By Andrew Cooney
In a back and forth game last night at Madison High School, the Gators were able to overcome a late rally from the Yard Dogs to secure a 9-6 win and post their second straight victory after starting the season 0-2.
“It was a good team win,” Gators manager Scott Rowland said. “We’re showing some discipline at the plate. We’re not chasing pitches, we’re making them throw strikes.”
Cameron Lane (Lynchburg), Scout Knotts (Shippensburg) and Shane Dux (Hamilton) paced the Gators offensively, registering two hits apiece, including a big go-ahead two-run double from Knotts in the top of the seventh and a three-run homer from Lane earlier in the game, staking the Gators to a 5-1 lead.
“I was looking for something straight and got ahead 2-0,” Lane said. “Figured I was going to get another fastball, I’d seen two in a row and just tried and get my timing so I could get a good swing off and I got a good pitch to hit.”
Hunter Bell (Harford CC) got the start for the Gators and allowed an unearned run over 2.2 innings, battling through a couple of defensive miscues in the first two innings. “I thought [Bell] was great,” Rowland added. “We’re really a good defensive team and we didn’t play real well defensively today so he had to up his pitch count. I thought he was outstanding and he rebounded. He shut it down, which was important and kept us out of that big inning.”
Jonathan Rivard (Virginia Tech) continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a two-run double that tied the game at six and capped a four-run fifth inning for the Yard Dogs. Caden DeCroo (Indiana University of PA) and Brendan Hall (Washington University (MO) also had RBI hits in the inning.
Antonio Menendez (Wake Forest) got the start on the bump for the Yard Dogs and threw three innings of one-hit ball, striking out two. Cameron Taylor (UMBC) was charged with the loss, surrendering four runs over 2.1 innings.
The Gators (2-2) will look to continue their winning streak against the Bunt Cakes (2-2) while the Yard Dogs (1-3) will look to snap their two-game skid against Rough Riders (3-1) on Thursday at Madison High School.
In other league action…the Rough Riders (3-1) beat the Hot Wings (1-3), 10-4, behind a grand slam from Eric Lingebach (Christopher Newport) and a three-run homer from Justin Carboni (Pennsylvania). Jake Berry (University of Virginia) allowed one run over three innings while Brendan Albrittain (Radford) tossed two no-hit innings in relief to close out the game for the Rough Riders… Michael Grupe (Virginia Tech) threw four scoreless innings followed by two innings of scoreless relief from Brody Mack (William & Mary) while Ben Williamson (William & Mary) went 2-for-3 with a grand slam as the Sliders (1-3) used a 10-run third inning to beat the Bunt Cakes (2-2), 12-1…The Night Owls (4-0) continued their winning ways beating the Chili Dogs (1-3), 11-6, behind two home runs from Rob Weissheier (Hofstra) and three RBI from Lucas Donlon (Virginia Tech). Ethan Semones also homered and made a couple of nice defensive plays for the Night Owls. Ben Koomey (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) hit his second home run in three games, tying the game with a grand slam in the fifth inning. Kyle Schofield (Frederick CC) also homered in the loss for the Chili Dogs.
Photo of Cameron Lane by Josh Belanger.
By Josh Belanger
Michael Ludowig and Antonio Menedez (Wake Forest) took little time making their presence known for the Yard Dogs, leading their team to a 1-0 victory over the Sliders in the Northern Virginia Collegiate League season opener last night at Waters Field.
Ludowig sparked the Yard Dogs offense in the first inning with a one-out triple to left field off Sliders starter Adam Fischer (William & Mary) and later came around to score on a base hit from Caden DeCroo (Indiana University of PA). Menendez, who started on the mound for the Yard Dogs, allowed just one hit and one walk over three innings with five strikeouts.
The lone run for the Yard Dogs would hold up as the game deciding run as Menendez, Matt Howat (William & Mary) and Dylan Saale (Longwood) shut out the Sliders over a combined effort. Both Menendez and Howat featured dominating breaking pitches that were commanded for strikes and utilized as put away pitches when needed.
“My go-to pitch was my slider,” Menendez said. “Some of these guys I have never seen before so I had to go to what I do best and my defense did a really good job behind me.”
Howat also held the Sliders to one hit in his outing that lasted 3.1 innings.
“Howat did a really good job with his breaking ball. That is his go-to pitch and he can throw it in any count and throw it for a strike. Same thing with Antonio. When he pitches to contact and lets our defense work he is pretty tough to beat,” said Yard Dogs coach Rusty Smith.
In the top of the seventh, Ludowig made a game-saving catch over his shoulder in deep centerfield to rob Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) of extra bases to lead off the inning. The Sliders would later load the bases after three straight two-out hits but fail to bring home the equalizing run.
Michael Grupe (Virginia Tech) came on in relief for Fischer, who allowed one run in two innings. The Hokies right-hander tossed three scoreless innings, allowing three runners on two walks and a hit. Braden Mack (Cornell) pitched a scoreless sixth for the Sliders.
Ben Williamson (William & Mary) led the way offensively for the Sliders with three of the team’s five hits.
The Yard Dogs (1-0) will be up next against the Chili Dogs (0-1) at Madison High School while the Sliders (0-1) will look to rebound against the Rough Riders (1-0) at Waters Field on Saturday.
In other league action…the Hot Wings (1-0) took down the Gators (0-1), 8-3, behind a pair of home runs and a combined six RBI from Pete Nielsen and Trevon Dabney. Avery Neaves also homered in the win for the Hot Wings. Nic Kent went deep and scored twice for the Gators…Carson Swank went 3-for-4 with three runs and Eric Lingebach drove in three behind five scoreless relief innings from Brendan Albrittain and Ryan Dudak to lead the Rough Riders (1-0) over the Chili Dogs (0-1), 5-2. Michael Morgan hit a two-run home run for the Chili Dogs...The Night Owls (1-0) used a seven-run third inning and a 3-for-3 night from Matt Thomas to beat the Bunt Cakes (0-1), 12-2. Night Owls starter Nick Stewart allowed one hit over 3.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Photo of Michael Ludowig by Josh Belanger.