Wins one and two of the season for the SUNY New Paltz Hawks baseball team came resoundingly, beating the Skidmore Thoroughbreds 6-1 and 7-1, respectively, on Sunday.
Their first road games of the season had the Hawks off to a cracking start, gaining early leads in the opening innings.
The first game of the double header saw third-year infielder Matt Laurelli and second-year infielder Nick Harvey scoring back-to-back in the top of the first, giving New Paltz the 2-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning when scoring would resume. Second-year center fielder Justin Harvey homered to left field, allowing two RBIs and fourth-year first baseman Dean Stalzer to touch home base, giving the Hawks a 4-0 lead. Minutes later, fourth-year outfielder Ryan Geraghty scored off of Laurelli’s hit to center field, adding another run to New Paltz’s total.
All was quiet until the top of the seventh, where Justin Harvey singled to a shortstop, allowing Stalzer to score another run and continue the shutout against the Thoroughbreds. It wasn’t until the bottom of the eighth when Skidmore scored, coming in the form of second-year left fielder Joseph Pastore earning a run off of an RBI. The run proved too little too late for the home team, allowing New Paltz to scoop up the win.
Pitching played a huge role in their resounding victory, led by fifth-year pitcher Anthony Amoroso blanking 20 at-bats.
“I definitely had some nerves in the sense that I was just anxious to play again since we hadn’t played as a team for New Paltz in over a year,” said Amoroso. “But after the first pitch, I just let my ability and all of my preparation take over from there.”
The two squads resumed play for game two not long after, and it was as if history repeated itself; Geraghty earned a run off of a fourth-year infielder John McCarrick double, giving the Hawks another early lead. Yet this time, Skidmore tied the game early with an RBI at the bottom of the third.
From there, the Hawks swooped in and assured that that was all the Thoroughbreds wrote for the remainder of the game. New Paltz’s offense exploded in the top of the fifth; McCarrick and Geraghty scored on the same play, capitalizing on an error from Skidmore’s second baseman. First-year outfielder Justin Ortiz, Laurelli and Justin Harvey all scored within minutes of each other in the same inning, delivering a crushing six point blow to the opposition. The score would remain locked at 7-1 through the end of the ninth.
“They were a competitive baseball team and it was nice to open up against a quality opponent and still come out on top,” said fifth-year outfielder Matt McGee. “Obviously we still have a lot to work on, but things are trending in the right direction right now.”
The doubleheader also marked the NCAA debuts for a whopping nine players, emphasizing the roles of the upperclassmen to motivate a young squad.
“We all reassured them that they are playing for a reason and we have their back and to just play and not think,” Amoroso said. “This is a game where thinking can cripple you. They went out there and played like how we know they can and did an outstanding job to help us win.”
Baseball returns on Friday, April 2 in Cortland, with more doubleheader action.