Baseball Clinches America East Tournament Berth With Split At Stony Brook
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – With Sunday’s doubleheader split at Stony Brook, the University at Albany baseball team has clinched a spot in the four-team America East Conference Tournament, which will be played May 22-24th in Lowell, Mass. Despite a furious late comeback in game one at Joe Nathan Field, the Great Danes fell, 8-7, before rallying to win the nightcap, 7-4.
UAlbany (22-21-1, 15-12) jumped out to a 4-0 head start in game two, as junior Josh Nethaway doubled home senior Nolan Gaige and sophomore Gordon Madej, who reached base on a walk and bunt single, respectively. Matt Hinchy also recorded an infield single and a wild throw to first advanced the freshman to second, while allowing Nethaway to cross the plate. With two outs, junior D.J. Hoagboon kept the rally alive, bringing in Hinchy with a single to second.
In the top of the third, junior Brian Bullard stretched UAlbany’s lead to 5-0, belting a two-out solo home run over the right-centerfield wall. The long-ball marked his third of the season.
The hosting Seawolves (22-30, 13-14) broke onto the board in the bottom of the inning, using a walk, fielder’s choice, and run-scoring double off UAlbany starter Kasceim Graham.
However, the Great Danes got the run back in the fourth. Taking advantage of Hoagboon’s leadoff walk and Joey Tracy’s bunt single, Madej drove both runners home with a double to left-centerfield for a six-run lead, 7-1.
While Stony Brook tried to battle back -- scoring one unearned run in the fourth and two in the seventh, using three singles and a hit batter in the inning – UAlbany held on for the key conference victory.
Graham (7-4) earned the win, tossing six and two-thirds, holding Stony Brook to four runs and five hits, while striking out two. Out of the pen, Cameron Sorgie earned the save, throwing the final two and a third frames, allowing no runs, no hits, and struck out two.
Stony Brook’s Daniel Zamora (2-7) took the loss, allowing seven runs and eight hits in the opening three and two-thirds. The Seawolves used four arms in the clash.
Offensively, the Great Danes totaled 12 hits with everyone in the order getting in on the action. Gaige (2-for-4), Madej (2-for-5), and Bullard (2-for-5) led the squad with multi-hit performances.
In the first game of the day, UAlbany also took the initial lead, scoring two runs in the first, as Gaige, Madej, and Nethaway strung together a trio of singles.
Stony Brook responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, using a pair of walks, a sac fly and two singles.
The Great Danes reclaimed the lead in the top of the second, 4-3, plating two unearned runs. Hoagboon reached on an error, advanced to third on Tracy’s double down the left field line, and scored on Craig Lepre’s ground out, while Madej knocked home Tracy with an RBI ground out to first. However, that would be the Danes’ final lead of the seven-inning ballgame.
In the bottom of the third, Stony Brook rallied for three runs on Anthony Italiano’s bases-clearing home run. The Seawolves then added two more in the fourth for an 8-4 lead.
Relentless, the Great Danes came storming back with three runs on two outs in the top of the sixth. Lepre got things going with a single to center and Gaige followed with an RBI triple to right-centerfield. After a call to the bullpen, Madej drew a walk, and Greg Mullerdrove in both runners with a single to left.
Unfortunately, Seawolf reliever Tim Knesnik halted the rally with a fly out, and in the top of the seventh, closer Joshua Mason stranded Bullard – the tying run – at third with three straight outs.
UAlbany starter Derek Zielinski (2-5) took the loss, pitching into the third frame, allowing six runs and four hits. Reliever Kevin Archbold threw the remaining four innings, allowing two runs and three hits, while striking out three.
Frankie Vanderka (7-3) earned the win, tossing five and two-thirds, allowing six runs (four earned) and eight hits. Mason earned the save.
UAlbany totaled 10 hits led by Gaige’s 3-for-3 effort with an RBI and two runs scored. also had multiple hits, going 2-for-2 with two runs batted in.
The Great Danes close the regular season this week, hosting Binghamton for a three-game series to be played Friday and Saturday at Varsity Field.