With four games remaining in the regular season, the baseball team currently sits fourth in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings.
The Hawks need one more conference win to clinch a berth in the SUNYAC Tournament that begins on Friday, May 5. They currently own a 7-8 record in conference play, which is two games ahead of SUNY Oneonta, who own a 5-10 conference record.
New Paltz has not participated in the SUNYAC Tournament since 2013, and according to head coach Arlan Freeman, the team has not made the regional tournament in 56 years.
The Hawks welcomed back former head coach Matt Righter on Wednesday, April 26, as his Vassar team visited the Hawks in a competitive non-conference matchup.
Vassar led off the scoring in the first inning with a sacrifice fly after first-year infielder Daniel Bonfiglio advanced to third on a wild pitch. Second-year infielder Taylor Smach followed with an RBI single to finish off the scoring threat.
New Paltz answered back in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run from third-year designated hitter Chris Moran to make the score 2-1.
The Hawks held Vassar scoreless in the top of the second inning, and tied the game after third-year second baseman Anthony Pantano scored an unearned run on a throwing error. Third-year catcher Dwayne Page finished off the scoring after hit an RBI single to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.
Vassar quickly responded in the third inning after tying the game on a sacrifice fly. New Paltz kept their scoring drive up, as second-year first baseman Justin Ganca hit a solo home run to right centerfield to give the lead back to New Paltz.
There were no runs scored the rest of the game, as the pitching was strong on both sides. New Paltz’s bullpen pitchers hurled six scoreless innings to spoil Righter’s return to New Paltz. First-year pitcher James Magnuson was credited with the win for New Paltz.
“I went into it thinking it was going to be a highly energized game,” Freeman said. “A lot of these guys played for Righter for many years. There was going to be a lot of emotions. The guys were really fired up about it. It’s really nice that it’s before our Brockport series.”
On Friday, April 21, the Hawks defeated City College of New York 10-2. The Hawks went down 2-0 after two innings, but responded back with 10 unanswered runs to get the win.
The Hawks tied the game in the fourth after fourth-year first baseman Anthony Diana scored on a throwing error to even the score at two. First-year infielder Anthony Amoroso was credited with the game-winning RBI single, as he hit a single in the fourth inning to give the Hawks the lead and technically the win.
On Saturday, April 22, the Hawks suffered a 6-0 loss to Ithaca College in non-conference action.
The Hawks were limited to six hits in the matchup. They were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the sixth and ninth innings, leaving runners in scoring position.
Five of Ithaca’s six runs came off home runs. Second-year designated hitter Andrew Baily and second-year outfielder Sam Little each hit solo home runs in the first inning.
It was a two-run game until the seventh inning, where fourth-year second baseman Josh Savacool hit a three-run blast to left field. Ithaca would add one more run on a throwing error in the eighth en route to a 6-0 win.
“The guys battled,” Freeman said. “Ithaca is a very good team. We talked about having a playoff mentality from that game on through the end of our season.”
New Paltz’s matchup against the College of Staten Island on Tuesday, April 24 was canceled due to inclement weather conditions. The game will not be rescheduled.
The Hawks will go up against The College at Brockport in a three game series on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29. Last season the Hawks were eliminated from playoff contention after being swept by Brockport to finish their season.
“Timely hitting, aggressive baserunning and competitive pitching will give us the opportunity to win the series,” Freeman said. “We want to win the series and gain some momentum heading into next weekend. We’re going to surprise some teams and we want them to know we’re here to compete.
“We faced a lot of adversity this year and I think we’re hitting our stride at the right time. We always talked about peaking at the end of the season, not the middle and now we’re looking to get better each game.”