SUNY-Cortland, owners of the No. 2 overall ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division III Pre-Season Poll, got passed the College of Staten Island in the Dolphins’ home opener, 2-1, in a single non-conference test earlier this evening. The Red Dragons improved to 2-3 overall this season, while the loss, the third straight for the Dolphins, dips them to a season-opening 1-5.
In a match-up that featured a virtual stand-off between two dueling pitchers, Cortland’s Michael Mahay battled with CSI’s Pat Gale for supremacy on the mound. Ironically, both pitchers were touched with early runs, as the total came within the first two innings.
Junior Matt June got things started for the Dragons, reaching on an infield single, followed by a steal of second base. After an out was recorded, June trotted to second via a passed ball, and came in to score easily when Tim Pannetta laced a lined double to right field. Pannetta would be stranded at third when Gale recorded two straight to end the top half of the frame.
After the Dolphins went down in order in their turn at the dish, the Dragons doubled their lead in the next stanza, as John Adornetto led off with a bunt single. After stealing second and advancing to third via an Alex Coffey groundout, Adornetto was plated via a June infield single that screamed up the middle and off of Gale’s glove.
CSI cut the lead in their frame when Sal Todaro touched Mahay for a screaming basehit to left field, scoring Matthew Morales who was on base via a basehit earlier in the inning, having advanced via a wild pitch and groundout.
From there, however, the game’s scoring column would remain unblemished as the teams combined to leave 11 men on base. Cortland would not put a runner on third base until the 8th inning, but by then Gale was done for the day, having settled into a quality seven-inning performance, alloweing two earned runs on five hits, fanning nine. Mahay was equally masterful, tossing six innings before being lifted, allowing the lone CSI run on two hits, walking one and striking out another.
The Dolphins would have their chances in the last three frames, as the home team left a runner at third base each inning, stranding five runners. In the seventh, hits by Morales and Bryan Moreno, coupled with Todaro being hit by a Brendan Hourihan pitch loaded the bases, but Hourihan forced a James Lewis harmless groundout to second base to end the inning.
In the eighth frame, CSI squandered a great chance. Dan Lynch led off with an infield single, and when Henry Roman struck out, Lynch was called out at second base trying to steal. The controversial decision forced a stoppage as CSI Head Coach Michael Mauro argued the call to no avail. On the next at-bat, Pat Gale doubled to right field, a hit that probably could have sent the tying run home. With Gale at second, Joe Cassano struck out looking to end the inning.
Down to one last chance against Cortland reliever Tom Nagy, Matthew Morales blooped a single to right field, and was brought over to second base via a Mark Glennerster bunt. After Nagy got Todaro to strike out swinging, Morales took third on a wild pitch. With two outs and Morales at third, pinch-hitter Joe Falcone stepped in, but Nagy got Falcone swinging to end the inning, and another threat, earning the save.
CSI out-hit the Dragons 7-5, as the Dolphins got three hits from Morales to lead the day at the dish. For Cortland, June scored the only multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a run scored and RBI.
CSI will be back in action on Sunday afternoon, weather permitting. The team hosts FDU-Florham in a single 12 Noon contest at the CSI Baseball Complex.