Mark Leiter (NJIT) was determined to get a win on Saturday night in Glens Falls. He knew the circumstances; a victory against the first place Golden Eagles would catapult his team into a virtual first place tie for the first time this summer. The righty wanted the ball in the big spot and he responded, tossing 6.2 innings and allowing just three runs on five hits and leading the Mohawks to their ninth win in their last ten games with an 8-3 triumph.
74 pitches into his outing, Leiter headed back out for the bottom of the seventh with his team on top 8-2. After a walk and a hit batter, Josh Alexander (Utah) made a sprawling catch in right-centerfield for the second out of the inning. Leiter then walked another to load the bases before allowing an RBI single to Anthony Pisani (Southern Maine).
With the bases still full in and the tying run on deck, Keith Griffin elected to go with his freshmen out of Dartmouth to wiggle out of the jam. Mike Dodakian came on and struck out leadoff hitter Kyle Ruchim (Northwestern) to leave the bases loaded. It was the only move Griffin needed to make on Saturday night, Dodakian went the final 2.1 innings to snatch his first save of the season.
Ruchim served as a thorn in Leiter’s side all evening, seemingly the only Golden Eagle who had an answer for the New Jersey native. Ruchim got the scoring started in the bottom of the first when he blasted a solo shot over the left-centerfield fence to put Glens Falls on top 1-0.
In the second inning, though, the Mohawks pounced on Golden Eagles’ righty Dylan Baker (Tacoma C.C.). After singles from Luke Maile (Kentucky) and Josh Netheway (Albany), Matt Mack (Radford) smacked a run-scoring double to tie the game at one.
Alexander then walked to load the bases for Demarcus Henderson (Mississippi State) who drove in a pair with a double to put Amsterdam up 3-1. It was part of another big night for Henderson who is now six for his last 13 with two doubles and three RBI since Tuesday. Andrew Green (East Tennessee State) followed with his own double to drive in runs four and five and put the visitors in front 5-1.
After retiring the side in order in the bottom of the second, Leiter stumbled over that pesky Kyle Ruchim once more. The freshman from Northwestern touched Mark Letier for a leadoff double in the third. A couple of batters later, Dave Olson (Tacoma C.C.) drove him in to trim the lead to three.
Zach Shank (Marist) led off the visiting fifth with a walk, Jude Vidrine singled – extending his hit streak to five games, and then Luke Maile launched a 3-2 fastball deep into the right-field bleachers to make the score 8-2. Maile joined the team from the Cape Cod League on Sunday evening and already has two homeruns and seven runs driven in with the Mohawks.
After getting out of the bases loaded jam in the seventh, Dodakian struck out the side in the eighth and locked down the victory by inducing pinch hitter Mike Tiri to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the ballgame.
Leiter (1-3) struck out six batters on his way to picking up his first win of the summer while Baker (0-1) was branded with his first loss after allowing five runs in four innings of work.
Amsterdam pushes their record to 16-11 and pulls into a virtual tie with Glens Falls (14-9) for first place in the Eastern Division – with fewer losses, the Golden Eagles own a higher winning percentage.
The Hawks will travel to play Albany on Sunday night at 7:00 before making their way back to East Field to tangle with the Golden Eagles once more on Monday evening