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Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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Bombers finish off Yellowjackets behind sound pitching

Center+fielder+Collin+Feeney+eyes+home+plate+and+sprints+in+an+effort+to+cross+the+plate+against+the+University+of+Rochester+on+April+21.
John Henry Downes
Center fielder Collin Feeney eyes home plate and sprints in an effort to cross the plate against the University of Rochester on April 21.

The Ithaca College baseball team hosted its Liberty League rival, the University of Rochester Yellowjackets at Valesente Diamond at Freeman Field on a chilly afternoon, April 21. After splitting a double header in Rochester on April 20, the Bombers came out victorious in a 5–1 contest to secure a series victory.

The Bombers were led by first-year pitcher Danny Drotos. The left-hander threw the first six innings for the Bombers, only allowing one run and securing the victory. Drotos said that the game-plan was to not force things and allow his defense to make plays behind him.

“Just trusting my defense, pitching for contact,” Drotos said. “It’s worked for me all year and all of our staff.”

After Drotos went 1-2-3 through the first three innings, the Bombers offense began to show life. With junior pitcher Mark Aaronson on the mound for the Yellowjackets, senior shortstop Riley Brawdy worked a leadoff walk for the Bombers. Brawdy eventually was able to advance to second on a wild pitch, giving the Bombers a runner in scoring position. Brawdy was then driven in by senior outfielder Louis Fabbo on a single down the right field line and after three innings the Bombers led 1–0.

In the top of the fourth, Drotos began to run into some trouble. Yellowjackets’ senior second baseman Jackson Reed was able to reach base on an error. Next, junior designated hitter Colby Cruser laid down a beauty of a bunt. He was thrown out at first but Jackson was able to advance to second. The following hitter, senior first baseman Alec Ellison was able to keep the ball rolling for the Yellowjackets, hitting an RBI single to left field. Drotos was able to settle back in and escape the inning without any more damage.

The Bombers looked to bounce back in the bottom of the inning. Junior outfielder Collin Feeney was able to get things started for the Bombers with a leadoff single to right field. The following hitter, senior infielder Ethan Rothstein, hit a chopper to third, however, Yellowjackets senior third baseman Quincy Jaksch air-mailed the throw to first, allowing Rothstein to be safe and Feeney to advance to third.

Two-batters later, junior pitcher Matt Casiero relieved Aaronson for the Yellowjackets. With Brawdy at the plate, Casiero threw a wild pitch, bringing in Feeney. With the help of a diving play by Yellowjackets first-year shortstop Sammy Besztery, Casiero was able to get out of the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Drotos began to labor for the Bombers. A hit by pitch was followed by a bloop single to center by Cruser, the Yellowjackets were now set up with runners on first and second with nobody out. Drotos was able to bear down and strike out Ellison for the first out.

With senior center fielder Josh Leadem at the plate, Drotos got help from his catcher, junior Tyler Pugliese when Pugliese threw out Jackson who was attempting to steal third base. Leadem then lined out to sophomore second baseman Matt Curtis and Drotos escaped the inning.

Drotos said that because the squad had two games yesterday it was important for him to eat some innings. He said that the pitching staff has done a great job this season ensuring that the bullpen remains fresh through dense parts of the schedule.

“We’re doing a really good job keeping our bullpen good and rested,” Drotos said. “I was just doing my job.”

In the bottom of the sixth, the Bombers looked to add to their lead. With two outs, senior outfielder Colin Shashaty hit a single up the middle. Brawdy then was able to find grass in left field with a bloop single, Shashaty got a great jump and was able to make it all the way to third base. Casiero walked the following hitter to load the bases up. Casiero continued to struggle with control and threw a wild pitch, allowing all base runners to advance and Shashaty to score and after six innings of play the Bombers led 3–1.

After a scoreless top half of the inning by junior pitcher Dan Allard, the Bombers added on to their lead in their half of the inning. Casiero continued to struggle with his command, walking Curtis and Feeney before being taken out of the game for junior pitcher Sammy Rosenfield.

With Rothstein now at the plate, the Bombers pinch ran the speedy sophomore outfielder Colin Dunn for Curtis at second. Dunn and Feeney both advanced on a groundout to shortstop. With Shashaty at the plate, Rosenfield threw a wild pitch in the dirt. Not only did Dunn score from third but Feeney hustled all the way from second base to also score on the play for his second run on the day.

The Bombers were able to wrap things up with a two inning save from sophomore pitcher/outfielder Conor Burns, who was able to pick up his team leading fifth save of the season to emerge victorious 5–1.

Drotos said it was crucial for the team to pick up the series victory at home and that the recent losses are not going to faze the squad as they approach postseason play.

“This is huge,” Drotos said. “I mean we’re just doing what we’re doing. We’re Bombers so we’re just gonna keep on going.”

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