Baseball Secures Series With Sweep Over Seawolves
Photo: Kaceim Graham earned the win in the nightcap, improving to 4-3 on the season.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Facing the reigning America East champions and 2012 College World Series participants, the University at Albany baseball team was all but intimidated by the Stony Brook Seawolves Saturday afternoon at Varsity Field. The Great Danes started their home-opening doubleheader off with a walk-off, 5-4, win in game one, and ended with a, 9-6, series clinching victory in the nightcap.
With the wins, UAlbany is now 10-13 on the season and 6-4 in America East play, while the Seawolves fell to 9-19 overall and 4-6 in conference action.
Game one starter, sophomore Cameron Sorgie, could not have begun any better on the mound, as he struck the first four batters that he faced. However, Stony Brook finally got ahold of a few pitches in the second inning, lining a double and single, before taking a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
While Sorgie continued to mow down the Seawolves, Stony Brook tagged UAlbany with a double, triple, and run-scoring single to take a 3-0 lead in the third. While Sorgie pitched just three frames in the no-decision, the right-hander logged a career-high eight strikeouts.
Reliever Austin Chase came out of the pen to toss the final four frames and earn the win. Holding Stony Brook without a hit until the sixth, Chase limited the Seawolves to just one run and two hits, while striking out two in his outing. With two outs and a runner on first, Chase attempted a pickoff, but the throw was high, allowing SBU’s Steven Goldstein to move to third and then home on another wild throw on the same play.
However, despite a 4-0 deficit, the Great Danes came roaring back in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Matt Hinchy and junior Brian Bullard led things off with back-to-back singles into the outfield. With two outs, sophomore Gordon Madej ripped a single up the middle, scoring both base runners. Tying the ballgame, junior Josh Nethaway immediately followed with a two-run home run over the centerfield wall, making the score 4-4.
Chase held the Seawolves off the board in the last inning of the seven-frame game, setting up UAlbany’s final at-bats. Right away, Muller led off with a single through the left side and moved up to second on reliever Tim Knesnik’s wild pitch. Pinch runner Adam Mund replaced the senior at second and it proved worthy, as rookie Evan Harasta knocked home the game-winning run in walk-off style with a bullet down the left field line.
Madej (2-for-3) led the squad with two hits and two runs batted in, while Nethaway also had two RBI and went 1-for-3 in the opener.
In game two, the Great Danes picked up where they left off, scoring six unanswered runs in the first three frames. In the second, Nethaway and Muller led off the inning with consecutive singles, and moved into scoring position on Jeff Welsh’s sac bunt. UAlbany’s hero of game one, Harasta, put the Danes on the board again with an RBI single to right field. With two outs, the rally continued as Craig Lepre drew a walk off starter Brandon McNitt, loading the bases. Senior Nolan Gaige took full advantage of the situation, belting a triple to deep centerfield, clearing the bases and giving UAlbany a 4-0 head start.
In the third, the Great Danes tacked on two more runs, as a leadoff error proved to be costly for the Seawolves. Madej reached on an errant throw, Nethaway followed with a single through the left side, and Muller dropped down a bunt single. A late wild throw to first allowed the junior to advance to second, while also scoring Madej. A fielder’s choice put runners on the corners for UAlbany, which played out well for the Danes, as Welsh and Nethaway converted a double steal for a 6-0 lead.
Stony Brook broke onto the board in the fourth on a two-run home run by Kevin Courtney. However, the Great Danes earned the runs back in the bottom of the seventh when Welsh ripped a two-out double, plating Madej and Muller who reached on a walk and hit by pitch, respectively.
With the Danes leading 8-2, Stony Brook did not surrender easily, scoring two runs in the eighth on another Courtney home run. UAlbany took back one run in the bottom of the frame, sparked by Hinchy’s leadoff triple.
In the ninth, the Seawolves continued to battle, loading the bases with no outs on two singles and a fielding error. A walk scored a run, before right-hander Derek Zielinski took the mound. With the tying run at the plate, Zielinski allowed a sac fly, making the score 9-6, before striking out the final two batters for the save.
On the mound for UAlbany, Kasceim Graham (4-3) earned the win, tossing six and a third innings, holding SBU to two runs and five hits, while striking out six. Andrew Jaurique threw one and two-thirds out of the pen, allowing four runs (one earned), three hits, while striking out one, before Zielinski closed the nightcap.
Offensively, the Great Danes totaled 11 hits in the victory led by Muller’s 3-for-3 effort with two runs scored and an RBI. Gaige (2-for-5) and Nethaway (2-for-4) both finished with multiple hits, while Gaige also recorded a game-high three RBI.
UAlbany will look to capture their first series sweep of the season on Sunday when they host the Seawolves for a single game at noon on Varsity Field.