After rain-outs of games against SUNY Fredonia on March 23 and 24, the Hawks opened this year’s SUNYAC play with a three game set against No. 23 Oswego State.
The Hawks struggled mightily in game one as Oswego State fourth-year pitcher Reston Pettit tossed seven innings of scoreless ball, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Game two saw more of the same for the Hawks as Oswego State fourth-year pitcher Robert Donnelly blanked the Hawks over seven innings allowing just two hits, walking one.
The Hawks wrapped up their series with Oswego on March 31.
In the eighth inning of the series finale, the Hawks found life. After singles by third-year outfielder Brian Brenton and third-year infielder Ryan Frost, a pitch hit fourth-year outfielder Nick DePietro to load the bases. A sac-fly by third-year outfielder and utility Danny Campbell followed by a two-run double by fourth-year outfielder and utility Jake Williams cut Oswego’s lead in half entering the ninth.
A single by Frost in the ninth that scored fourth-year catcher Dwayne Page was the last run the Hawks would earn, as they would eventually come up short by a final score of 6-4.
Hawks third-year pitcher Michael Delio and second-year pitcher J.T. Carroll both threw well in relief. Delio went two innings allowing one run on three hits with one punch-out while Carroll went one perfect inning, striking out two.
Head coach Arlan Freeman seemed unflustered by his team’s inability to score runs against such a dominant opponent.
“Oswego is a good team, they are 23rd in the nation for a reason and they went to the [Division III] World Series last year,” Freeman said. “They dictated our at-bats, they moved our feet, threw breaking balls and change-ups in fastball counts, they kept us off balance really, really well and did a really good job of pitching. We didn’t lose that game, they beat us.”
Campbell has already put the Oswego series behind him.
“The good thing about baseball is that we get a chance to bounce back quickly,” Campbell said. “We plan to bounce back by just going back to the basics and having fun. When we’re all loose and aggressive, there’s no limit to what we can do.”
Despite their struggles against Oswego, the Hawks were able to get a dominant victory over St. Joseph’s Brooklyn on Wednesday, March 28.
DePietro started off the game with a single to left, advancing to second on a steal. After a double steal by DePietro and Campbell placed runners on second and third with none out, Williams singled to right, giving the Hawks a quick 2-0 advantage.
A sac-fly by fourth-year infielder Anthony Pantano brought Williams home. Page singled to center scoring fourth-year first baseman Chris Moran, advancing to second on the throw. After a groundout moved Page to third, second-year outfielder Julian Francisco walked, putting runners on the corners with one out.
As the lineup card turned back over in the first, DePietro came up with the dagger; an RBI single scoring Frost and Francisco. When the first inning came to a close, the scoreboard read 7-0 in favor of the Hawks.
The Hawks remained relentless, as they continued to piece together hit after hit. As the fifth inning wrapped up, the score was 16-2 New Paltz. After four more runs in the sixth and a few late game runs by St. Joseph’s in the seventh and ninth innings, the Hawks would eventually come out victorious by a score of 20-5.
Coach Freeman touched upon what led to his team’s offensive success.
“It’s hard to hit a good curveball, so we went up there and had the approach that the first pitch we saw over the plate that was a fastball, we were going to swing at it,” Freeman said. “I think that approach worked well because as a pitching coach our philosophy is throw strike one, so it’s usually over the middle to get ahead and we were on time and swung the bats really well that day. It was pretty impressive.”
Looking ahead, the Hawks face off against Ramapo College on April 2, Skidmore College on April 4 and SUNY Brockport on April 6 and 7.
“When we worry about who were playing, we get away from our aggressive style of play,” Frost said. “When we’re relaxed and just playing the game hard, the rest takes care of itself.”