LITTLE FALLS, NY – It was a gloomy day all around Little Falls leading up to game time at Veteran's Memorial Park on Thursday. Unfortunately, the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs could not shake off that gloom, nor the hangover of their big win over Amsterdam on Tuesday.
There were five errors committed by both teams, four by second basemen, but the Utica Blue Sox took advantage of their errors, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back, knocking off the Diamond Dawgs in the first game of their home-and-home series, 7-4.
The Blue Sox got on the board just two batters in, when the speedy Cameron Phelts (Tyler, TX/Texas College) started off the game with a double. He would come in on an RBI single by Colton Bender (Lebanon, CT/Quinnipiac). However, that was all the Blue Sox would get out of Mohawk Valley starter Aaron Glickstein (Dix Hills, NY/Stony Brook), who only allowed one hit in the next four batters to end the top of the first.
Isaiah Torres (Brooklyn, NY/Grambling State) started the second inning off with a bang, parking the fourth pitch he saw over the left-center field fence to double Utica's lead. Unfortunately for Mohawk Valley, two errors by second baseman Jake Barbiere (Randolph, NJ/Rider) would lead to two big runs, both of them coming off a misplayed ground ball off the bat of Cole Habig (Plantation, FL/Embry-Riddle) that would score Luis DeLeon (Providence, RI/Central Alabama CC) and Khalyd Cox (Palmetto, FL/Savannah State).
A sacrifice fly by DeLeon in the third inning extended the lead even further for the Blue Sox. His fly ball to center field would score L.J. Bryant (Leesburg, GA/Andrew College). Bryant added to the lead in the fifth, twisting a ball around the left field foul pole for the second solo home run of the night.
The Diamond Dawgs would take advantage of some errors from Utica in the eighth, using an error by substitute second baseman Judd Sparks (West Brentwood, TN/Volunteer State CC) to score Joel Alvarez (Hainesport, NJ/Barry). They would add another on a fielder's choice that scored Mark McKenna (Grand Island, NY/Canisius). The Blue Sox would get one of those runs back, as Sparks knocked a triple down the third base line to score Torres.
Mohawk Valley would start a rally in the bottom of the ninth, as Ryan Hernandez hit a ball just out of the reach of the Utica shortstop to score Drew Fureno (Canajoharie, NY/LeMoyne). They would also walk in a run, scoring Pollack in the process. However, that would be all that Josh Gosweiler (Sicklerville, NJ/Iona) would give up, striking out Barbiere to end the Diamond Dawgs' two-game winning streak.
Gosweiler would pick up the save, while Naab would pick up the win for the Blue Sox (5-6). Glickstein would be saddled with the loss for the Diamond Dawgs (7-4).
The Diamond Dawgs will finish up their home-and-home series with the Blue Sox on Friday night at Murnane Field before heading back to Veteran's Memorial Park on Saturday to take on the Newark Pilots. After the home-and-home, the Blue Sox will make a trip to Boonville on Saturday to take on the Adirondack Trail Blazers.