Baseball Prepares for Heat of SUNYAC Schedule

The Hawks have had plenty to be excited about, starting the season at 7-5. (Photo courtesy of Sal Delio)

Spring is finally here, and the men’s baseball team’s season is now in full swing. The reality of baseball in the Northeast forced the Hawks’ first six games to be canceled, not allowing them to compete until March 9 when most of their opponents seasons were already well underway. Now, SUNY New Paltz sits at 7-5 after their spring break trip to Florida and a 2-1 loss to New York University Wednesday, they now return home in search of more fortune in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play when they face Oswego State this weekend.

“As far as the trip is concerned we did some good things, we played a lot of innings in a very short amount of time, but I feel like we know what the key roles are going to be moving forward,” said Hawks head coach Thomas Seay. “It will be good to get outside and practice, and continue to work on our deficiencies as we prepare for a big SUNYAC series with Oswego next weekend.” 

The Hawks, unfortunately, started the trip to Florida by getting swept by SUNYAC foe SUNY Fredonia in a three-game series. New Paltz lost to the Blue Devils 19-1 in game one, 5-3 game two and 4-3 game three. 

Two wins in day three against Endicott College and NYU after a slow start changed the course of the Hawks trip, beating the Gulls, 8-3 and the Violets, 5-4.

New Paltz got out in front first against Endicott College, scoring in the third inning off an RBI single by third-year outfielder Julian Francisco to plate second-year outfielder David Juechter. The Gulls came back in the top of the fifth, tying the game at one off a double and earning the 2-1 lead on a single.  

The Hawks did not allow Endicott College to keep the lead long, as a sacrifice fly by Francisco scored third-year catcher Zach Warenius to tie the game at two. New Paltz capitalized on the Gulls mistakes in the sixth inning, as third-year outfielder Matt McGee scored on a wild pitch. Juechter followed with an RBI single to boost his team’s lead, 4-2.

For the first time on the trip the Hawks offense was relentless, scoring on a passed ball with the bases loaded. A sac-fly by fourth-year first baseman Justin Ganca extended the lead to 6-2 in the seventh inning and Endicott responded with a run in the eighth, but that did not stop the Hawks. Fourth-year outfielder Danny Campbell hit an RBI single and was followed with an RBI double by McGee to put momentum solely in New Paltz’s position in the eighth inning.

Fourth-year pitcher James Magnuson earned the win for the Hawks, throwing three innings of one-hit baseball. McGee highlighted New Paltz’s offense, going 3-for-5 with an RBI, a double and a triple.

“It was good to get down there with a little bit of warm weather and get some wins,” McGee said. “We’re just trying to get a little bit better each day, and want to go into the series with [Oswego] prepared.”

The Hawks could not continue their success early in the second game against NYU, allowing the Violets to score once in the second, twice in the third and again in the fourth inning. Momentum swung for New Paltz in the bottom of the fifth, when second-year first baseman Dean Stalzer hit a three-run home run to bring the Hawks behind 4-3.

Waking up after the yardball, the Hawks offense continued in the sixth inning with Campbell hitting an RBI double to tie the game at four. In the bottom of the eighth, another Campbell single scored Francisco and gave New Paltz their first lead of the game.

Fourth-year pitcher Ryan Votypka came in and shut the door for the Hawks, throwing a scoreless ninth to give New Paltz the 5-4 victory. Third-year pitcher Justin Halper earned the win, pitching two innings without conceding a hit.

The Hawks got on the board in the first inning against Illinois Institute of Technology the next day after a double by Ganca scored McGee to put New Paltz up 1-0. The Hawks continued to score in small increments, gaining a run off a Juechter RBI single in the second inning and another run in the fourth off a wild pitch.

Third-year pitcher John Locurto threw zeros on the scoreboard until the sixth inning, where the Scarlet Hawks scored three runs, two unearned. Illinois Institute of Technology scored again in the eighth inning to take the 4-3 lead.

With the Hawks down to their last three outs, McGee got the rally started with a leadoff double, later scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game at four. Stalzer broke the game open on a two-RBI double, with an RBI fielder’s choice putting New Paltz up 7-4. Halper shut the door, and the Hawks earned their third win of the Florida trip.

After the Hawk’s games against St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn were cancelled due to rain, they split a doubleheader with Framingham State University to end the trip, beating the Rams 12-0 before losing 8-3. The Hawks jumped in front during the first inning against Framingham, scoring two runs off an RBI from McGee, which brought home Juechter, and an RBI from Ganca platted Francisco. New Paltz went scoreless in the second, but came back in the third with much more offense.

After Juechter was hit by a pitch to start the inning, McGee came up for the Hawks with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. Ganca hit an RBI single of his own, while Campbell hit a sacrifice fly. Ganca scored on a stealing play to move New Paltz out in front, 6-0.

The hitting continued for the Hawks in the fourth, with Francisco smacking an RBI double and McGee recording an RBI single to extend the lead to 8-0. An RBI single by second-year catcher Camilo Burgos-Bye put New Paltz out in front even further in the fifth inning, 9-0.

The Hawks put in the final blow in the sixth inning, gaining an RBI single from Stalzer and two runs off wild pitches to go ahead, 12-0. Fourth-year pitcher Mike Delio earned the win after throwing three innings, giving up one hit and striking out seven batters. Fourth-year pitcher Justin Stybel pitched three innings of one-hit baseball as well, striking out eight.

“As long as we’re prepared coming into our practices we’ll be good,” Francisco said. “NYU was a good set up for Oswego because they’re both competitors. As long as we stay composed we can catch some dubs.”

New Paltz will match up with Oswego State Friday and Saturday for a three-game SUNYAC series.