ALBANY, N.Y. – Despite some uneven play, the Albany Dutchmen (30-16) were able to salvage a doubleheader split against the Adirondack Trail Blazers (16-31), losing game one, 8-4, and winning game two, 5-4.
Nick Estrella (Azusa Pacific) was the walk off hero of the ballgame, winning the game with an RBI single to score Griffen Herrera (Azusa Pacific) to cap off game two with darkness approaching.
Estrella’s walk off was necessary due to a bad sequence of events for the Dutchmen in the sixth inning. After Jordan Torrento (Adrian) doubled off of relief pitcher JD Mundt (Louisville), a ground ball by Joe Simone (Rider) was misplayed at first base by Brandt Holland (North Alabama). The error allowed the first run of the game to score for the Trail Blazers. Riley Schaefer (Texas Lutheran) followed with a single to bring home another run. Mundt proceed to allow Adirondack to load the bases with only one out. Bay McIntosh (Florida Tech) popped out to the catcher Colin Kaucher (Ohio Dominican) for out number two of the inning. When Kaucher tried to throw the ball back to Mundt, it got away to allow a run to score from third base and make the score 4-3. Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) came on in relief of Mundt, but allowed the game tying hit to Steffen Torgersen (Dartmouth) after he had walked the previous batter. He proceeded to walk Tyler Bruno (Iona) before striking out Torrento to end the inning.
Albany jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game two off of starting pitcher Kyle Cashman (Pace). The first inning saw Herrera rip a leadoff single off the left field wall, followed by a double by Estrella which appeared to score Herrera. It was then ruled that Herrera never stepped on home plate and he was called out, a missed opportunity that would loom large later in the ballgame. Nick Gallo (Oklahoma State) got the first RBI of the game with a single to left field. Following a Gallo stolen base, Justin Childers (Ohio Dominican) drove him home with a single to bring the lead to 2-0.
The Dutchmen added on their final runs for a while in the third inning. Childers scored Gallo again with another RBI single, then scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to make the lead 4-0.
Sean Boyle (Dallas Baptist) made the lead stand up for a long time. He worked five scoreless innings, striking out five batters, and only allowing three hits along with one walk.
Boyle faced runners in scoring position situations in each of the first two innings but worked out of them. He settled in, retired seven consecutive batters from the third inning through part of the fifth inning. Boyle did not receive a decision after the bullpen lost the lead during the sixth inning.
Game one of the doubleheader saw Albany starting pitcher Teddy Paisley (Virginia) have struggles with his command. Paisley walked four batters and hit another with a pitch, allowing six runs in four innings of work.
The big blow to the Dutchmen hopes of winning game one came during the fourth inning. With the Dutchmen trailing 2-1, Adirondack loaded the bases with nobody out. After scoring a run to make it 3-1, runners stood at the corners with two out. Paisley then served up a three run homer to Schaefer to open up the Trail Blazer lead to 6-1.
The Dutchmen tried to fight back in the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Jake Walker (Rhode Island) had pitched great baseball over five innings up to that point, but Albany started to figure him out in the sixth. The Dutchmen put three runs on the board, led by Chris Villa’s (Seton Hall) two run single.
Adirondack had a response in the top of the seventh. Justin Smith (Hofstra) had an RBI double off of Jeff Lonnecker (Trinity), and Zach Schering (Adrian) followed with a run scoring single to make the lead 8-4, a score that was ultimately the final margin of the game.
Today’s doubleheader was the last regular season home date for the Dutchmen. They travel to Onondaga tomorrow for a 5 p.m. game and play Mohawk Valley for a continuation game, picked up with Albany leading 7-1 in the sixth inning, and a regularly scheduled game, beginning at 5:05 p.m. The Dutchmen are trying to hold off Mohawk Valley for the second seed, as the second seed will host a single elimination playoff game on Tuesday against the third seed. Albany and Mohawk Valley are locked into the second and third spots in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League East Division and are fighting for seeding.