Clutch hit salvages split for Lakers against Blue Devils

The Oswego State men’s baseball team split a double header against SUNY Fredonia Saturday afternoon in a match-up between two SUNYAC teams.

The Lakers dropped game one, 2-1, after leading through the first six innings. Laker pitcher Brady Farkas kept the Blue Devils in check through eight solid innings. Farkas allowed just one run on five hits while striking out two.

"[Farkas] pitched real well; he is tough," head coach Frank Paino said.

A two-out double by Fredonia’s Erik Pokornowski in the seventh followed by a Joe Kephart single knotted the game 1-1. In the top of the ninth the Blue Devils’ Taylor Gahagen drew a leadoff walk. Pokornowski followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Gahagen to second. Gahagen moved to third on a groundout to the second baseman. With two outs, Jon Messina ripped an RBI single to drive in the go-ahead run. Blue Devils pitcher Andy Dlugosz retired the Lakers in order in the ninth to earn the win. Jon Stevens suffered the loss for the Lakers, going one inning and allowing one run on a walk and one hit.

The Lakers had their chances throughout the first game, but couldn’t seem to find the clutch hit stranding ten runners. In the sixth, the Lakers loaded the bases with one out but came away empty handed as Mike Stark struck out and Dan Slate grounded out to the first basemen. The Lakers were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

"It was a tough day to play," Paino said. "Our hands were cold and [there was] some good pitching by both teams."

The Lakers scattered seven hits, but struck out 13 times. Rafael Cordero, Mike Tarnowski and Ryan Clements paced the Lakers with a pair of hits apiece.

"If we would have clutched up in game one we would have swept them today," Paino said.

In game two, the Lakers found that timely hit as they dropped the Blue Devils 2-0. With two outs in the fifth, Kane Share shot an RBI single over the first baseman’s head to drive in Brooks Beatty to give the Lakers all the run support they would need behind Andy Salvatore’s complete game gem. Salvatore went the distance scattering eight hits, two walks and striking out four to record the win.

"He is a package player; just good against anyone," Paino said. "He is a real experienced kid after pitching with Dutchess Community College."

Salvatore found himself in trouble in the seventh, with one out and runners on the corners and the score 1-0. But he got the Blue Devils’ Josh Greco to roll into a double play to end the inning and the rally. In the bottom of the seventh the Lakers used a leadoff walk by Bryan Stark and a throwing error by Fredonia’s pitcher Brian Lansing to find the insurance run.

The Lakers scored two runs on just four hits. The Lakers laid down three sacrifice bunts in hopes of finding a key hit.

"We had to play ‘get em’ ball," Paino said. "Get em on, get em over, and get em [in]." They batted just 1-8 with runners in scoring position.

With the spilt, the Lakers improved to 10-6 overall and 1-3 in SUNYAC play.