Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cardinals move into playoff picture

Junior pitcher Logan Avin throws a ball in the game against Clarkson at home April 11.

 

 

By Justin Rushia

The Plattsburgh State Cardinals baseball team continues to fly high heading into the back stretch of its season.

  The Cardinals beat the non-conference Clarkson Golden Knights in the home opener 7-1 Thursday, April 11 and swept SUNYAC competitor Fredonia in a three-game series Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13. 

With its three-game sweep over Fredonia, Plattsburgh moved to third place in the SUNYAC standings, putting it in the playoff picture. 

“We put ourselves in a position to control our own destiny,” Head Coach Sam Quinn-Loeb said.

 

CLARKSON

Plattsburgh played strongly on both ends of the diamond against the Golden Knights. The Cardinals’ offense came alive after two scoreless innings, scoring seven runs through the game.

With a critical SUNYAC matchup against Fredonia on the horizon, the Cardinals wanted to ensure that all of their pitchers were well rested and ready for the series, leading them to use multiple pitchers throughout the contest. 

“We have a very good pitching staff. When we get up on a team, it makes it very hard for them to come back,” Quinn-Loeb said. 

The Cardinals used six different pitchers over the nine innings. Plattsburgh’s pitching staff pitched eight runless innings, with the only run from Clarkson coming in the third inning. 

FREDONIA GAME ONE

Plattsburgh started its three-game series against the Blue Devils with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 12.

Junior Kolby Mordecki took the mound as the starter pitcher for the first game of the series. Mordecki pitched seven strong innings against the Blue Devils, allowing only one run in the top of the seventh inning before Plattsburgh turned to its bullpen in the top of the eighth inning. The pitcher also struck out six batters along the way.

“I try to focus on one batter at a time and not think about anything else,” Mordecki said. 

The start earned him SUNYAC pitcher of the week, his second of the season, and lowered his season ERA to 3.60, the fourth-best mark in the SUNYAC.

Leading up to its matchup against Fredonia, the Cardinals wanted to focus on improving their situational hitting and translating that into game scenarios, graduate student Conner Gonzalski said.

“At any point during the game, we know that we can score runs if we stick to our batting approach and try not to do too much,” Gonzalski said.

After a scoreless first inning, the Cardinals got the bats rolling in the top of the second and third innings, scoring a run off of an RBI double in the second and a solo shot over the wall from Gonzalski in the third. 

Fredonia struck back in the eighth inning and scored two runs. One run came off of Mordecki, spoiling his scoreless outing, and the other came from reliever Dylan Bass after the Cardinals went to its bullpen to finish the game. 

Both teams went scoreless to finish the game, giving Plattsburgh the 5-2 win in game one of the doubleheader. 

FREDONIA GAME TWO

“To go out and win two games in a row can be a tough task,” Mordecki said. 

The Cardinals were up for the challenge and beat the Blue Devils 6-5.

Plattsburgh got on the scoreboard in dramatic fashion, as Alex Kornblau stole home to put the Cards up 1-0 in the first inning. Plattsburgh scored again, putting them up 2-0. Starting pitcher Chris Santic allowed zero runs while striking the last two batters out to round out the inning. 

“When the pitchers are doing their job and doing it well it makes it much easier for us hitters to score runs for them,” Gonzalski said.

Fredonia responded, and scored a run off of an SAC RBI in the bottom of the third inning. The Blue Devils also kept the Cardinals from scoring, cutting Plattsburgh’s lead to one.

Both teams cooled down, not scoring until the top of the seventh, where Plattsburgh notched a run. The Blue Devils didn’t match.

“With the good pitchers we have in our bullpen, we knew it would be very hard for them to come back,” Quinn-Loeb said. 

Plattsburgh came out hot in the eighth inning, scoring four runs thanks to good situational hitting and sound baserunning. The Cardinals bullpen allowed two runs, making the score 7-3. 

With the game seemingly out of reach, the Blue Devils did not accept defeat easily. It started its ninth inning by shutting down Plattsburgh’s offense. Fredonia scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth, almost completing the comeback. The game ended with a 7-6 Cardinal victory. 

FREDONIA GAME THREE

Sunday’s final game of the series went in Plattsburgh’s favor. The team earned a massive 16-2 win and finished their sweep of Fredonia.

The Cardinals’ bats were hot right from the start, scoring three runs in the first inning, two runs in the second, one run in the third, and three runs in the fourth.

Andrew Veit took the mound for the start of game three. The pitcher went six innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. Plattsburgh’s reliever Nick Goldberg pitched one inning to close out the game, with the Cardinals winning by mercy rule in the seventh inning. 

 

Plattsburgh is in third place in the SUNYAC, and looking to clinch a playoff berth this season. Their next few SUNYAC series against Oneonta and Oswego are crucial for securing their spot. 

“We’re in a good spot where we can control everything,” Quinn-Loeb said. 

Plattsburgh’s home series against Oneonta will begin with one game Friday, April 19. The teams will then face off in a doubleheader Saturday, April 20.

 

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