By Mikai Bruce
The SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals faced off in some pivotal games against the SUNY New Paltz Hawks this past weekend. These three games were pivotal for the Cardinals, because they were its first at-home conference games. It won all three games against New Paltz and improved their SUNYAC conference record to 3-6. The Cardinals stepped up in a big way when it was most needed.
The first of three games was played April 14 and was a dramatic one. Things started off great for the Cardinals, who managed to score three runs late in the first inning. This included Conner Gonzalski hitting a double, which led to two runs batted in. The Cardinals were in control early thanks to the savvy pitching of Sean Malamud and stellar outfield play. Malamud wasn’t giving up a lot of hits, but when he did give one up, the outfielders were quick to make sure they got the out.
The Cardinals held the Hawks scoreless for four innings, until the fifth inning when the Hawks began to rally. The Cardinals gave up four hits, leading to three runs by the Hawks. Things appeared to be coming apart for Plattsburgh after it was in control for so long.
After six innings, things were knotted at four. In the seventh inning, the Cardinals regained control of the game after scoring three runs. Again, Gonzalski got two runs batted in to bring his total to four for the game and help secure the win for Plattsburgh. Toward the end of the game, Malamud exited the game. Chris Santic and Andrew Veit entered the game and closed it out for the Cardinals.
“Massive game, massive. We needed to take two out of three from these guys,” Conner Gonzalski said. “Huge win, huge win, we just gotta keep rolling over as a team and just do whatever we did today and keep it rolling.”
The Cardinals have been in many close games this season and it’s encouraging that it was finally on the right side of one of these nail-biters.
Games two and three of the series were played April 15 and the Cardinals played two more great games. Game two had a final score of 4-3 and game three was high scoring with a final score of 10-7. Recently, the batting from the Cardinals has been strong and has perked up at a crucial point in the season. Slow starts are a normal thing in sports, but the Cardinals have proved it can bounce back from those slumps. The pitching has been strong all season, making the Cardinals tough to beat in the upcoming weeks. They’re ready to showcase that talent.
“The overall competitiveness has definitely improved over the course of the season,” Head Coach Sam Quinn-Loeb said.