The Ithaca College baseball team lost to the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers 4–1 April 7 on Valesente Diamond at Freeman Field.
The Bombers were led by senior center fielder Mike Nauta who went 1-for-4 with a terrific double play in the seventh inning and junior left fielder Louis Fabbo who went 1-for-4 with the Bombers‘ lone run and a stolen base. Sophomore pitcher Colin Leyner led the Bombers on the mound, striking out six and allowing four runs through six innings.
The first inning began slowly for both teams, but despite this, the Bombers did find themselves in scoring position. After Nauta grounded out for the first out of the inning, Fabbo grounded to third but the Tigers defender could not handle the ball and Fabbo reached first. Fabbo proceeded to steal second and graduate student right fielder Garrett Callaghan walked. Despite two men on base, the next two batters flew out and the score would remain knotted.
After only one batter reached base for each team in the second inning, the Tigers came out swinging in the top of the third. Tigers’ senior catcher Kyle Poorman started off the inning with a grounder single up the middle through short and second. Poorman advanced to second after Leyner tried to pick him off at first and overthrew.
After a Tiger was walked, graduate student first baseman Ian Libby drove a ball to left for a double that brought in one, but Leyner picked off a Tiger trying to go home. A tough shallow fly ball could not be handled by Callaghan and that brought in another run to make it 2–0 Tigers.
The bottom of the third was another unsuccessful one for the Bombers. Nauta hit a dribbler with one out down the first baseline but beat the first baseman to the bag with a terrific spinning head–first dive. Unfortunately, this was the only Bombers base runner that inning.
Leyner gave the Bombers a much–needed boost in the top of the fourth inning. Leyner struck out all three batters and pitched to them with a fast pace that agitated the Tigers coach. The coach notified the umpire of his complaints and Leyner was forced to slow down his time between pitches to the next batter. Leyner punched out the batter regardless to go 1–2–3 in the inning.
Leyner’s pitching seemed to energize the Bombers, but it still was not enough to get a run across in the bottom of the fourth. First-year student designated hitter Matt Curtis was hit with the first pitch he was thrown to start the inning. This was followed by sophomore second baseman Riley Brawdy being walked. Curtis was caught stealing at third, but sophomore first baseman Ryan Laubscher was walked and put two men on base again. The Bombers, unfortunately, could not capitalize and left the inning still trailing.
After both pitchers made quick work of the fifth inning, the top of the sixth inning proved fatal for the Bombers. After a Tiger walked, Tigers first-year student second baseman Jarin Moses hit a liner that nearly went foul down the left field line for a double that brought in another Tiger to make it 3–0. One batter later, senior catcher Zach Mecca hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring in another runner and make the Bombers‘ deficit 4–0.
The Bombers could not respond in the sixth but made a terrific defensive play in the seventh. After a Tiger hit a single to get on first, Poorman lined out to center, where Nauta retrieved the ball and launched it all the way to first to get the runner out and complete a double play. Despite the defensive momentum, the Bombers would exit the inning with no runs scored.
The top of the eighth inning brought another fielding showcase from the Bombers. The first Tiger batter grounded to second where Brawdy waited with a flashy backhand glove and fired the ball to first for the out. After Moses hit another left field double to an almost identical spot, Brawdy made a terrific diving stop, but the Tigers were able to beat the throw. Junior third baseman Ethan Rothstein flashed his own backhand on a grounder to third and proceeded to fire it home to catch the runner out.
Following the defensive showing, the Bombers put together a scoring inning. Fabbo hit a liner into center for a single and Callaghan followed with a walk. Curtis hit a grounder too short and was caught in a double play, but Fabbo scored from third and the Bombers had a run on the board.
The Tigers took care of business in the ninth and the Bombers fell 4–1.
The Bombers next play RIT in a Liberty League doubleheader April 8 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.