The Mohawks celebrated America’s 235th birthday in Cooperstown, New York on Monday afternoon with a 7-4 victory over the Hawkeyes.
It was a rollercoaster of a contest in which Abram Williams (Radford) blew his second save in eight days but became the winning pitcher after the Hawks scored three times in the top of the tenth. The Mohawks did not score until there were two outs in the seventh and nine of the games 11 runs were tallied in the seventh inning or later.
Overshadowed by the late inning fireworks was Mark Leiter’s (NJIT) best outing of the season. The right hander lasted a season high seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits and fanned eight.
The Hawkeyes touched Leiter for two runs in the third on consecutive hits from Colemen Barron (Davidson) and Danny Nelson (Cal State Monterey Bay), but the six foot hurler allowed just two hits over the next four innings and left the game with his team in front 3-2.
Trailing 2-0, Amsterdam finally cracked the armor of the big left hander Chris Kono (Holy Cross) in the top of the seventh. Luke Maile (Kentucky) stung a one-out double off of third base and advanced to third on a poor throw from left field. Kody Ortman (Auburn) then drove in Maile with a groundout to shortstop.
With two outs and the bases clear Matt Mack (Radford) lined single up the middle to set the stage for Josh Alexander (Utah). After battling the big lefthander from Connecticut deep into the count, Alexander poked a full count pitch over the right field wall for a two-run homer that had Amsterdam on top 3-2.
Williams came on to try his hand at a two out save and left the bases loaded in the eighth when he forced Ben Miller (Shippensburg) to ground into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
Maile tacked on an insurance run with a solo home run to lead off the ninth to extend the Mohawk lead to 4-2.
Moments later, Williams trotted back out to the same mound from which he blew is only save of the season one week ago. It seemed as though he was going to exorcise those demons when he got a couple of quick outs and jumped in front of the ninth place hitter Nate Izzo (Tufts) 0-2 in the count. But five pitches later he walked the centerfielder on a full count pitch and then walked Coleman Barron (Davidson) to put the tying runs aboard with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The pair of walks brought up Danny Nelson who was already 2-4 with a double and a run driven in. After several consecutive foul balls, Nelson roped a double into left field to tie the game. After an infield hit that set up first a third, Ben Manlove (Chico State) flew out to left and sent the game to extra innings.
The Mohawks wasted little time as Zach Shank (Marist) ripped a one-out single into left field. Jude Vidrine (Lamar) struck out and Parker Morin (Utah) singled to put the go-ahead run on second for Luke Maile. The sophomore out of Kentucky drove an outside fastball down the right field line for a two-run double that gave the visitors a 6-4 lead. The next hitter was Ortman who smashed a hard hit ground through third baseman Bryan Anderud (Cypress) to provide the final margin.
Chuck Schlegel faced only three batters in the bottom of the tenth to secure his first save of the season. The Mohawks will continue a three game road trip when they head to Watertown for a two game series with the Wizards.