PGCBL Daily Rundown - July 6, 2012

Mohawk Valley's Jack Morrow applies the tag to Amsterdam's Evan Stephens as the later dives back into first base on Thursday night at Shuttleworth Park. Photo courtesy Mike Zummo/The-Leader-Herald

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Note: Individual game box scores can be found linked on the scoreboard page which is part of the Statistics drop down menu on the main web site navigation bar.

Last Night's Scores

Elmira 8 Newark 2
Glens Falls 9 Albany 2
Mohawk Valley 11 Amsterdam 7

Today's Games and Pitching Probables
Cooperstown at Albany, 7:05 p.m.
Cody Cooper (NKU) 1-3, 5.06 ERA vs. Andrew Furber (Gloucester County) 1-1, 5.48 ERA

Glens Falls at Amsterdam, 7:05 p.m.
Ryan Peterson (Yavapai) 2-2, 4.37 ERA vs. Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky) 4-0, 0.33 ERA

Oneonta at Elmira, 7:05 p.m.
Nathaniel Abel (Virginia) 0-2, 2.79 ERA vs. Matt Holling (Hofstra) 0-1, 4.30 ERA

Watertown at Newark, 7:05 p.m.
Nick Bradley (W. Michigan) 2-1, 4.01 ERA vs. Cullen Babin (Delta State) 0-0, 8.10 ERA

*As the stretch run creeps closer and closer, the gap between teams for vying for the top slots in the standings becomes smaller and smaller. Second place and ninth place are separated by just 5.5 games with half of the season to play. Even closer are spots three through nine where just 3.5 games are between the current third-place Newark Pilots and the ninth-place Cooperstown Hawkeyes. Every game now counts as teams look to try to punch their ticket for the PGCBL postseason.

*Mohawk Valley mashed its way to a league record on Thursday night eight doubles against Amsterdam pitching. Over one-half of Mohawk Valley's 16 hits were for extra bases with eight doubles and one triple. The eight doubles in a single game is a new league record. Amsterdam previously held the record with seven doubles in a single game against Albany last July. The 18-run scorefest featured 11 overall doubles (another league single-game record) and 13 extra-base hits. Amsterdam and Mohawk Valley combined for 26 hits overall, 50 percent were extra-base hits. For the Dawgs, Tyler Heck (Union, N.Y.) and Mark Stuckey (Marist) each doubled twice; David Del Grande (Sacramento State), Jack Morrow (Young Harris), Eric Helmrich (Marist) and Tyler Hall (Herkimer County C.C.) also had one double each. Chase Green (SIU Edwardsville), Zak Colby (Faulkner) and Brian Ruby (Binghamton) all had a double for the Mohawks. MV's Luke Nethaway (Herkimer County C.C.) tripled and Chase Williamson (Auburn) hit a home run.

*Through three innings on Thursday night in the Rug City, Mohawk Valley bashed out seven hits. Mohawk Valley's first four hits were doubles and six of their first seven hits were extra-base hits. David Del Grande (Sacramento State) and Jack Morrow (Young Harris) hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning. Eric Helmrich (Marist) slugged a one-out double in the second. Tyler Heck (Union, N.Y.) opened the third with a two-bagger and three batters later, Jack Morrow poked the lone single of the first three frames for the Dawgs. Mark Stuckey (Marist) followed Morrow with the first of his two doubles and Luke Nethaway (Herkimer County CC) upped Stuckey's double with a two-run triple.

*Amsterdam's Chase Williamson (Auburn) hit a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Shuttleworth Park in a 9-8, 10-inning loss to the Cooperstown Hawkeyes. Williamson, a reserve third baseman when he is not serving as the closer, entered Thursday night's game against Mohawk Valley as a defensive replacement. In his first and only at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, he smashed a solo home run over the right-field fence. That gives Williamson, who did not hit in the spring at Auburn, two home runs in his last two at-bats.

*Another top reliever in the league was plying his other trade on Thursday night. Jared Cheek (Ga. Southern) of the Glens Falls Golden Eagles leads the PGCBL with six saves and 12 games finished. He is listed as a pitcher and catcher at Georgia Southern. Thursday night, he made his second catching appearance of the summer and started against the Albany Dutchmen. Cheeck caught several innings of a lopsided win over Cooperstown last week in his first catching appearance. Cheek backstoped the Golden Eagles to a four-hitter between starter Tayler Saucedo (Tacoma C.C.) and relievers Wes Judish (San Diego) and Nick Pivetta (New Mexico JC). At the bat, Cheek walked once in four plate appearances and scored one run.

*Mohawk Valley's Mark Stuckey (Marist) nearly became the second player this season to hit a grand slam at Amsterdam's Shuttleworth Park. Stuckey came up to the plate against Amsterdam in the top of the eighth inning with the bases loaded. The Marist product sent a high drive towards deep left-center field that hit off the top of the second level of the Chain Monster just missing a home run. Stuckey ended up with a bases-clearing double.

