Behind a persistent offensive performance, the Ithaca College baseball team made its final home stand before the NCAA playoffs successfully. The Bombers swept SUNY-New Paltz on Saturday afternoon 3-2 and 6-1 to improve to 29–6 on the season.
After beating SUNY-Oswego and SUNY-Oneonta earlier in the week, the Bombers came out strong again in the first game behind sophomore pitcher John Prendergast. Prendergast put in eight innings of work, allowing just two runs — only one of which was earned — on seven hits. Prendergast also struck out six Hawks to improve his record to 8–0.
The three runs that the Bombers scored in the game do not do the offense justice, as the Blue and Gold put together a resilient offensive performance, combining for 11 hits.
Before the Bombers had a chance to hit though, they got off to a slow start in the top of the first inning. Two rare throwing errors allowed SUNY-New Paltz to get on the board first with a run.
Assistant Coach Frank Fazio said the team was disappointed with the errors in the first inning, but that the team regrouped and was able to buckle down defensively.
“When they came in the dugout [after the first inning], they knew they needed to turn things around,” Fazio said. “We have high expectations for them, and when they make a mistake we tell them to stay focused.”
After the initial two, the Bombers did not make another error in either of the games.
Ithaca’s offense struggled to put runs across in the first game, but it was not for lack of opportunities. Three base runners were picked off of first base– two in the third inning– by way of New Paltz’s southpaw Mike Pastorino. Additionally, the Bombers left runners on base in six of the nine innings played.
Sophomore Matt Connolly said the offense was not as productive as it could have been in the first game because hitters were getting behind in the count.
“In the first game we were a little passive, taking first and second pitches,” Connolly said.
In the second game though, the Bombers sparked an offensive turnaround with a two-run first inning and a four-run third inning en route to a 6-1 victory.
“We were a lot more aggressive at the plate,” Connolly said of the second game. “We just got after it more.”
Sophomore Christian Brown, juniors Tim Locastro and Tim Henry, and senior Max Addy all had multiple hits to lead the Bombers in the second game. The four combined for eight of the Blue and Gold’s 11 hits.
Sophomore Jimmy Wagner (8–0) started the second game on the mound, allowing just one run on seven hits. Junior Chris Anderson pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Bombers.
Brown said the offensive performance was key for the team in the second game. He said that the team increased its aggressiveness from the first game in order to put more runs on the board.
“Coach always tells us to be aggressive because usually when we get down in counts it’s harder for us to hit,” Brown said. “We were just trying to be aggressive today and it paid off in the second game.”