6/7 Game Recap

By Mikael DeSanto

Senior Brenden Cuni (Felician College) drove in four RBI for the Wellsville Nitros, who beat the Rochester Ridgemen 8-7 in New York Collegiate Baseball League action Wednesday night at Basket Road Field. Cuni’s one out, bases clearing double plated sophomore Bayley Jamanis (Seton Hill University), and juniors Ryan Kosmynka (Notre Dame College) and Cole Tracy (Mansfield University), and sparked a seven run sixth inning. The Nitros’ slugger had recently been moved down in the order due to struggles at the plate.

“I knew Coach batted me in the seven spot after a couple tough games, so I knew I’d be seeing a lot more fastballs, so I was just looking to drive in the gaps basically,” Cuni said. “Walking into that at bat, he had just walked someone so I knew I was going to get a pitch to hit, and I was just waiting for it.”

The Nitros sent junior Joseph Mallory (Union College) to the hill for the start. Mallory threw six innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

After being knocked around early, Mallory settled in, allowing three base runners (one each inning on two singles and a hit-by-a-pitch) in his final three innings of work.

“[The] beginning of the game, that’s baseball, stuff happens. Sometimes [the] defense doesn’t make plays, sometimes you don’t make a good pitch, you just have to fight through it,” Mallory said. “You have to make the next pitch, you have to get them out, give them a chance.”

Nitros head coach Sam Quinn-Loeb said his team did not come out strong, but was able to climb back and stay in the game.

“It was a lousy performance from the early going. We had to make some changes,” Quinn-Loeb said. “Then the guys competed in the last five innings. That’s all I want them to do, compete out there hard, make the plays and then whatever happens, happens.”

Senior Jordan Brown (Baker University) matched up with Mallory for the Ridgemen, going five-and-one-third innings and giving up five runs on nine hits and one walk, also striking out three.

“My approach is always to just go after hitters,” Brown said. “Sometimes that gets me in trouble because I’ll leave stuff over the plate. It just so happens the runs came with lead-off hitters getting on and that’s something I need to clean up as we go forward.”

The Ridgemen struck quickly to open the scoring, putting up two runs in the first inning. After a single and an error at second base put two runners on, senior TJ Lanning II (ASA College) stepped to the plate with the chance to give the Ridgemen the lead. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third, allowing Lanning to single and plate the first run of the game. Sophomore Sean Rooney (Point Loma Nazarene University) followed with another single, driving in another run for the Ridgemen.

The Nitros got a run back in the second inning thanks to a triple and a fielder’s choice, but Rooney helped the Ridgemen add more runs in the third inning, pushing a bunt in between the pitcher and a charging third baseman with the bases loaded, reaching safely and bringing home a run.

“First at bat, I walked up there, was feeling confident in myself, guy gave me a pitch I could hit and I just put it through the hole,” Rooney said. “The next at bat, Coach gave me the bunt sign and I was looking for it. The guy left in up in a place where I could get it right by him, we got the run on it, so all is good.”

A fielder’s choice and a wild pitch the following at bat allowed a pair of runs to score for the Ridgemen, giving them a 5-1 lead through three innings.

The Nitros re-loaded the bases on a hit-by-a-pitch and a single, allowing sophomore Jonathan Carratala (Bloomfield College) to single home a run and then another to score on another hit-by-a-pitch.

The Ridgemen got another out and looked to get through the inning, but Tracy had other plans, singling home an additional two runs to put the Nitros up 8-5.  Tracy went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Nitros.

“The nine inning game, you’re never really out of it,” Tracy said. “[I was] just trying to put the ball in play hard, let the ball fall where it goes.”

The Ridgemen were able to mount a comeback, loading the bases with two outs in the seventh inning. Senior Christian Bitar (Regis University) took advantage of the opportunity, doubling to drive in two runs and make it a one run game yet again.

“I’ve been struggling the first couple games. It all just came down to getting comfortable up there,” Bitar said. “That at bat I was just looking to drive something. Every time I step up to the plate it’s barrel the ball up really. [I] got a pitch that I could handle and did something with it.”

But, that is a as close as the Ridgemen would come, as the comeback fell short and the Nitros secured the victory.

“Honestly, I’m not disappointed with it at all,” Ridgemen head coach Justin Dillard said. “Like I told them, we had one half-inning that got away from us and there’s a reason for it. So at this point in the season, we have guys we are trying to stretch out as starters, Brownie is one of them, so we knew he was going past his pitch limit that he’s done so far this year. So he got himself tired.”

Sophomore Matthew Schneider (Marymount University) pitched two-and-one-third innings, allowing one walk and striking out two in relief for the Nitros.

Freshman Dylan Brister (Cuyahoga Community College) and senior Sean Masiakiewicz (Cedarville University) combined to provide two scoreless innings of no hits, one walk and two strikeouts for the Ridgemen.

The Ridgemen drop to 0-4, while the Nitros improve to 2-2.

The Ridgemen will next play Friday at Basket Road Field, hosting the Olean Oilers at 7 p.m.

The Nitros will take on the Cortland Crush on Thursday at 5 p.m. at home.

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