LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. - The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs swept the Elmira Pioneers in a Tuesday night doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park to clinch a spot in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. The Dawgs claimed the opener over the Pioneers, 6-4, and then walked off with a 3-2 victory in the night cap. Mohawk Valley will host an opening round playoff game on Thursday night against either the Albany Dutchmen or the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. The winner of that game will move on the East Division finals against the Amsterdam Mohawks.
In game one of the doubleheader, Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) launched two home runs and Trey Hunt III (Point Loma Nazarene) smashed a two-run blast to slug the DiamondDawgs to a 6-4 victory.
Elmira's Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) hit the first of four home runs in the game in the top of the second inning. He belted the first pitch he saw off of Mohawk Valley starter Mike DeCarlo (Herkimer County C.C) over the fence at the Vet to give Elmira a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Casey Rodrigue responded with his first home run of the night, a lead-off launch in the bottom of the second inning. Following a Craig Lepre (Albany) double, Trey Hunt clubbed a two-run clout to give the DiamondDawgs a 3-1 lead.
The top of the fourth saw Elmira shorten the MV's edge to 3-2 when Spencer Henderson (UC Davis) doubled and then scored on a passed ball. The DiamondDawgs again responded in the bottom of the fourth when Casey Rodrigue (Indiana) hit his second homerun of the game. Sam Dexter (Southern Maine) added an RBI single and Willie Shaw (William & Mary) swatted a two-out RBI double to help increase Mohawk Valley's advantage to 6-2.
Elmira came roaring back in the top of the sixth. Spencer Henderson (UC Davis) ripped a one-out double up the right-field line and moved to third on a Ryan Plantier (Cornell) single into left field. Chris Knott drove in Henderson from third for Elmira's third run but Plantier was gunned down by home plate by Mohawk Valley center fielder Dalton Herrington (ULM) for the second out of the inning. The Pioneers persevered and continued their rally on a two-out RBI single by Dave Hoffmann (Siena). Reliever Zach Williams (UC Davis) replaced Michael DeCarlo on the mound and forced a pop out to end the inning.
Elmira rallied one more time in the top of the seventh. A double and a pair of walks sandwiched around two strikeouts by Zach Williams loaded the bases with two outs. With the potential tying run on second, Williams retired Ryan Plantier on a fly out to center field to end the game. Williams worked 1.1 scoreless innings to convert his second save.
MV starter Mike DeCarlo (Herkimer C.C) improved to 3-3 on the season. He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits. Elmira's Jim Tunison (Misericordia) took the loss. In four innings of work, he allowed six runs on eight hits.
Casey Rodrigue (Indiana) led the DiamondDawgs going 2-for-3 with 2 homeruns, while Jordan Serena (Columbia) had a double. Craig Lepre (UAlbany) was 2-for-3 with a double and Sam Dexter (Southern Maine) was 2-for-3 with a double. The Elmira Pioneers were led by Spencer Henderson who went 2-for-3 and Chris Knott was 2-for-3 with a double
Jordan Serena (Columbia) scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the DiamondDawgs a walk-off win over the Pioneers.
The second game featured a pitchers' duel between Mohawk Valley's Taylor Wright (Brown) and Elmira's Jasper Adams (Ithaca). Wright allowed two runs on five hits over 5.1 innings and struck out four. He limited the Pioneers to single runs in the first and sixth innings. Adams conceded two Mohawk Valley runs on nine hits, he walked none and struck out one.
For the second game in a row, Elmira was the first team to score. Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) hit a lead-off double in the second. He moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a Brian Bashara (Old Dominion) ground out to put Elmira ahead, 1-0. Jasper Adams blanked Mohawk Valley through the first three innings but allowed the DiamondDawgs to get on the scoreboard in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Trey Hunt III (Point Loma Nazarene) and Jordan Friend (Alabama A&M) put runners on the corners with one out. Sam Dexter (Southern Maine) connected on Mohawk Valley's third-straight single to tie the game, 1-1.
The DiamondDawgs forged ahead in the fifth inning behind a pair of sacrifices. Mike Fischer (Columbia) dinged a lead-off double. He advanced to third on a Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) sacrifice bunt and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Craig Lepre (Albany). Elmira rallied to tie the game at 2-2 in Taylor Wright's sixth inning of work. Wright walked Chris Knott and then hit Ryan Plantier (Cornell). Patrick Michon (Texas A&M) relieved Wright and plunked Colby Gee (Ithaca) to load the bases with one out. Brian Bashara (ODU) drove in Chris Knott with the game-tying run for Elmira on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the seventh inning. Mike Fischer started off the home seventh with a lead-off single off of Elmira reliever Brandon Diorio (Ithaca). Pinch runner Jordan Serena replaced Fischer and he ran to second on Casey Rodrigue's second sacrifice hit of the game. An Elmira fielding error pushed Serena to third and then he scored on a passed ball with Dalton Herrington (ULM) at the plate.
Patrick Michon allowed an inherited run to score however he tossed 1.2 scoreless innings to earn his third win. Trey Hunt III, Sam Dexter and Mike Fischer all had two hits for the DiamondDawgs.
Brian Bashara drove in both Elmira runs without recording a hit. Chris Kalousdian (Manhattan) paced the Pios with a 2-for-3 effort.