Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cardinals open 2024 with winning streaks

Adam Wein (3) after a slide last season April 15, 2023.

 

By Justin Rushia

The Plattsburgh State Cardinals baseball team is off to a hot start this spring season and doesn’t look like it plans on cooling down. The Cardinals have won 11 out of its 15 games to open the 2024 campaign.

Coming off a season in which Plattsburgh State was 15-20 and 7-11 in conference games and was eliminated from playoff contention, the Cardinals were hungry for a postseason bid.

Despite postseason appearances in 2022 and 2012, the last time the Cardinals won a SUNYAC playoff game was in 2009. 

“We have a great team this year and we have big expectations of making the SUNYAC tournament and going far,” junior pitcher Kolby Mordecki said.

The Cardinals have been getting it done on both sides of the diamond. Plattsburgh State’s offense is currently ranked fourth in all Division III programs, averaging 11 runs per game. The Cardinals’ pitching and defense have also been on par this season, holding their opponents to under five runs or less eight times.

The Cardinals pitching staff features graduate student Andrew Veit, senior Chris Santic and junior Mordecki. 

Mordecki has been throwing gas in the opening stretch, winning SUNYAC Pitcher of the Week March 18. Mordecki picked up his first win of the season, helping the Cardinals to a 9-2 win over The City College of New York on Saturday, March 16. The junior right-hander went five scoreless innings for Plattsburgh and allowed just three batters to reach base while striking out seven. It lowered his season ERA to 4.50, as he registered the longest scoreless outing of his career.

“It felt great. With all the hard work put in during the off-season, it’s definitely a confidence booster going forward,” Mordecki said. 

On the offensive end, 16 Cardinals are touting a batting average of over .300. Some of the biggest bats for Plattsburgh this season have been junior Joey Di Rocco, senior infielder Alex Kornblau, and junior Kyle Cremin. 

Cremin was honored with a SUNYAC Player of the Week selection March 24. The honor came after Cremin exploded in Plattsburgh’s series against New Paltz.

During Plattsburgh’s spring road trip, Cremin had an incredibly productive performance facing the Hawks, which catapulted a series-opening win for Plattsburgh. In the first three games of the week, Cremin reached base six times and drove in six runs. His performance against the Hawks was outstanding, with seven hits in 13 at-bats, 10 RBIs and three home runs over three games. In the series rubber match, he homered twice, drove in seven runs, scored three times and even stole a base. Cremin’s performance in the series also marked his 100th career hit, making him the 20th member of the club in program history.

“I want to stay consistent and try to do my job as a hitter to help the team win games,” Cremin said. 

The Cardinals also attributed great team chemistry to its early-on success this season. Being close on and off the field has allowed the Cardinals a great advantage on the diamond this year, as a majority of this year’s team was part of Plattsburgh’s playoff push in 2022. 

“The dynamic this year is like a brotherhood or a family,” graduate student Conner Gonzalski said. “We have been through a lot together and have only grown closer throughout the years.”

This season, Plattsburgh has a bigger freshman and transfer class than it is used to. Having the extra depth the Cardinals haven’t had in the past is a key element to the team’s success. Having extra depth has built motivation and allowed the players to sharpen their skills in practice by having more people challenge them for each position, Moredecki said.

The first step in achieving the Cardinals playoff goals is to obtain a top four seed in the SUNYAC conference. In order to make that happen, who will have to improve its record against conference titans like Cortland, Oneonta and Brockport, which swept Plattsburgh last season.

“We came into this season with one plan: take home the SUNYAC trophy,” Gonzalski said.

Coming up next, the Cardinals will have a chance to prove themselves against one of their conference’s strongest opponents, Cortland. The three game series will take place Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30.

 

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