Although the weather was gloomy on Saturday afternoon, the atmosphere at Wallace Field definitely wasn’t. A sloppy seventh inning seemed to be the downfall for the Red Dragons, as they lost to Brockport 5-4 in the series opener.
Ace Jeff Cooke got the starting bid for Cortland, in which he tossed six solid innings before facing trouble in the seventh. Cooke was the losing pitcher, going 6.2 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs.
Early in the game, the Red Dragons were down early but responded well. In the bottom half of the third, the Red Dragons scratched across two runs, driven in by SS Tyler Phillips and senior Justin Teague. Teague had an outstanding performance offensively, going 3-4 with an RBI and a walk, improving his season average to .507.
The Cortland bats stayed hot for the bottom half of the fourth inning, increasing their lead to 3-1 following Colin BeVard’s RBI double.
With Cooke allowing only three hits and one run through six innings and the Red Dragons having nine hits through six, it seemed like nothing could go wrong. However, that wasn’t the case.
The seventh inning was when it all went down hill for the Red Dragons. Cooke walked the leadoff man for Brockport, who would increase 90 feet on the next play due to a SAC bunt. Cortland knew there was a runner in scoring position, but they did nothing to help their cause. The leadoff man moved to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI groundout, cutting the lead to just one.
The two out errors for the Red Dragons is what really hurt their chances of winning. Followed by the RBI groundout, Cortland should’ve been out of the inning, but they weren’t able to capitalize.
A two-out bunt single and a rare catcher’s interference made it runners on first and second for Brockport. With Cooke’s pitch count running high, it made Coach Brown’s decision to leave Cooke in the game extremely difficult. He decided to leave Cooke in the ballgame, confident that he would finish the inning off.
Unfortunately, Cooke surrendered an RBI single and a 2 RBI double, which left no choice for Coach Brown but to take Cooke out of the ballgame. He then brought in reliever Payten Boice who would get the last out of the four run inning.
Trailing 5-3 in the ballgame, Cortland knew they needed to put some pressure on Brockport in order to try and get something started. In the bottom half of the seventh, Cortland was able to cut the deficit to one on an RBI single from Matthew Personius, but they would leave the tying run 90 feet away.
Threatening to tie the game up in the seventh, Cortland would make another threat in the eight to tie up the ballgame. Leaving 8 runners on base up until this point, the Red Dragons knew they needed to change the morale of the story in order to win the ballgame. However, they continued to be unsuccessful with hitters in scoring position, leaving runners on first and second to end the inning.
Then there was the ninth inning. A small crowd of 250 along with the Cortland bench was making the atmosphere at Wallace Field electric. Justin Teague led the ninth inning off for Cortland and issued a walk, but he was the only runner to reach base that inning. Teague would be end up being stranded on second base, as the Red Dragons failed to complete the comeback. They would finish the game leaving 11 runners on base.
Yes, this ballgame was a thriller, and yes, Cortland should’ve won this ballgame if it wasn’t for the errors and runners left on base.
Cortland will seek revenge on Sunday as they play Brockport in a double header starting at 12PM.