BOONVILE, N.Y. - After unsafe field conditions cancelled play on Tuesday, the Utica Blue Sox traveled once again to Boonville Friday to take on the Adirondack Trail Blazers in a day-night doubleheader. The Blazers would sweep the Blue Sox by taking the first game, 13-2, before walking off in the nigthcap, 5-4.
In game one, the Trail Blazers were relentless with their bats, as well as their defensive play. In the bottom of the third, they began their assault scoring three runs, including a solo home run from Danny Abate (Monmouth).
Utica struck back and closed the gap to 3-2, following a two-run home run from Kyle Norman. Norman was the only Blue Sox player in this game to record more than one hit, finishing two-for-three on the night.
In the bottom of the fourth, Adirondack blew the door wide open and lit up the scoreboard five times. Zach Zientarski (Pittsburgh) brought home three runs on one swing of the bat with a long home run to right field. Riley Schaefer (Texas Lutheran) also recorded an RBI double. Schaefer finished two-for-four with two RBIs and two runs scored.
If it was not bad enough for Utica already, their bad luck continued in the bottom of the fifth as the Trail Blazers notched five more runs to their pre-existing 8-2 lead. Bailey Collins (Concordia-Irvine) hit a two-RBI double and all nine Blazers came around to bat in the inning. Adirondack won game one easily 13-2.
John Hardy (MVCC) evened his pitching record at 1-1 following the win. Despite giving up 12 hits and 12 earned runs, Louie Varland was able to strike out a season high seven batters through four innings in his first loss in 2017.
Following a 40-minute hiatus, the field was reset for game two.
Game two proved to be a much different ball game for both teams. Prior to the fifth inning, Adirondack put only two men on base and six batter struck out. But in the bottom of the fifth, Tyler Bruno (Iona) slapped a big two-RBI double to give his club a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Sox also did not see much action behind the plate for most of game two. They recorded only four hits through the first six innings and saw no more than two baserunners at any given point.
However, the tables turned for the Blue Sox in the top of the seventh. A lead-off walk to Norman was enough to get Blazers' starter Jake Walker (Rhode Island) sent to the bench. Matt Valin (OCC) walked Robbie Young and then gave u pa two-RBI single to Jimmy Mendyk, tying the game at 2-2. Mendyk later scored the go-ahead run after a bad throw from Hayden Rappoport.
Zac Bygum (Dartmouth) relieved Valin to help stop the bleeding, but a wild pitch brought home Matthew McDermott and the Blue Sox lead was then 4-2. Bygum, however, was able to retire all three batters he faced.
With one out and two men on base in the bottom of the seventh, Joe Simone (Rider) tied the game with a two-RBI double, his only hit in the game. Utica then brought in Logan Foster to close out the game, who intentionally walked John Michael Boswell (Furman), giving the Blue Sox a double play option to end the inning and send the game into extra innings.
The next batter up for the Trail Blazers was Lou Matarazzo (Iona), who had struck out twice earlier in the game. With two balls and two strikes in the count, Matarazzo ripped in the ball down the third base line where Utica's outfield had been playing deep. Simone scored easily from second and Adirondack won game two 5-4, completing the doubleheader sweep.
Brendan McNerney recorded his third loss, brining his record to 0-3 this season with Utica. Bygum picked up his first win this season; he is now 1-0.
The Blue Sox and Trail Blazers will square off again in Boonville on Thursday, June 29. Another doubleheader is set between the two teams on Saturday, July 15, in Utica, making up a rain out on June 6 and playing a regularly scheduled game.
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