Sunday, March 10, 2019

Baseball Squanders Two Chances For An Upset Over No. 20 Johns Hopkins

Recap, photo courtesy of Elmira College
Score: Johns Hopkins University 3, Elmira College 2 (10 inn.)
Score: Johns Hopkins University 7, Elmira College 3
Records: Elmira (2-4), Johns Hopkins (7-1)
Location: Babb Field at Stromberg Stadium -- Baltimore, Maryland

BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Elmira College baseball team had two opportunities to upset nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins University, but the Blue Jays managed to win both ends of Saturday's non-conference doubleheader by scores of 3-2 and 7-3.

The Soaring Eagles scored first in both games against the Blue Jays, who were ranked No. 20 in the latest edition of the Top 25. Although EC received strong pitching from both starters, the Johns Hopkins bullpen did not allow any runs and the JHU batters capitalized during critical situations in the late innings.

Game One
It took 10 innings for the host Blue Jays to secure their first win of the afternoon, due in part to another fantastic start by senior righty Nick Cottone '19. Cottone, who was named the Empire 8 Conference's Pitcher of the Week after his first start of the season, commanded the strike zone throughout his 7.0 innings of work and logged a program-record 11 strikeouts. Cottone carried a no-hitter into the fourth and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in a no-decision.

With Cottone dealing, Elmira took advantage of two Johns Hopkins errors in the top of the fourth, as Harrison Zambarano '19 and Jourdan Plaisted '21 both reached on miscues to lead off the frame. Following a sacrifice bunt that advanced both runners into scoring position, James Delaney '22 drove in the game's first run with an RBI groundout to first.

The Blue Jays tied the game on a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, but Cottone responded by fanning Pete Manny to end the frame before striking out two more in the fifth. In the sixth, Johns Hopkins took a 2-1 lead on an unearned run, but EC's starter concluded his afternoon with a 1-2-3 seventh. In the top of the seventh, the Soaring Eagles managed to load the bases with three consecutive singles but were only able to push across the tying run on a Mason Ryan '22 groundout.

EC put a runner on base in each of the next three innings but was held scoreless by the Blue Jays' bullpen. Zambarano doubled in the eighth but was stranded at second base. In the 10th, Tommy Fogarty '20 led off with a single, but a botched sac bunt attempt by Joey Florio '20 allowed the defense to throw him out at second. Florio was then picked off of first base to end the top half of the 10th.

A lead-off single by JHU's Manny set up Matthew Ritchie, who played the hero by driving in the game-winning run with two outs in the 10th against Elmira reliever Andy Reed '19.

Game Two
The nightcap began with a pitchers' duel, as Angus Adams '22 and Harrison Folk held the opposing lineups off of the scoreboard through the first four innings. Adams, making the second start of his freshman season, performed well on the mound. He gave up only three hits and struck out five in a scoreless effort.

Meanwhile, the EC bats finally got to Folk in the top of the fifth. With two away, Ryan singled, stole second and scored on a Jansen Crossley '20 RBI base hit. Fogarty widened the gap to three runs in the next at-bat by slugging his first career home run, a two-run shot that put the Soaring Eagles ahead 3-0.

The Blue Jays answered quickly, scoring twice off of Elmira right-hander Corey DeMauro '20 in the bottom of the fifth. After DeMauro recorded a scoreless sixth, he was relieved by Zach Williamson '20, who struggled in the seventh inning. Williamson, who received the loss, caught Frank Clara looking at strike three for his only out, but was taxed for five runs on two hits, two walks, and one hit batter.

With a 7-3 advantage, Johns Hopkins' Jack Bunting capped off his relief appearance by setting down the Soaring Eagles in order in the eighth and ninth innings. Bunting earned the win with 4.0 perfect frames and nine strikeouts for JHU.

News and Notes
  • Coming up just short of the first win over a ranked opponent in program history, Elmira fell to 2-4 on the season, while No. 20 Johns Hopkins improved to 7-1.
  • Fogarty led all Elmira batters with four hits, including his first career home run, and two RBIs in both games combined.
  • Crossley also finished the day with multiple hits, going 3-for-8 with one RBI in the twin bill.
  • Ryan had one hit, one run, one RBI and two stolen bases while starting both games in the infield.
  • Adams (4.0 IP), Garinder Singh Sarana '20 (1.0 IP) and Taber Carter '21 (0.2 IP) made scoreless appearances on the mound.
  • Cottone struck out a single-game career-high 11 batters in the first bout, setting a new program record.
  • Jack Thomas '22 made his season debut as a pinch-hitter in the late game.

Up Next
Sunday's doubleheader at York College of Pennsylvania has been postponed, but the Soaring Eagles are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, March 16, against the University of Rochester. The doubleheader with the Yellowjackets begins at 12:00 p.m.

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