*Several strong pitching performances were recorded by relievers on Thursday. Tayler Saucedo (Tacoma C.C.) has pitched as both a starter and reliever for the Golden Eagles. He started against Albany on Thursday night at East Field and turned in one of the best starts of the season for Glens Falls. The Maple Valley, Wash., native tossed a one-hitter over six shutout innings, walked two and struck out six. Saucedo pitched 15.1 innings in the spring and appeared in only six games for the Tacoma Titans. Mohawk Valley's Jesse Buratt (Baton Rouge C.C.) was just as good as Saucedo. Buratt, in a spot start, yielded just one earned run on four hits in six innings and he struck out five. He also stranded seven Amsterdam runners on base and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning with no damage.

*Several teams have added players over the last few days. Amsterdam has picked up former New York State Class A Player of the Year Brian Ruby from Binghamton University. Ruby led the Bearcats in hitting this spring and he was named to the America East All-Rookie team. In addition, the Endwell, N.Y., native was a three-time selection to the Class A All-State first team. Ruby won a state championship at powerhouse Maine-Endwell and he is a former prep teammate of Elmira's Ty Yesensky (Old Dominion). On a slight aside, Ruby's M-E Spartans knocked current Amsterdam teammate Dan Zlotnick (Marist) and his Somers High squad out of the Class A state playoffs in 2009; it was Zlotnick's last high school game.

*Other additions include Albany's Michael Jurgella (Saint Cloud State) and Nolan Gaige (UAlbany) and Cooperstown's Ty Blankmeyer (St. John's-2012). Jurgella was the starting catcher for the nationally-ranked Saint Cloud State Huskies this past spring. Jurgella posted a pair of 11-game hit streaks and was named to the NCAA Division II Central Regional All-Tournament team. He finished fifth among all SCSU players in batting average. Gaige was the leading hitter for the UAlbany Great Danes in the spring. He is one of four UAlbany players on the Dutchmen roster along with Kasceim Graham , Austin Chase and Brian Gauthier. Blankmeyer is a recent graduate of Seton Hall Prep. He will be attending St. John's University in the fall. His father, Ed, is the head baseball coach at St. John's. Ty batted over .300 in each of his two final high school seasons with the Pirates. His cousin, Michael Sheppard III, was a 35th-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.

*With just under one month remaining on the PGCBL schedule, two players are batting over .400. Amsterdam's Evan Stephens (Wake Forest) leads the league with a .456 mark and Ross Kivett (Kansas State) of Glens Falls is second with an even .400 batting average. Kivett leads the league in stolen bases (21). Both Stephens and Kivett are in the top six in the league for overall hits.

*The fifth time was the charm on Thursday night for Elmira's John Melville (New Haven). The Pios starting pitcher earned his first win of the summer last night with a dominant performance against the Newark Pilots in front of over 3,800 at Dunn Field. Melville tossed a four-hitter over eight innings, allowed only one run and forced 13 ground outs. He induced a pair of double play ground outs and forced Newark to leave seven men on base.

*Mohawk Valley pitching coach Matthew Erzar skippered the DiamondDawgs to a win at Amsterdam last night. Erzar, the pitching coach for the University of Minnesota-Duluth during the college season, served as the head coach for Mohawk Valley last night. Roberto Vaz, the head coach, missed the game due to personal reasons.

*Head coach John Mayotte of the Glens Falls Golden Eagles has used several different lead-off men this year including but not limited to outfielder Emmanuel Forcier (New Mexico J.C.) and Ross Kivett (Kansas State). Last night, Casey Rodrigue (LSU Eunice) earned the lead-off spot in the Golden Eagle batting order against Albany. Rodrigue came through in a big way for the Green and Golden as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. His lead-off triple in the bottom of the first inning set up a Ross Kivett sacrifice fly that put Glens Falls ahead to stay.

*Since losing to Cooperstown, 10-8, on June 26, the Glens Falls Golden Eagles have outscored opponents 67-36 over their last eight games. The Eagles are 7-1 in those contests. With last night's win over Albany, the Eagles have scored nine times in three-straight games with wins over Albany (x2) and Oneonta. For the season, the Golden Eagles have tallied 174 runs which comes out to a shade under seven per game.

