After taking two out of three games against SUNY Oneonta last weekend, the baseball team has made the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament for the second consecutive season.
Last year, the Hawk’s playoff hopes were crushed when the SUNYAC tournament was cancelled due to weather and gave SUNY Oswego the automatic championship. They expect to face Oswego as the third seed in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday.
“All you need is a seat at the table,” said New Paltz head coach Arlan Freeman. “This is a great opportunity to show that our team means business. I’m just excited to see these guys compete.”
In the first game of their last SUNYAC series, the Hawks were able to earn a narrow victory with a 3-1 win over Oneonta. After second-year infielder James Ceparano got the scoring started with an RBI single for the Red Dragons in the second, fourth-year first baseman Chris Moran answered for New Paltz, driving in an RBI single and later scoring on a wild pitch.
The Hawks were able to tack on one more run in the following inning, coming off of a sac-fly from fourth-year outfielder Nick DiPietro to make it 3-1. Fourth-year pitcher Ryan Votypka sealed the win for New Paltz, earning his third save of the year while pitching 3.1 innings of no-hit baseball.
Fourth-year pitcher Luke Christy earned his third win of the season, moving his record to 3-3. He pitched 5.2 innings while allowing eight hits and one run. Oneonta’s fourth-year pitcher RJ Lyman earned his sixth loss of the year in the decision, going five innings while allowing all three runs on six hits.
Dropping the second game of the series 9-3, New Paltz clinched the third seed in the SUNYAC playoffs with a 6-1 win in the series finale. Oneonta continued their early scoring, when fourth-year outfielder Dalton Beatty scored on a throwing error to make it 1-0 Red Dragons.
New Paltz responded quickly in the top of the second, tying the game up at one on an RBI sac-bunt by fourth-year catcher Dwayne Page.
After a scoreless third, the Hawks got on the board again with an RBI single from fourth-year outfielder Brian Brenton. Two runs scored in the eighth on a single by first-year third baseman John McCarrick and two more in the ninth provided insurance, while fourth-year pitcher Conor Donachie sealed the deal by striking out five of the six batters he faced to give New Paltz the win 6-1.
McCarrick shined in only his sixth start of the year, leading the Hawks offense with two RBIs. He has earned a starting spot in replacement of the injured fourth-year outfielder Jake Williams, who posted a .343 batting average with 25 RBIs and three home-runs before his departure.
“Knowing my teammates and coaches believe in me, even as a freshman, has been a huge boost in my confidence,” McCarrick said. “All of our hard work from the pre-season is paying off.”
The Hawks also lost in a non-conference game 6-1 on Tuesday, May 1 against Ithaca College. Third-year infielder Ryan Frost led New Paltz with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, scoring the only run. DiPietro earned the Hawks only RBI. The game had no impact on New Paltz’s tournament seeding.
“We had a very small roster for that game, and still put up a good fight,” Moran said. “We had guys play positions they haven’t played all year, so if anything, it shows that we have more fielding depth than we thought going into playoffs.”
New Paltz will be seeking their first ever SUNYAC tournament win on Thursday against Oswego at SUNY Cortland.
“The guys know what we need to do in the next 36 innings,” Freeman said. “If we exemplify our Hawk brand of baseball, we have a shot at a SUNYAC title.”