Starting this Friday, the Oswego State baseball team will travel to SUNY Oneonta for a three-game series against the Red Dragons.
The Lakers will look to take advantage of this set with the Red Dragons, who are currently last in the SUNYAC standings after sporting an 8-14 overall record (3-1 in-conference) through their first 20 games.
Oswego State, meanwhile, will look to continue its climb up the rankings, as their 12-5 (3-3 in-conference) record currently puts them behind just SUNY Cortland and The College at Brockport in the SUNYAC.
The two teams are both coming off series wins against SUNYAC opponents. The Lakers took two of three from SUNY New Paltz and the Red Dragons did the same against SUNY Plattsburgh last weekend.
The Lakers nearly came away with a sweep of the Hawks at Loren Campbell Memorial Field and would have done so if not for a four-run seventh inning for New Paltz in the second game of the April 5 doubleheader.
The first game of the doubleheader, however, saw a terrific pitching performance from junior Brendyn Karinchak who tossed a complete-game shutout (nine innings) en route to a 4-0 victory. Karinchak’s performance led to him being named Oswego State Athlete of the Week for the week ending April 6.
Sunday afternoon’s win was an exciting one for Oswego State, which rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Hawks, 7-6.
Trailing 6-4 heading to the ninth, junior John Rauseo tied the game with a two-run home run. After loading the bases, Oswego State freshman Eric Hamilton drove home the winning run, plating Mike McMullen to give the Lakers the victory.
Lost in the drama of the close games of the series, the Lakers also wreaked havoc on the base paths throughout, stealing nine bases against New Paltz.
Oswego State may look to continue its success on the base paths this coming series, as the Red Dragons have allowed more stolen bases (62) than any other SUNYAC team.
Senior Scott Buniak has been on fire lately, hitting .415 on the season, good for second in the league, as well as swiping 12 bases.
Oneonta’s clear weakness all season long has been its pitching staff, which has sported a 7.14 team ERA thus far, giving the Red Dragons the worst mark in the conference.
Oswego State, which is hitting .305 as a team, will look to capitalize on Oneonta’s poor pitching heading into the series.
The biggest upcoming challenge for the Lakers will likely be slowing down the heart of Oneonta’s batting order. Matt Mastroianni (.370), Casey Kies (.361), and Christopher Orlando (.342) have done a ton of damage with the bat so far this season for the Red Dragons.
Orlando, the Red Dragons’ shortstop, was recently named the SUNYAC Baseball Player of the Week after hitting .556 and driving in 14 runs last week. The Lakers pitching staff will look to cool down Orlando and the rest of the Red Dragons’ bats in order to continue to build on their 10-4 record.
The two teams are scheduled to play at 3 p.m. on Friday before playing a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.