Looking Ahead
*The top two teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League standings collide tonight at Shuttleworth Park when the Amsterdam Mohawks host the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. The two teams that finished atop the PGCBL East standings one year ago are currently first and second in the overall league standings this season. The Golden Eagles are 2-0 against the Mohawks with one win at East Field and one win at Shuttleworth Park. In those two wins, the Eagles have struck for 19 runs and outscored the Mohawks 19-14. That said, the teams have not played since Glens Falls halted Amsterdam's 10-game win streak with an 11-8 triumph at Shuttleworth Park on June 22. That was two weeks ago. The Golden Eagles are the hottest team in the league having won seven of their last eight games including a 9-2 victory at home last night over Albany. The nationally-ranked Mohawks are still the best team in the league record-wise (20-5) but have dropped two in a row to Cooperstown and Mohawk Valley. In those losses, Amsterdam allowed 20 combined runs on 27 hits. That's the most hits the Mohawks have given up in back-to-back games this season. Tonight, Chandler Shepherd (Kentucky), the league leader in ERA (0.33) looks to stop the bleeding for the Mohawks.

*Another PGCBL team tearing it up right now is the Elmira Pioneers. The Pios have quietly won four in a row to climb into a tie for seventh place with the Watertown Wizards. The Pioneers have not lost in the month of July and have totaled 32 runs on 28 hits in their last four games. Of those four wins, two came against third-place Newark, one versus Watertown and the win streak started versus the Oneonta Outlaws last Saturday night. Tonight will mark the fourth game between the Pioneers and Outlaws this season; Oneonta leads the series 2-1 though Elmira's Dylan Waugh (Arizona Christian) was bend but not break in a 6-4 victory at Damaschke Field on Saturday. Both teams are rested for the most part, Elmira has already had two days off this week and Oneonta was off yesterday after playing at home in front of over 4,000 fans on the Fourth of July against Glens Falls. While Elmira has been surging behind a strong offense, Oneonta has lost six of its last seven games with the lone victory coming in a 10-1 thrashing of Newark on Tuesday night. The Orange and Black has rung up 21 runs over its last three games and the offense has accounted for at least three runs in six of the last seven. However, the Outlaws have yielded at least four runs in all six losses. It is a road game for Oneonta, the Outlaws are 5-2 in their last seven games outside of Otsego County. Through 12 home games, Elmira is 4-8.

*The last time Cooperstown and Albany met, it was a slugfest at Doubleday Field in which Cooperstown scored six runs in the third inning to amass a 6-0 lead only to watch Albany record 11-straight scores in an 11-6 victory. And that game was one week ago today. Tonight's Albany-Cooperstown game will be the second between the two squads this season. Cooperstown, despite losing to Watertown on the Fourth of July, is 4-4 in its last eight games. The Hawkeyes began the season 5-11. And Cooperstown's current success has come with a roster of just 21 players due to injuries. In the nearly two weeks since being shut out at Elmira, the Hawkeye offense continues to score runs by the bushel load. Over their last eight games, the Hawkeyes are averaging seven runs per contest. That's nearly three more runs per game than Cooperstown's season average of 4.5/game. Albany continues to maintain fifth place, just lurking behind fourth-place Oneonta. The Dutch are 3-3 in their last six games since halting a four-game losing streak. Major League draft picks Zach Remillard (Coastal Carolina-2012-13) and Morgan Phillips (Charleston) are leading the way offensively for Albany; Remillard leads the team in batting average (.372), home runs (two) and RBI (18) while Phillips, who hit .444 last week, has continued his torrid hitting and now stands second among all Albany batsmen with 16 RBI. Like the Hawkeyes, the Dutchmen can score. The last six games have proven interesting; Albany is 3-0 when reaching double digits while the Dutch in three losses have five or fewer runs; two in two of the setbacks.

*Former PGCBL West rivals Watertown and Newark round out the schedule at Colburn Park tonight. Originally scheduled as a doubleheader, this instead will be a single game. The Wizards and Pilots will play a twin bill next Friday night in Newark when the Pilots close out a stretch of 19 games in 18 days. Tonight's game for Watertown begins a stretch of games for the Wizards where eight of their next nine will be on the road because of the annual Jefferson County Fair. It's an annual trip that the Wizards have become used to; the team has played at home once in franchise history during the Fair, an exhibition game two years ago against the U.S. Military All-Stars. The Wizards also played a "home" game in 2007 when they hosted the Amsterdam Mohawks in a contest played in Philadelphia, N.Y., at Indian River High School which is north of Watertown. The good news about the road swing for the Wizards, the team has one of the best road records in the league at 8-3. The Wiz Kids have won four of their last five away from home and six wins accrued since the middle of June have all been outside of Jefferson County. Newark is 3-1 against Watertown this season. Most recently, the Pilots punched out the Wizards 12-5 at the Duffy Fairgrounds on July 1. Overall, the third-place Pilots have struggled over the last week with two wins in six games. In seven-straight outings, Newark pitchers have given up at least five runs. The offense overall scores over six runs a night but the Pilots have been grounded in their last two games with just three runs combined in defeats to Oneonta and Elmira.

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