The Rally in the 8th
After falling behind 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Oswego State answered the bell yet again in this regional tournament.
A good piece of hitting by senior third baseman Eric Hamilton got the inning started. Mike Dellicarri followed that up with a butcher-boy single, and the junior John Barnes bunted his way aboard to load the bases with nobody out.
Zach Kollar completed his 2-4 day with a two-RBI single to right center, regaining the lead for the No. 1 seed Oswego State Lakers.
The Lakers did not stop there, adding one more insurance run in the home half of the eighth. Eli Holton hit a fly ball to left, and the charging Dylan Hapworth could not gun down Barnes heading home, bad hamstring and all, to increase the deficit to 6-4.
This was all Oswego State needed to hold off the Southern Maine Huskies after John-Michael Guarino completed his stellar day out of the bullpen. The senior reliever allowed a triple to Hapworth with two outs in the ninth inning, but Kip Richards went down swinging in the next at-bat to end the game.
Hamilton Breaks Out
Oswego State’s captain and leader in nearly every major offensive statistical category started off the regional going 0-10 with one hit by pitch. Hamilton saw his average drop from .442 to .418 coming into today. He reached on error in Game 1 against Ithaca College as well, but the senior went 2-4 with a run scored in the 6-4 victory this afternoon.
A single through the 5-6 hole in the fifth ended the slump. Hamilton then added another hit in his very next at-bat with a bloop single the other way on an outside pitch from Jake Dexter.
“I was just trying to see more pitches,”Hamilton said. “I was getting a little anxious earlier in the week. I just wanted to do whatever I can to see some pitches and just swing the bat like I know I can.”
Oswego State got by in the first two games without much help from Hamilton at the dish. Today was different. Hamilton saw 10 pitches at the plate and helped start the rally in the eighth, which led to Oswego State moving just one win closer to Appleton, Wisconsin.
Barnes and Delli Stay Hot
Two returners to next year’s team have been carrying the load offensively for the Lakers in this regional.
Barnes got the Lakers on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a deep fly to center, putting the Lakers up 2-1 with his sixth homer of the season. After today’s three hits in four trips for the right fielder, Barnes is now hitting .385 with one home run, five RBI and four runs scored out of the cleanup spot over the last three days.
Dellicarri is batting .455 in the regional with five hits in 11 official at-bats, an RBI, two walks and 2 runs scored. He has had solid at-bats throughout the regional as the designated hitter in the three hole, giving the Lakers the steady production they need in that spot.
With these two hitting and Hamilton finding his swing once again, the heart of the Lakers’ lineup will be able to win them games with hits in key situations, just like today.