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October 20, 2014
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Sports

Blue and Gold sweep Pioneers in first home games of 2014

The baseball team embraced the 80-degree weather on its home field with open arms from April 12–13 with a four-game sweep of Utica College.

These were the Bombers’ first games of the season on Freeman Field. Junior right fielder Christian Brown said it was a relief to play some games at home before the postseason began.

“There’s a whole different atmosphere when we get to play at home,” Brown said. “It’s nice to not have to travel for once to play a game.”

The Bombers defeated the Pioneers 3–2 and 7–3 in the first two games, respectively. Utica held a 2–0 lead through the first four innings of game one. The Bombers managed to tie the game in the fifth inning, setting the stage for a 2–2 showdown in the seventh inning. Junior closing pitcher Jimmy Wagner held the Pioneers scoreless, and senior infielder Tim Henry hit a walk off single in the bottom of the inning to bring junior catcher Cooper Belyea home.

Head coach George Valesente said he applaudes Wagner and Henry’s composure in the final innings of the game.

“It’s great to have someone like Wagner you can depend on,” Valesente said. “[Henry’s] hit also sets a great example for the younger players on how you have to bear down and the kind of attitude you have to have in a crunch situation.”

In game two, the Bombers took control early, carrying a 3–0 lead into the sixth inning, but the Pioneers built a seventh inning comeback and pulled back within one run.

However, the Blue and Gold tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh and blew the game open with a three-run eighth inning to ensure victory.

“We’ve been getting solid pitching and steady defense, which is what’s holding us in, and some clutch hits when we need it,” Valesente said.

The Blue and Gold tacked on two additional victories against Utica, with 10–8 and 10–3 wins April 13.

In game one, Henry led the Bombers on offense, batting 3–4 with four RBIs, including one triple.

Utica entered the top of the seventh inning down 10–4, but the Pioneers didn’t let up. With several hits and an error by senior pitcher Chris Anderson, the Pioneers put together four runs to make the score 10–8.

With runners still on base, the Bombers turned to Wagner again to close the deal. Wagner threw three straight strikes to record the final out of the game and pick up the save for the Bombers.

While Henry was satisfied with the win, he felt his team had to sharpen its attitude.

“We got a little bit flat towards the end, and a little too comfortable with that lead we had there,” Henry said. “That’s something that we need to change so we could put the nail in the coffin right away.”

In game two, a five-run eighth inning put the South Hill squad in a comfortable position to earn the win. Senior infielder Colby Gee and freshman catcher Ryan Henchey combined for six hits and six RBIs. Sophomore Stephen Yanchus infielder hit a solo home run in both games April 13.

The Blue and Gold will host the University of Rochester at 4 p.m. April 15 on Freeman Field.