ROME, NY – SUNYIT senior Dan Orza (Pleasant Valley, NY/Arlington) broke the program record for career runs batted in and the SUNYIT baseball team broke the program record for wins in season with a sweep of Cazenovia College during a doubleheader Monday, winning game one 3-0 and game two 7-3. The Wildcats finished the regular season tied for first place in the NEAC West Division* at 12-2 and improved to 22-12 overall, while Cazenovia fell to 6-8 in conference play and 8-20 overall.
Due to the on-campus construction of both the $20 million house and the new Wildcat Baseball Field, the contest was held at Volunteer Field in Rome, NY.
Orza entered the day with 77 career runs batted in and needed two more to pass Chris Fratini (2007-10) for the program record, and quickly tied the mark in the first inning of game one on a single to left field that brought home sophomore John LeClair (Mohawk, NY/Cortland State). He would then set the record during game two on his sixth sacrifice fly of the year, which was fitting since he leads the team and is currently 18th in the nation in that category.
The Wildcats got two more runs in game one on an RBI single by sophomore Chandler Evans (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) in the fifth and a two-out RBI triple by junior Anthony Surber (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills) in the sixth. The three runs would be all SUNYIT needed thanks to a tremendous pitching performance by sophomore Michael Rose (Chatham, NY/Hudson Valley CC), who had a no-hitter going through the first four and two thirds innings and ended up tossing a complete game two-hitter while striking out three batters.
Orza, Evans and Surber all finished with two hits, as did senior Kevin Burr (Oriskany, NY/Oriskany), who also scored a run.
The game one victory gave SUNYIT 21 on the year, which is the most ever in the program's 19-year existence. The Wildcats would add to it in game two, but this time would have to put together a come-from-behind performance to do so. They would trail 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third but would tie the game on Orza's record-breaking sac fly RBI and an unearned run scored by junior Devin Frye (Holland Patent, NY/Holland Patent).
After a scoreless fourth, Cazenovia again took the lead in the top of the fifth after scoring an unearned run to go up 3-2. The Wildcats would rally in the bottom of the inning, however, as senior Matt Wanner (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) hit a bases-loaded double to left field that cleared the bases and put SUNYIT up 5-3. They would add two more insurance runs in the sixth to go up 7-3 and never look back, finishing off Cazenovia to register the sweep and secure a tie with Penn State Abington for the first place crown in the NEAC West.
Orza and Wanner both finished game two with a pair of hits. Surber scored a run and drew two walks at the plate, while allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and striking out two batters in four innings of work on the mound. Junior Anthony Osorio (Amsterdam, NY/Fulton-Montgomery CC) allowed one hit in two innings of scoreless relief to record his team-best fourth save of the season.
The Wildcats will now get ready for the NEAC West Tournament this weekend. The time and place have yet to be determined.
*Beginning with the 2010 season, North Atlantic Conference (NAC) members Castleton, Husson, Lyndon State, Maine-Farmington and Thomas will play in the NEAC as associate members in the East Division. Each division will hold a championship and the two divisional champions will meet for a three-game series to determine the conference champion. The conference winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.