The baseball team won their first State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) series this past weekend after beating SUNY Brockport in two out of three games. The Hawks now have a record of 9-11.
Returning home after being swept by SUNY Oswego in their first SUNYAC series of the year, the Hawks came out hot offensively in the following series against Brockport, winning 11-1 and 11-2 on Saturday, April 7 to start off the weekend. New Paltz would go on to lose the final game against the Golden Eagles on Sunday 5-2, while also dropping a nailbiter on Tuesday April 10 to No. 7 Rowan University 5-4.
“Getting those two wins against Brockport got us right back into the playoff race,” said fourth-year outfielder Jake Williams. “We’re where we want to be heading into these next few games.”
Fourth-year infielder Anthony Pantano got the offense going in the first game on Saturday, hitting a solo home run to put the Hawks up top 1-0 in the first inning. Williams came up with a two-run single in the fifth, while fourth-year outfielder Nick DePietro followed with a two-run single of his own, and an RBI single from third-year outfielder and utility Danny Campbell put the Hawks on top 6-0.
The Hawks continued to score throughout the game, with a Williams’ two-run dinger in the ninth sealing the victory.
Fourth-year pitcher Luke Christy earned his first win of the year for New Paltz, going seven innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. His only earned run came on a solo homer from Brockport’s second-year outfielder Nik Malachowski.
Christy returns this season after not playing in 2017 due to Tommy John surgery.
“When Luke gets on the mound, he’s a bulldog,” said head coach Arlan Freeman. “He pushes the guys around him, and every time he’s pitching, we feel like we can win. His maturity has been a key to our success this year.”
New Paltz did not slow up on their offensive efforts in the second game of the series, as a two-run shot from fourth-year catcher Dwayne Page put the Hawks on the board in the second inning. Page would continue to drive in runs in the top of fourth with an RBI double, followed by RBI singles from second-year outfielder Julian Francisco and Pantano to put the Hawks up 5-0.
After a solo homerun by second-year outfielder Tom Kretzler in the bottom of the inning put Brockport on the board, Williams answered with an RBI triple in the next half inning. Another Brockport solo shot from fourth-year infielder Avery Brooks put them behind 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, but once again, New Paltz answered.
The Hawks broke the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh. New Paltz would win by the score of 11-2.
Third-year pitcher Michael Delio pitched a gem for the Hawks, going six solid innings and winning his first game of the year. He only allowed two hits, striking out two in the victory.
New Paltz would go on to lose on the last day of the series, 5-2.
“We did really well in scoring runs on Saturday, and had plenty of opportunities on Sunday, but left 15 guys on base,” Christy said. “Getting hits when guys are in scoring position, just scratching away runs, will be big for us in the future.”
The Hawks came into Tuesday ready to prove something against No. 7 Rowan.
After Rowan scored four in the third, the Hawks answered right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on an RBI double from Pantano and a groundout from Williams to put them behind 2-4. A sac-fly from fourth-year outfielder Brian Brenton in the bottom of the fourth would put New Paltz behind by only one.
An insurance run from Rowan in the bottom of the seventh proved to be costly for New Paltz, as an RBI single from Brenton in the bottom of the ninth was not enough for the Hawks, losing 5-4.
The Hawks will continue their homestand on Friday, April 13 with their third SUNYAC series of the year against SUNY Plattsburgh.
“Our season comes down to the next 12 days,” Freeman said. “This weekend we’ll be running on all cylinders. If we can win five out of our next nine, we’ll be in a good spot.”