After beating St. Joseph’s college Wednesday night 20-5, baseball is sitting at 7-6 going into State University of New York (SUNYAC) games.
Playing eight games in five days over spring break, the Hawks came home with an even 4-4 record. The trip included a doubleheader sweep against Hamilton College, a win against Babson College (2017 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) champions), and a doubleheader split with No. 11 Washington and Jefferson College.
“We played some really good baseball over the break,” said head coach Arlan Freeman. “We played the brand of baseball that we expected to play, and we’re a very exciting team when we play our brand.”
The Hawks came out strong on the first day of the trip, sweeping Hamilton 7-1 and 8-2 on Friday March 16, respectively. After first-year infielder Matt Zaffino stroked an RBI single to put the Continentals up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning of the first game, New Paltz answered back in the top of the second with five runs of their own.
Fourth-year outfielder and utility Jake Williams got the inning started with a double, later stealing third and scoring on a passed ball. Two RBIs from fourth-year infielder Anthony Pantano, and an RBI each from second-year outfielder Julian Francisco and second-year catcher Zach Warenius put the Hawks up 5-1.
An RBI single in the sixth from third-year infielder Ryan Frost scored Pantano and third-year outfielder and utility Danny Campbell to make it 7-1. A scoreless seventh inning from fourth-year pitcher Jeff Sarra sealed the win for New Paltz.
Second-year pitcher Anthony Amoroso earned his second win of the season, pitching five innings of one-run ball for the Hawks, while giving up five hits and fanning four.
The Continentals came out hungry in the second game, taking another quick 1-0 lead after a long ball from Zaffino in the first. New Paltz struck back in the second inning again, however, taking a 3-1 lead after Williams scored on a passed ball and Frost knocked in an RBI on an error. Frost would later score in the inning on a passed ball.
The Hawks kept tacking on runs in the third, with an RBI sac-fly from Williams and a two-run base knock from Campbell to put them up 6-1 and break the game open. Hamilton’s five errors cost them in the long run, as New Paltz earned the victory 7-2.
Second-year pitcher J.T Carroll earned the win for the Hawks in his first start of the season, pitching five innings, giving up three hits and one run with eight strikeouts.
After losing to Umass Dartmouth and Springfield the following day 1-11 and 5-8, respectively, the Hawks bounced back on Sunday March 18 and earned a win in the first game of a doubleheader with No. 11 Washington and Jefferson.
“I feel like for a while we have been hung up on who we’re playing and either playing up to our competition or down to our competition,” Amoroso said. “Against Washington and Jefferson, we were just being us and doing what we do best, relaxing and playing the game hard.”
A sac-bunt from Warenius put the Hawks on the board in the top of the first, 1-0. The Presidents answered quickly in the bottom of the inning, with an RBI single from fourth-year catcher and outfielder Dan Trettel, who would later score on a wild pitch to make it 2-1.
Once Washington and Jefferson scored again in the fourth, New Paltz fought back to break the game even in the fifth. A run from Pantano on a throwing error and an RBI bunt-single from Warenius tied the game at three. The Presidents answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, coming from a run on a wild pitch and an RBI single from fourth-year first basemen Mark Merlino.
New Paltz’s offense was not done, however. RBI singles from Williams and Frost, a 2-RBI triple from Campbell, a 2-RBI single from fourth-year first basemen Christ Moran and a run from Pantano put the Hawks up 10-5 in the sixth. Fourth-year pitcher Ryan Votypka’s scoreless sixth and seventh sealed the deal.
Votypka earned his first win of the year, going all seven innings with five earned runs, 10 hits and six strikeouts.
Campbell and Moran came up big with timely hitting at the plate for the Hawks in the win, going 3-for-5 and 2-for-4, respectively.
“The win set a standard for how New Paltz baseball plays,” said Campbell. “We’re not concerned with who we play or where it is. We know that when we show up to the ball field, it’s go time.”
Dropping the second game of the doubleheader, the Hawks were swirling early Monday morning at 9:30 a.m against Babson, winning 7-2 against a NCAA regional round qualifier.
Opening the first inning up with an RBI double from the Campbell, the Hawks notched two more runs on the board in the second with an RBI single from Francisco and run on a throwing error from Pantano.
A two-run single in the sixth from fourth-year outfielder Ryan Arena for Babson broke up fourth-year pitcher Conor Donachie’s shutout bid, and put the Beavers behind just 3-2.
The seventh inning stretch benefited the Hawks; they came out in the bottom of the inning swinging, breaking the game open 6-2 with an RBI single by fourth-year catcher Dwayne Page and a two-run triple from Pantano.
Scoring again in the bottom of the eighth, New Paltz never looked back, giving Donachie his first win of the season. He gave up two runs over four hits with five strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
After the Hawks opening series with SUNY Fredonia was cancelled due to weather last weekend, the Hawks will head to SUNY Oswego this weekend for their first three-game SUNYAC series of the year.
“I have told these guys, things are going to happen in your life that you can’t control,” Freeman said. “We just need to block out the noise and focus on what matters. Control the controllables.”
“I think a key going forward into SUNYAC play is to maintain a level of competitiveness and fire,” Campbell said. “We need all 28 guys to come out ready to not only run through a brick wall for this program, but be able to take a hit and come back hitting harder. That competitive edge will help us succeed.”