NP Slips Past Knox, 8-6, in RussMatt Invitational

By Colleen Gonzalez

AUBURNDALE, FLA. – The State University of New York at New Paltz baseball team pulled out an 8-6 victory over Knox College in the fourth day of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Sunday morning.

The Hawks improve to 5-4-2 and Knox drops to 1-7and returns home to host Robert Morris University-Peoria on Tuesday, March 29 at 2 p.m.

After two scoreless innings, the Prairie Fire landed first on the scoreboard in the top of the third when junior center fielder Drake Sykes tripled to bring in a run for Knox. The Hawks responded in the bottom of the fourth as sophomore third baseman Tom Read was walked with the bases loaded, forcing junior first baseman Anthony Diana home for an even tally.

The Prairie Fire extended its lead with another run in the top of the fifth but New Paltz would tie the game, 2-all, in the bottom of the inning as an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Chris Moran brought in senior second baseman Kyle Gilligan. Despite Diana grounding out to second base during his turn at bat, freshman shortstop Danny Campbell took advantage to find home plate and put the Hawks at a 3-2 advantage before Moran and sophomore catcher Spencer Brown added two more insurance runs for New Paltz.

Although the Hawks had two outs in their favor in the top of the sixth, the Prairie Fire managed to tie up the score as Sykes was walked on bases loaded before an RBI single by junior first baseman Ryan Weitendorf brought in two runs. Sykes recorded Knox’s final run on a single by sophomore shortstop Matt McCaffrey to close out the inning.

Senior catcher Tyler Bell hit a double in the bottom of the seventh to send home senior designated hitter/pitcher Andrew DiNardo, levelling the score to 6-all before taking the lead in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double by Gilligan. A Knox pitching error allowed freshman second baseman Ryan Frost to score and seal the final 8-6 win for New Paltz.

Gilligan was 2-for-4 at the plate with one run, one RBI, and a double while sophomore pitcher Brian LoRusso went 2-for-4 with one run and one double. Read finished the game with two RBIs, one double and was 1-for-2 at the plate. DiNardo went 2-for-3 with one run, one RBI, and earned his first win on the mound, allowing no hits or runs in 1.1 innings while walking two batters and striking out two.
Weitendorf went 2-for-5 at the plate for the Prairie Fire, tallying three RBIs. McCaffrey also went 2-for-5 and notched one RBI while Sykes tallied one run, two RBIs and was 1-for-2 at the plate. Senior pitcher Marty Salazar took the loss, surrendering two hits, two runs and a walk.

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