Baseball Boasts 23-Run Game In Doubleheader Split With Hartford

Photo: Joey Tracy went 4-for-4 with six RBI and scored three runs in game one Saturday.

GAME ONE BOX  I  GAME TWO BOX  I  SEASON STATS

ALBANY, N.Y. – Exploding for 23 runs and 20 hits in Saturday’s seven-inning series opener against Hartford, the University at Albany baseball team trounced the visiting Hawks, 23-8. However, in the nine-inning nightcap, Hartford rallied for an 11-5 victory, knotting the series. With the squads tied for second place in the America East Conference standings, both owning a 9-8 league mark, a win in Sunday’s rubber match will be a highly sought.

In the incredibly offense-heavy game one, UAlbany pounded out 13 runs and 10 hits, including six doubles and a solo home run by junior Josh Nethaway in just the first two innings. Nethaway finished the game a triple shy of the cycle as he went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in, two runs scored, logging a double, homer, and single in his first three at-bats. Senior Greg Muller’s bat was also red hot, going 4-for-5 with seven RBI and three runs scored, with two singles, a double, and a triple.

Sophomore Joey Tracy had a breakout performance at the plate with six runs batted in and three runs scored in a perfect 4-for-4 effort. Classmate Gordon Madej (2-for-4) and freshmen Matt Hinchy (2-for-3) and Evan Harasta (2-for-3) also contributed multiple hits in the barrage.  

In this first inning, UAlbany batted around the order, tagging Hartford starter Kyle Gauthier (1-5) and reliever Justin Robarge for a total of eight runs. With one out, Nethaway knocked in Muller with the game’s first double and with the bases loaded Hinchy belted a bases-clearing two-bagger to left. Junior Brian Bullard followed immediately with another double before back-to-back walks set up Muller’s bases-loaded two-bagger, plating three more for an 8-0 head start.

The Great Danes tacked on five more runs in the second, batting through the lineup again. Nethaway led off with a bomb over the left field wall, and Tracy made an impact with his bases-loaded double, plating three. Muller capped the inning with a run-scoring single through the left side for a 13-0 lead.

Hartford got one run back in the third and another solo run in the fourth before the Danes rallied again in their fourth-inning at-bats. UAlbany scored four runs in the frame when Harasta, Tracy, and Gaige filled the bases reaching on consecutive singles and a fielding error, respectively, setting up Muller’s bases clearing triple to the right field gap for a 17-2 lead.

The squads traded single runs in the fifth and Hartford tacked on another one-run frame in the sixth. However, in the bottom of the inning, UAlbany again pounded out five runs. The Great Danes took advantage of some sloppy defense, as four of the runs were unearned due to three errors in the frame.

In the top of the seventh, the Hawks rallied for four runs in the final inning, but with a 23-4 lead, the Great Danes had more than enough insurance runs to keep their minds at ease as they got the final outs and captured the victory.

On the mound, Kaceim Graham (5-4) earned the win, throwing five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits, while striking out nine. Freshman Sam DeCelle tossed the remaining two frames, allowing five runs (four earned), five hits, and struck out one.

In the nightcap, UAlbany jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on a run-scoring wild pitch. However, that would be the Great Danes’ final lead of the day, as Hartford scored eight straight runs in the middle innings. The Hawks scored two runs in the fourth, five in the fifth, and one in the sixth, before UAlbany was able to get back on the board in the bottom half of the sixth. With two outs, Bullard lined home Hinchy from second with an RBI single.  

From there, the Hawks continued to expand their lead, scoring two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth for an 11-2 advantage.

Unwilling to give in, the Danes rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, as two walks and a single by Tracy loaded the bases and set up Gaige’s run-scoring single. With the bases still full, a wild pitch plated Craig Lepre, and Nethaway drove home Tracy with a two-out single through the left side. However, Hartford reliever Anthony Mannuccia was able to get the final groundout, ending the game.

Brian Hunter (2-3) earned the win for the Hawks, hurling seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits, while striking out six. Mannuccia tossed the final two frames out of the pen.

For UAlbany, Derek Zielinski (2-4) took the loss, throwing four and a third, allowing six runs (four earned), six hits, and struck out six, as well. Sophomores Andrew Jaurique and Stephen Carey also saw action on the mound in relief.

Offensively, Gaige (2-for-4), Madej (2-for-5), and Hinchy (2-for-5) all boasted multi-hit performances.

UAlbany and Hartford will battle it out for the series as well as sole possession of second place in the conference standings when they meet Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Varsity Field. The game will be video streamed live through DaneZone.