Baseball Sweeps Hartford, Clinches Two-Seed
Score: UAlbany 10, Hartford 2
Location: Varsity Field in Albany, N.Y.
Records: UAlbany (28-21, 14-9 AE); Hartford (20-32, 11-13 AE)
Short Story: UAlbany completes the sweep against Hartford on Senior Day to close out the regular season with a nine-game winning streak and clinch the two-seed and a first-round bye in the America East Tournament.
Coach Mueller: “The seniors have talked about this for four years and today their hard work was rewarded. They wanted the bye in the first round and to their credit they were successful. Clayton, Bird, and Yankowski continued to attack and let the defense work. Offensively we were a little tight early, but we opened the game up with that big seven-run inning. Everyone is 0 and 0 and the postseason should be highly competitive.”
- UAlbany’s 3-4-5 batters combined to hit 8-12 with seven RBIs
- Patrick Lagravinese hit 4-5 with a double and three RBIs
- Marc Wangenstein hit 2-3 with two walks and two RBIs
- Kevin Donati hit 2-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored
- Nick Kondo hit 1-3 with a double, two walks, and two runs scored
- Dan Yankowski pitched 3.0 shutout innings in relief, earning his first victory of the season
- UAlbany has won nine-straight games to close the regular season
Earning a series sweep of Hartford with a victory on Senior Day, the University at Albany baseball team has run its season-long winning streak to nine and has clinched the two-seed in the America East Tournament. The Great Danes will enjoy a first-round bye before taking the field on Thursday in Vestal, N.Y.
Before Saturday’s game, the team recognized the 10 seniors on the 2019 roster as well as team manager Colby Cracco in a brief ceremony.
UAlbany got on the board immediately, scoring once in the top of the first inning. Nick Kondo led off with a double down the left field line, and scored two batters later from third when Kevin Donati hit a single to second.
Hartford quickly responded, taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. Both Hawks’ runs came with two outs in the inning.
Two-and-a-half innings passed without either team scoring another run, until the Great Danes plated seven in the bottom of the fifth to break the game wide open. The inning began with a pitching change for the Hawks, who proceeded to retire the first batter, Dolan Ocasal. Kenny Hayden hit a single up the middle and advanced to second when Kondo drew a walk. Travis Collins came up and was hit by a pitch to load the bases, prompting another pitching change for Hartford. The Hawks’ new pitcher hit Donati, forcing in the tying run.
Marc Wangenstein and Patrick Lagravinese hit back-to-back singles to right field to drive in three runs and put UAlbany up 5-2. The next batter, Brad Malm, hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Wangenstein from third.
With two outs, Matt Codispoti drew a walk, and was substituted for pinch-runner Josh Loeffler, who stole second. With runners on second and third, Ocasal, batting for the second time in the inning, hit a bases-clearing single to center, putting UAlbany up 8-2.
UAlbany added one insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and one in the bottom of the eighth, to clinch victory by a final score of 10-2. It was the Danes’ second straight sweep of an America East opponent, and their ninth-straight victory overall to close the regular season.
John Clayton pitched 4.0 innings for UAlbany, allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Dan Yankowski earned his first victory of the season, pitching 3.0 innings with one hit and three strikeouts. Nick Bird pitched the final 2.0 innings, allowing no hits.
Lagravinese finished the day hitting 4-5 with a double and three RBIs, while Donati and Wangenstein each drove in two runs. During the nine-game winning streak, Wangenstein has slugged .788 and driven in 13 runs, while Kondo has hit .438 with five doubles.
In addition to winning nine straight to close the regular season, UAlbany has won eight of their last 10 games against America East opponents, including each of the last six. The Great Danes remain undefeated in May, and have outscored their opponents 46-12 during the winning streak.
UAlbany’s 28 victories are the most for the program since the 2007 season, when the Great Danes went 29-29 and won the America East title. This is also the Danes’ first time earning the second-seed in the America East Tournament since the 2011 season.
Next: The Great Danes will face the winner of three-seed Binghamton and six-seed Hartford on Thursday, May 23 at 2:30 p.m.