MARCY, N.Y. – Only a day removed from a crushing pair of conference losses, the SUNY Poly Baseball Team responded with a resounding sweep of the NEAC-leading Penn State Abington Nittany Lions. The Lions were previously undefeated in conference play. The sweep vaulted SUNY Poly to second place in the NEAC, now with a conference record of 5-3.
Both games had their share of excitement. Down 5-3 in the first game, the Wildcats exploded for 8 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning, responding in a big way to a 4-run performance by the Nittany Lions in the top-half of the inning.
Wildcat center-fielder Ray Smith broke things open in the inning, ripping a 2-RBI double to center field. He finished the day 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored, and a walk.
SUNY Poly enjoyed an outstanding relief appearance by Andrew Scharra, who went 4 and 1/3 innings in relief of starter Sawyer Haney en route to picking up his first win of the year. Scharra gave up just 1 run and only 2 hits, striking out one.
Both teams threw their aces in the second game, and the resulting low-scoring affair was to be expected. Both Penn St.-Abington's Bryan Melendez and SUNY Poly's Joseph Redmond were outstanding, throwing complete games for their respective sides in the 7-inning affair.
Ultimately the Wildcats prevailed on a freak play in the bottom of the 7th inning. With the score tied 1-1, Dylan Gorski laced a line drive that was headed over the shortstop's head. The ball appeared headed for the gap in left-center and might have been at least a double anyway, however the Nittany Lions shortstop threw his glove into the air at the ball while in the process of jumping to try and catch it. Amazingly, he was successful in hitting the ball and altering its flight – baseball rules state that if a player does this, the batter is rewarded with an automatic triple.
The upshot of the event was that Gorski ended up on 3rd with no outs and the Wildcats needing just one run for a walk-off victory. Which is precisely what the team received with one out, as second baseman Ryan Kelly singled to score Gorski and give SUNY Poly a thrilling 2-1 victory.
Kelly had the home team's only RBI on the day, finishing 2-for-3 to tie Passalacqua for the team-lead in hits.
Redmond looked like the 1st Team All-Conference pitcher of a year ago that led the NEAC in ERA. The big right-hander allowed just 5 hits in 7 innings of work, striking out 5 while surrendering just one run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 3rd. He improved his record to 2-2 for the year.
The Wildcats will play Utica College in a home game this upcoming Wednesday, April 22nd, before heading to Keuka for more conference play on Saturday, April 25th. The Utica game is a rescheduled game from earlier in the year, and is set to begin at 4:00 pm.