The Ithaca College baseball team split its doubleheader against the University of Rochester Yellowjackets on March 24 on the Valesente Diamond at Freeman Field.
In the first game, the Bombers were led by senior center Mike Nauta, who went 3-for-4 with three singles and two runs batted in. Senior pitcher Kyle Lambert went six innings for the Bombers, giving up two runs, five hits and striking out six.
The third inning passed with the Bombers only managing one Nauta single, but Lambert held up his end and allowed only one hit to the Yellowjackets. Unfortunately, the Yellowjackets scored on a past ball in the top of the fourth with men on second and third. The Bombers got out of the inning trailing 1–0.
The Yellowjackets extended their lead in the top of the sixth and seventh, while the Bombers stranded men on third in both the fifth and sixth. In the top of the sixth, senior Yellowjackets catcher John Moses hit a double into center, bringing home a run. Lambert drew a pop up and struck out a batter to end the sixth and finish his day down 2–0. In the seventh sophomore pitcher Dan Kellachan came in and allowed Yellowjackets first-year student first baseman Colton Avera to hit a blooper single into left, scoring a man and making the Bombers deficit 3–0.
The Bombers came to life in the ninth. With one out in the top of the inning, senior catcher Gil Merod caught a Yellowjacket runner stealing and fired the ball to second to pick him off. Kellachan gave up a single but recovered when the Yellowjackets grounded into a perfectly executed 3–6–3 double play.
Life was breathed into the Bombers in the bottom of the ninth when Merod was granted first after being hit by a pitch and sophomore first baseman Ryan Laubscher walked. With sophomore shortstop Connor Pedersen loading the bases after a walk, Nauta hit a liner into right for a single, scoring two runners and making the score 3–2.
The Bombers’ last-inning surge was short lived and the game would end 3–2.
The second game was led by first-year student catcher Ethan Daddabbo and junior third baseman Ethan Rothstein, who each went 1-for-3 with one RBI. Sophomore pitcher Colin Leyner pitched all seven innings, allowing two runs, six hits and one strikeout.
The top of the first inning was an ugly one for Leyner. Leyner gave up three hits in the inning, with two scoring to give the Yellowjackets an early 2–0 lead.
After a scoreless first inning, the Bombers answered the Yellowjackets in the bottom of the second. After senior designated hitter Matt Fabian was walked and Laubscher sent a single into shallow center, Daddabbo nearly replicated Laubscher’s single, sending Fabian home and making the Yellowjackets’ lead 2–1.
In the bottom of the fifth Nauta hit a grounder to second, but the second baseman struggled to field the ball and Nauta beat the throw. This was followed by junior left fielder Louis Fabbo’s blooper single into center and graduate student Garrett Callaghan’s liner into right field that brought home Nauta, making the score 2–2.
Leyner made quick work of the Yellowjackets in the sixth and brought the Bombers back to the plate. Laubscher started off the inning by hitting a double into center. Two flyouts followed, but with two outs Rothstein stepped to the plate and hit a single into left, bringing home the tie-breaking run.
Leyner took care of business in the seventh and the Bombers earned a 3–2 win.
Rothstein said the team knew they would be able to come into the second game and be effective.
“We knew we had Leyner on the mound and he’s our dog, so we knew he’d throw a good game,” Rothstein said. “We just had to get a few hits and help him out and we were able to turn it around.”
Despite a tough first inning, Leyner said that he trusted his stuff and it got him the win.
“I made a few solid pitches that didn’t go my way,” Leyner said. “I trusted my stuff, trusted my defense, got the ball over the plate, attacked and it worked out.”
The Bombers will wrap up the series with the Yellowjackets at 1 p.m. March 26 at the University of Rochester.