plattsburgh won the game 6-5 off of first-year pitcher John LoCurto, who logged 3 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. LoCurto drops to 0-2 on the season.
When asked how the team can see success the rest of the season, Freeman said that it is important to play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back.
“I try to instill in these guys the mantra of sacrificing themselves for the better of the team,” Freeman said. “If we have that belief of pride, we will see success as a whole.”
The Hawks are back at it this weekend with home games against City College of New York and Ithaca College on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 with starts at 4 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.