WINTER HAVEN, FL.- The SUNYIT Men's Baseball team (1-4, 0-0 NEAC) fell short of completing an exciting late innings comeback Tuesday, losing 5-4 to Gordon College in a 9 inning thriller.
After a three-run third inning put SUNYIT behind 5-1, the Wildcats began to chip away. SUNYIT answered back immediately with a run in the bottom of the third inning, then added runs in the 6th and 7th to pull within one, 5-4.
With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Rowlands (New York Mills, N.Y. / Notre Dame H.S.) singled. The senior outfielder then stole second, but it was as far as he would get as a strikeout stranded him there. Gordon closer Fitzgerald had a solid 9th inning, striking out the other three batters he faced besides Rowlands.
Rowlands, for his part, has been on a tear in Florida, finishing the game 2-for-5 with an RBI to raise his average to .429. Rowland's nine hits currently lead the team, along with his 2 triples and 6 RBI's.
Rowlands trails only senior and team co-captain Jim Sass (Kingston, N.Y. / Kingston H.S.) in batting average. The second baseman has been just as hot as Rowlands, pounding out 8 hits on 15 at-bats so far and scoring 7 runs from the leadoff position. Sass finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI in the loss to Gordon.
On the hill for the Wildcats to start was lefty Ryan Dungey (Vernon, N.Y. / VVS HS). The senior battled through six innings, settling down after the third inning to pitch three straight scoreless frames and give SUNYIT a chance for the comeback. Equally impressive was freshman Tyler Vyce (Waterford, N.Y. / Shenendehowa H.S.). The left-hander closed out the game with three scoreless innings of relief, striking out three while walking two.
The Wildcats are back in action Thursday as they take on MCLA at 10 and 12 am.