Baseball Drops Florida Opener to Pitt-Johnstown
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (March 9, 2012) – The Mercy College baseball team kicked off its Florida trip with a one-run lead in the bottom of the first inning but were overtaken by the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and fell, 13-2, on Thursday night.
Pitt-Johnstown improves to 6-5 on the season while Mercy drops to 0-4.
The Mountain Cats offense exploded for 19 hits in the game while the Mavericks mustered just three but matched Pitt-Johnstown in walks with three and struck out almost half as frequently.
Sophomore Steve Mattina (Staten Island, N.Y.) took the mound for Mercy to start and mowed down the side in the top of the first inning, striking out the first batter and coaxing two groundouts. Mercy's offense struck first in the bottom of the inning as freshman second baseman Vinny Orlando (East Meadow, N.Y.) reached third on two errors and junior centerfielder Nick Papas (Castleton, N.Y.) singled him in with one out.
The Mountain Cats offense came alive in the second inning, however, as senior right fielder Drew Westover (Flinton, Pa.) singled to lead off, stole second and was knocked in by freshman shortstop Nathan Pope (Hollidaysburg, Pa.) shortly after. Pitt-Johnstown loaded the bases up and scored again before senior Walter Kowalczyk (Valhalla, N.Y.) came on to relieve Mattina. He allowed one more run to score for a 3-1 Mountain Cats lead on a wild pitch but got out of the inning with a big strikeout.
Mercy picked up a couple more hits in the next few innings and finally pushed another run across in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore third baseman Ken Post (Closter, N.J.) batted junior catcher Matt Buesser (Hillsdale, N.J.) in to cut the lead to just one. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the Mountain Cats put together another three-run inning to take a 6-2 lead. They added two more in the seventh and another five in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Post was the only Maverick to record multiple hits, going 2-4 at the plate with an RBI. Mattina was tagged with the loss as he allowed three earned runs on two hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings pitched while striking out two. Kowalczyk pitched incredibly in his 3 1/3 innings of work, giving up three hits and posting five strikeouts against only one walk. Sophomore pitcher Brian McNamara (Brewster, N.Y.) and junior pitcher Ray Thaisz (Staten Island, N.Y.) combined for five strikeouts in the final two innings.
Sophomore John Casten (Walden, N.Y.), in another position change from catcher, came on for the final two innings and was impressive as well, giving up just one hit and getting five of his six outs on strikeouts.
Sophomore left fielder/first baseman Nate Sabados (Dubois, Pa.) led Pitt-Johnstown with a 3-3 day at the plate with a run scored and two batted in. Freshman second baseman Matt McMillen (Johnstown, Pa.) was one of seven other Mountain Cats to record two hits in the contest, going 2-3 with a run and three RBI.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Socol (Pittsburgh, Pa.) picked up the win for the Mountain Counts after allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks in five innings of work, also striking out three. Redshirt freshman Billy Beard (Altoona, Pa.) and freshman Andrew Keirn (Dillsburg, Pa.) combined to toss four no-hit innings in relief, giving up just one walk and striking out four.
Head Coach Bob Greiner and the Mavericks will pick themselves up for a doubleheader on Friday, March 9 against Chestnut Hill College as they continue their Florida slate. Opening pitches are set for 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.