Anthony Cittadino, Assistant Copy Editor
Over the past weekend, the Utica College baseball team hosted conference rival Ithaca College for a three-game series. The Pioneers came out on top in the series, winning two out of three.
The series started with a double-header on Saturday. Senior Josh Webb was given the start for the early game. Webb pitched a complete game, giving up four runs and striking out five as he picked up his second win of the season.
“This really shows us that we can beat any team if we played how we did on Saturday,” Webb said.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when UC’s JT Ross ripped a two-run double into center field. As Ithaca still had trouble getting on the scoreboard, UC capitalized again as freshman Christian Tiffin doubled into left field to score Matt Fitzgerald.
The Bombers rallied in the fifth inning, plating three runs to tie the game up.
But UC fought back, and the Pioneers scored four runs in the sixth inning, taking advantage of four Ithaca errors.
“Nothing really sparked the rallies we had for both games Saturday,” sophomore Jake Ryan said. “Every hitter in our lineup had confidence in the batter before them. We did not strikeout with runners in scoring position, which put a lot of pressure on the Ithaca defense.”
Ithaca scored two runs in the top of the seventh that ultimately meant nothing; the Pioneers held on for a hard-fought 7-5 win.
Once the late game started, Ithaca woke up. But once again, the Pioneers fought back.
The Bombers led 2-0 in the second but UC got its offense going in the bottom half with a double from Bryce Patterson and and single from Tiffin to even the score.
The Pioneers found themselves tied in the fourth and capitalized when it was needed. Senior Adam Pexton and Ross brought home two runs to take the 5-3 lead. However, the Bombers surged in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, scoring five runs and claiming an 8-5 lead.
As the bottom of the seventh began, Matthew DeMartino came to the plate and hit a solo shot to make the game 8-6.
“I think we just had motivation no matter what. Even when we had setbacks we stayed positive and knew we could come back,” he said.
Three more Bomber errors allowed the Pioneers to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the 9-8 lead.
Vincent Burillo came in for the final 1.2 innings and was solid, allowing just one hit and no runs to earn his first save of the season. Gavin McCann was credited with the win, pitching 2.1 innings in relief while giving up three runs. The final score was 9-8.
The next day, however, was a different story. The Bombers jumped out early and cruised to a 20-6 win. Still, the Pioneers were excited to come away with a series victory.
“Our team confidence is extremely high. We feel after those wins against Ithaca that we can compete with anyone,” DeMartino. “We want to make the tournament so those wins are extremely important.”
With the wins, the Pioneers improved to 4-8 in Empire 8 conference play. They’ll hit the road this weekend, heading to SUNY Canton for three conference games.
Featured image; Senior Josh Webb pitched a complete game in game one of three against Ithaca. He finished with five strikeouts and has an overall 3.64 era. Photo taken by ucpioneers.com.