The baseball team has won five of their last eight games and currently sit in third place in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings.
First the Hawks swept a three-game series against SUNY Fredonia from Saturday, April 9 to Sunday, April 10.
“We knew Fredonia was going to be a team that was going to battle with us for a spot in the playoffs and in the playoff push,” Hawks head coach Matt Righter said. “We thought that if we could win that series, then that would be really helpful going down the stretch in case we dropped a game. Now that we swept Fredonia that makes it a little easier for our last push in the season.”
In the first game, second-year pitcher Conor Donachie picked up his fourth win of the season by pitching six innings, surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out four. Fourth-year co-captain Andrew DiNardo picked up the save by giving up no hits in the last two and one-third innings of the game.
Fourth-year co-captain Tyler Bell led the offense by going 2-for-3 on the day with a double and two RBIs. First-year shortstop Ryan Frost also went 2-for-3 with two doubles.
The Hawks started the following day with a 4-0 victory over the Blue Devils.
First-year pitcher Justin Stybel improved his record to 2-0 after hurling five scoreless innings and surrendering just four hits. Second-year pitcher Ryan Votypka picked up his first of two saves on the day by throwing a perfect two innings to seal the win.
First-year third baseman and shortstop Danny Campbell drove in the first two runs with a double to left field in the second inning. Fourth-year first baseman Chris Baltera drove in a run in the third with a bloop hit just beyond the first base bag. Second-year second baseman Anthony Pantano then hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, his second of the season.
The Hawks completed the series sweep with a 4-2 victory, which proved to be closer than the previous two games.
New Paltz scored two runs in the third inning on RBIs from second-year center fielder Jake Williams and third-year first baseman Anthony Diana. Fredonia would cut the deficit in half when Blue Devils fourth-year shortstop Kyle Sherman drove an RBI single to right-center field to make it a 2-1 game.
DiNardo and Hawks third-year co-captain Taylor Anderson both drove in a run in the eighth inning to make it 4-1. Those two runs would prove to be important.
Fredonia would load the bases with one out in the ninth inning, bringing the potential game-winning run to the plate. With Sherman at the plate, Votypka got him to hit a groundball to the shortstop, but the Hawks could not turn the double play and a run came across to make it a 4-2 game. Then with runners at first and third and two out and the potential game-winning run still at the plate, Votypka induced a fly ball to left field to seal the sweep.
Fourth-year pitcher Christian Huertas started the game for New Paltz and pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up just one run on seven hits while striking out four.
This is the first time the Hawks have swept a SUNYAC series since they won three-straight against SUNY Plattsburgh in April of 2013.
Then on Tuesday, April 12, New Paltz defeated Bard College 4-3 in a nonconference matchup. After giving up the lead in the eighth inning, the Hawks came back to score two runs in the ninth to take the win.
“We did not play as well as we could have against Bard,” fourth-year co-captain Brett Wisner said. “Yet we still got the win with our backs against the wall in the last inning, which is always a positive.”
With the Hawks up 2-1 and runners on first and third with one out, Raptors first-year shortstop Preston Gittelson bunted and he would reach second base on a throwing error as both runners came around to score to give Bard a 3-2 lead.
After Frost flied out to right field to start the ninth inning, two walks and a hit loaded the bases for New Paltz with only one out. Williams hit into a fielder’s choice to tie the game, and then a throwing error by Bard would give New Paltz the 4-3 lead.
Second-year pitcher Kevin Montefusco started the game for the Hawks and allowed just one unearned run in four innings of work. Wisner came out of the bullpen and pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one base runner on a walk. Second-year pitcher Luke Christy picked up his first save of the season by throwing a perfect ninth inning.
Pantano led the offense by going 2-for-3 on the day with two runs scored, while Williams and second-year catcher Spencer Brown each had an RBI.
The Hawks would then continue SUNYAC play as they traveled to SUNY Oneonta for a three-game series from Saturday, April 16 to Sunday, April 17. Saturday saw New Paltz lose two very tough games.
In the first game, the Hawks held a two-run lead over Oneonta going into the bottom of the ninth inning. But two singles and a walk would load the bases with one out. Red Dragons second-year designated hitter Donald Geloso then drove a two-run single to right-center field to tie the game at 4-all. Christy got the next two batters out to send the game to extra innings.
Neither team could push across a run in the 10th inning, but in the 11th, the Red Dragons would win the game on a walk-off double by fourth-year second baseman Matt Mastroianni.
Donachie started the game for New Paltz and gave up just two runs in five and two-thirds innings of work. Second-year outfielder Nick DePietro and Williams each collected two hits in the game. Williams, DiNardo and Bell each drove in a run for the Hawks.
Later that day, New Paltz lost 1-0 to Oneonta. The Red Dragons scored their lone run of the game on a fielder’s choice in the second inning. Stybel pitched all six innings in the game and allowed just one run on one hit while striking out four.
“The two games on Saturday were extremely tough,” Wisner said. “They were heartbreakers and we could have gotten wins in both of those games.”
New Paltz responded the next game by defeating Oneonta 6-4 to avoid the sweep. With the game tied going into the seventh inning, Williams broke the tie with an RBI single and would later score in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead. Each team scored a run in the ninth inning, but New Paltz held on for the win.
Second-year pitcher Brian LoRusso picked up the win in relief by pitching two innings and surrendering just one run. DiNardo earned his third save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Wisner also came out of the bullpen and hurled two and one-third scoreless innings of relief.
Williams led the offense by going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Pantano and Bell also knocked in runs for the Hawks.
“I think it was huge,” Righter said. “If we were to lose all three to Oneonta, I’m not sure what our guys would be thinking. It was good for our psyche, but also good as far as the standings go. That was a very important win.”
On Tuesday, April 19, New Paltz dropped a nonconference game to Ithaca College by a score of 10-4. The loss dropped the team’s record to 16-12-2.
The Hawks will next play five nonconference games, starting with a doubleheader on the road against NYU on Friday, April 22. The team will then finish their season with three games at home against SUNYAC opponent The College at Brockport from Friday, April 29 to Saturday, April 30.
Righter looks for his team to continue to do what they’ve been doing in preparation for that Brockport series, and also show teams that their strong season is not a fluke.
“We need to gain momentum going into that Brockport series,” Righter said. “But I don’t think I need them to do anything different than what they’ve been doing. We just have to go out there with the mindset to get the job done and take care of business.”