Baseball Walks Off With Hartford Series Win, 10-9, In 12 Innings
Photo: Josh Nethaway went 4-for-6 and hit the winning walk-off double Sunday.
ALBANY, N.Y. – With one out in the bottom of the 12th inning, junior Josh Nethaway played hero with a walk-off game-winning double, leading the University at Albany baseball team to a 10-9 victory over the visiting Hartford Hawks Sunday afternoon at Varsity Field. The Great Danes, who were tied with Hartford in the America East Conference standings, captured the series and sole possession of second place with a 10-8 league record and 16-16-1 overall mark.
In the three-game series, UAlbany totaled 48 hits, including 19 in the rubber match led by Nethaway’s 4-for-6 performance. Junior D.J. Hoagboon also went 4-for-6 with an RBI and run scored, while senior Greg Muller went 3-for-6 and batted in a run. Junior Brian Bullard (2-for-5) belted his first home run of the season and boasted a multi-hit performance along with Nolan Gaige (2-for-5) and Gordon Madej (2-for-6).
In the early innings, the momentum from Saturday’s nightcap win seemed to still be in Hartford’s favor, as the Hawks plated the first seven runs of the afternoon. Hartford scored two runs in the first and four in the second off starter Kevin Archbold, prompting a call to the bullpen. Reliever Cameron Sorgie faced one batter and forced the final out of the second frame before the visitors tagged one run in the top of the third.
Despite trailing 7-0, the Great Danes steadily chipped away at the deficit. UAlbany got on the board with one run in the third on Madej’s sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Craig Lepre from third.
In the fourth, the Danes added three runs, stringing together four singles by Hoagboon, Bullard, Gaige, and Muller.
While Hartford scored one run in the top of the fifth, UAlbany answered back immediately, plating two in the bottom of the inning. Nethaway led off with a single up the middle and with two outs, Bullard belted his seventh career home run over the right field wall, cutting the margin to two, 8-6.
On the mound, Sorgie kept the Hawks at bay, allowing UAlbany to strike and take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. The Danes recorded four consecutive hits as Lepre and Gaige led off with back-to-back doubles and Muller and Madej followed with singles through the left side. Hoagboon capped the rally with a two-out go-ahead RBI single through the left side, bringing home Madej for a 9-8 lead.
However, Hartford tied it back up in the seventh, as Pat Knauth led off with a double, reliever Austin Chase allowed a walk and an RBI single through the left side. However, the senior right-hander settled in and forced three straight outs, leaving two runners stranded.
From there, a pitching duel ensued as Chase battled Hartford’s Alex Gouin and Jeremy Charles into the 12th inning. Chase did not allow a runner past second base and held the Hawks to just four hits in the final six innings, while Charles fought his way out of a bases loaded jam in the 11th, sending the ballgame into one more frame.
In the bottom of the 12th, an inside pitch hit Muller with one out to lead things off and Madej singled through the left side, putting the winning run -- pinch runner Adam Mund -- in scoring position at second. At the plate, Nethaway drilled a high fly ball deep to centerfield that fell in the gap. Unsure if it would drop or be caught, the runners did not stray too far from the bags and it became a mad dash for home. Mund beat out the throw to the plate and the Great Danes walked off with the victory.
Chase (4-3) earned the win, allowing no runs and struck out seven in the final six innings. Charles (1-2) took the loss, throwing the final two and a third frames for Hartford.
Up next, the Great Danes travel to Manhattan for a midweek non-conference matchup Wednesday. UAlbany will return to Varsity Field next weekend, hosting UMBC for a three-game America East series.