Pitching Leads Hawks To Wins

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

The baseball team continued their 2014 SUNYAC schedule with three home games against SUNY Fredonia from Friday, April 11 to Saturday, April 12.

The Hawks and Blue Devils played one game on Friday. The Blue Devils scored their only two runs of the game in the top of the second-inning  off a two-run home run by fourth-year center fielder Bobby Frantz.

The Hawks, down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, fought back with back-to-back doubles by third-year catcher/first baseman Mike Sparacino and third-year infielder Stanley DeLaCruz, which brought the Hawks within one run.

However, Blue Devils’ fourth-year pitcher Sean Larson and fourth-year pitcher Kyle Grey combined to hold the Hawks to only one run. The Hawks’ comeback was not enough, as they were defeated 2-1.

On Saturday, the Hawks took both games in a doubleheader.

In the first game, the sole run was scored in the bottom of the third-inning when second-year center fielder Tom Dieckhoff reached base on a fielding error by Blue Devils fourth-year third baseman Matt Casillo. Dieckhoff advanced to second base on a groundout by second-year catcher Tyler Bell. During the next at-bat, he was then able to steal third and  advance home on a throwing error by Fredonia’s third-year catcher Anthony Schiro.

Third-year pitcher Shaun Hansen came on in relief in the top of the seventh-inning with one out, for Hawks starter, fourth-year pitcher Chris Pyz. Hansen closed out the game and picked up his first career save as the Hawks took game one 1-0.

Pyz earned his third win of the season to improve to a 3-2 record. He threw six and one-third innings, allowing no runs off three hits, struck out six.

In the nightcap, the Hawks scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth-inning to take the sweep of the doubleheader against the Blue Devils 6-4.

Fredonia had loaded the bases in the ninth-inning, but second-year pitcher Christian Huertas closed out the game for the Hawks, giving them the victory.

Third-year pitcher Jesse Vahamonde was the pitcher of record for the Hawks, who entered the game to pitch the eighth-inning. Vahamonde earned his first career win as a collegiate pitcher, striking out one and forcing two fly outs.

Head Coach Matt Righter said Vahamonde has really turned into a nice reliever for the team.

“He’s one of our more intelligent guys on and off the field,” Righter said. “He works so hard, and I’m really happy that he’s kind of emerged himself in a role as one of our relievers that we can count on.”

Vahamonde said taking two out of three games from Fredonia was “huge.”

“We needed to win every series from that point,” he said. “The results of this series was a great turn of events for us and served as a great motivator.”

The Hawks then played three road games against SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, April 18 to Saturday, April 19.

On Friday, the Hawks won the first game of a three-game road set 1-0. The Hawks scored the lone run of the game when third-year outfielder Richard Guido started off the eighth-inning with a triple. Fourth-year Captain David Lostaglio brought home Guido on a sacrifice fly soon after.

Fourth-year pitcher Andrew Grann pitched a complete-game shutout to become the school’s all-time leader in wins tossing a three-hitter to notch his 17th career victory for the Hawks, striking out seven Plattsburgh hitters in a 114-pitch performance. He allowed just one walk and earned his fourth victory of the season.

On Saturday, game two of the series needed extra innings to be decided. In the first game of a doubleheader, the game was tied at two through four innings of play. The Hawks took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth-inning. The Cardinals had tied the game at three a piece in their last at-bat of the seventh-inning, sending the game to extra innings. The game would be decided on a wild-pitch which brought home Richard Guido to give the Hawks a 4-3 victory.

In the nightcap, the Hawks fell to the Cardinals 3-2. The Cardinals scored their final run in the eighth-inning.

Pitching has been a key point in the Hawks’ recent success.

“Our pitching this entire season has been great,” Vahamonde said. “Our starters have been able to go deep into games and keep teams from scoring a lot of runs early. Our relievers have been very reliable out of the pen keeping teams from scoring many runs late in the game.”

The Hawks now have their eyes on their upcoming opponent, SUNY Oneonta.

“We’re anxiously watching them and then looking forward to having our top pitchers on the mound, a fully-rested bullpen and a lot of confidence going up to Oneonta on Sunday,” Righter said.

Righter said the team plans on playing those games as meaningful games, and not much differently.

“We will probably tweak and fine-tune a few things with our base-running, some situational defenses, which will be very important,” he said. “This year especially in the league, there’s a lot of small-ball, a lot of bunting. Every base and every run is extremely important in this league. We want to be as sharp as we possibly can going into the [Oneonta] series.”

Vahamonde said the team now controls their own destiny and has the necessary tools to make it happen.

The Hawks conclude their 2014 season as they host Ithaca College in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon beginning at noon at Loren Campbell Memorial Field. On Sunday, April 27, the Hawks travel to Oneonta in a SUNYAC doubleheader beginning at noon to conclude their regular season.

About Melissa Kramer 157 Articles
Melissa Kramer is a fourth-year journalism major who lives for sports and music.