On Sunday afternoon, the Red Dragons dropped the rubber match of the series against the Brockport Golden Eagles, falling 8-7.
Almost identical to the contest on Saturday afternoon, this loss included a huge Brockport inning and a near comeback by Cortland.
From the start of this ballgame, it was an emotional roller coaster for both teammates and fans. In the bottom of the first inning, Coach Joe Brown got into what seemed to be a heated altercation with a Brockport player right outside of the third base dugout. This pumped up the Cortland players, as they would jump out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Through the first two innings, starting pitcher Patrick Merryweather was near flawless, allowing only one hit. However, when the third inning came around, he seemed to face trouble.
Brockport would tie the game in the top of the third inning, scratching across two runs on two hits. Rather a questionable decision by Coach Brown, he would take Merryweather out of the game after just three innings for reliable reliever Mike Harrington. Harrington enterd the game with a 1.86 ERA, but that number would change drastically after this game was over.
In the bottom frame of the fourth, Ralph Nuzzi reached base on a dropped popup by the right fielder and would later be driven in by the hot bat of Steven Figueroa. Figueroa would finish the game with 3 RBI’s, increasing his RBI total to 22 through 24 games.
Leading by one run after the fourth inning, it seemed like Cortland had control of this game. Then, the tide started to turn.
Harrington got the first two outs of the inning with ease, but faced significant trouble from there. Brockport strung together five straight hits, forcing Coach Brown to pull Harrington from the game. Mike DeCarlo would enter the game after Harrington, surrendering one more hit before the bleeding was stopped. Suddenly it was a 6-3 Brockport lead and the Cortland bench had gone quiet.
Flashback from Saturday’s game? I think so.
Cortland knew they needed to keep the Brockport lineup in check in order to have a shot at a comeback. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.
Brockport would scratch across one more run in the top of the 6th, increasing their lead to four. The top half of the 6th included three different pitchers to get three outs. Cortland had a total of eight different pitchers by the end of the ballgame.
Even though the game seemed out of reach for the Red Dragons late in the second game of a long double header, it certainty wasn’t. Tyler Phillips would come to the rescue for Cortland, cutting the deficit to three. Phillips would finish the game 3-6 with an RBI.
The bottom of the 7th inning summarized this whole series in a nutshell: runners left on base.
Nate Budge who had a 4-4 performance in game one of the double header started things off for Cortland with a 1-out single up the middle, followed by a Matthew Personius single. Coach Brown then turned to his number one option off of the bench, Jack Massa.
Massa connected with the first pitch he saw for a double off of the left center fence, scoring Budge and moving Personius to third base. Just when it seemed like the tide was turning for the Red Dragons, they would once again leave runners in scoring position, closing the 7th inning still trailing by two.
Due to Cortland’s late inning success this past week, they needed to keep the Brockport lineup in check and let their bats do the talking. However, the Cortland pitching would surrender another run, extending the Golden Eagle lead to three.
With memories of Saturday’s finish in their rear view mirror, Cortland was looking for a miracle in the bottom of the 9th. Similar to the bottom of the 7th inning, Nate Budge and Matthew Personius would both walk to make it first and second with nobody out. Unfortunately, the next two batters made outs and Cortland was down to their final out.
Sean Figueroa delivered a 2-out 2 RBI double to once again make things interesting late in the ballgame and move the tying run into scoring position. Then up to bat came Tyler Phillips who had an outstanding performance on Sunday.
Phillips was unable to capitalize with a runner in scoring position as Cortland would fall to Brockport, with a final score of 8-7. They would finish the game with 13 runners left on base.
Cortland will look to turn things around on Wednesday at 3:30PM as they host Cazenovia in a non-conference game.