Baseball Splits Day One At Tidelands; Walks Off vs. Winthrop
CONWAY, S.C. – The University at Albany baseball team opened play in its first tournament of the season Friday, the Tidelands Health Classic, with two games against separate opponents. First, the Great Danes played San Francisco, and followed up later in the day with the first of two scheduled games against Winthrop.
In the first game, the UAlbany lost to San Francisco by a score of 12-11. The Great Danes got off to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first, before San Francisco responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. UAlbany tied the game in the top of the third, but then gave up six runs in the bottom of the inning to fall behind 8-2.
After giving up another run in the bottom of the fourth, UAlbany scored two in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 9-4. San Francisco kept pace, adding two more in the bottom of the inning, bringing the lead back to seven. San Francisco scored for the final time in the bottom of the seventh, marking their largest lead of the game at 12-4.
UAlbany scored five runs in the top of the eighth, followed by two more in the top of the ninth to cut the lead to one, but the team ultimately fell short. Marc Wangenstein hit a two-run home run to left center with no outs, but San Francisco retired the next three Danes in order after a pitching change.
Wangenstein, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, went 2-2 with two home runs and three RBIs. Leadoff batter Patrick Lagravinese scored three runs to lead the team for the game. Starting pitcher Marcus Failing lasted 2.1 innings, giving up eight runs, striking out one and walking two. In relief, David Hutchison pitched 3.2 innings, with three strikeouts against zero walks, giving up three runs. John Clayton and Jack McClure combined for the final 2.0 innings of the game, striking out four and giving up one run.
San Francisco scored 12 runs on 13 hits and committed five errors in the field. UAlbany scored 11 runs on 12 hits, committing three errors.
The second game of the day, against Winthrop, proved to be the lowest-scoring outing of the Great Danes young 2017 season. After falling behind the Eagles 1-0, the Great Danes rallied late to win the game 3-2.
Scoring came at a premium all game, with the first run coming in the top of the third when Winthrop crossed home plate first. UAlbany tied the game at one in the bottom of the fourth. The next two innings went scoreless between the two teams, before Winthrop broke through with one run in the top of the seventh.
Winthrop maintained its 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Kyle Sacks led off the inning for the Great Danes with a single. Evan Harasta next drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Nick Kondo came in to pinch run for Harasta. After Connor Powers struck out, Matt Codispoti safely reached first on a fielder’s choice that had Kondo forced out at second. Sacks, meanwhile, had advanced to third.
Garret Longhurst came in to pinch run for Codispoti. Next, Travis Collins hit a single to center that scored Sacks to tie the game at two. After a Winthrop pitching change, Eric Mueller was hit by a pitch in the subsequent at-bat. Finally, Lagravinese drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk to force in the winning run, giving the Great Danes a 3-2 victory.
Sacks led the team with two hits in the game, and three separate players accounted for UAlbany’s three RBIs. Starting pitcher Brendan Smith lasted 4.0 innings, striking out five, waking one, and giving up one run. Hunter Torres pitched 2.0 innings in relief, striking out three and giving up one run. Dominic Savino pitched the final 3.0 innings, striking out one and giving up zero runs.
Winthrop scored two runs on seven hits with zero errors. UAlbany also had seven hits, but committed four errors.
“It was a long day for the guys, for sure,” said head coach Jon Mueller. “We had a tough finish to the first game, but in the second game we pitched very well. I thought Brendan did a great job. Hunter came in and is getting healthy, which is nice, and Dom was really good at the end, had really good velocity. We need to clean up the defense a little bit, but it was a real good pitcher we beat today. That was our biggest challenge so far on offense, but we managed to fight through it and get a great win for the guys, and we look forward to Coastal tomorrow night.”
The players surprised Mueller with a Gatorade shower during his post game comments.
The Great Danes will play one game tomorrow, against defending national champion # 21 Coastal Carolina, at 5:00 p.m.