Hamilton earns split with SUNY Plattsburgh

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Hamilton College's Tim Burke '16 hit his first collegiate home run and three Continentals combined to strike out 10 batters in Game 2 as Hamilton salvaged a split with SUNY Plattsburgh in a non-conference doubleheader played in Auburndale, Fla., on March 19.

Hamilton (3-1 overall) dropped a heartbreaker in the first game when Plattsburgh walked off with a 3-2 win. The Continentals came back to win 5-2 in the nightcap. Hamilton plays two games against Trinity College from the NESCAC East Division back in Auburndale on Wednesday, March 20.

In Game 2, the Nos. 2 through 5 batters in the lineup all had one hit and scored one run. Burke hit a two-run homer, Gabe Klein '13 tripled and Zach Becker '16 doubled. Starting pitcher Steve Wright '13 gave up two runs on four hits and struck out four in 4.1 innings for the win. Mike Williams '16 earned his first save by striking out five batters over the last two innings.

Hamilton got off to a fast start with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Back-to-back singles by Joe Jensen '15 and Steve LaRochelle '14 and a walk issued to Nick Taylor '15 loaded the bases with no outs. Tyler Reinhold '15 lined a pitch that was caught in foul territory in right field and Jensen tagged up for the game's first run. LaRochelle, who had advanced to third on Reinhold's drive, scored on a fielder's choice ground ball to second base off the bat of Brian Ferrell's '16.

The teams traded runs in the third. With two outs, Shane Houppert singled to right, and a ground-rule double by Mat Chavez put runners on second and third for the Cardinals. Houppert eventually scored on a balk. Becker led off the bottom of the inning with a double and scored on an error three batters later.

The Cardinals (2-6) got one back in the top of the fourth to make it 3-2. Brian Latulipe led off with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. He scored on Mike Mulvihill's ground out.

The Continentals added two insurance runs in the fifth inning when Burke blasted a two-run shot over the right field fence for a 5-2 Hamilton lead. Williams came in for the final two innings and struck out the side in the sixth. Plattsburgh put two aboard with two outs in the top of the seventh and sent the tying run to the plate, but Williams ended the game with another strikeout.

In the first game, Nicholas Lupo went 2-for-3 and drove in the game-winning run for the Cardinals. Marc Plante didn't allow an earned run over six innings of work. Plante struck out two and gave up four hits.

JJay Lane '15 allowed just three hits and no earned runs and struck out three in the complete game loss. Sam Fuentes '13 had two singles and one run batted in, and Taylor had a run-scoring double.

Lane retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but the Continentals weren't able to get anything going through the first three innings either. In the bottom of the fourth, Latulipe got things started for Plattsburgh with a one-out single through the right side. A balk advanced Latulipe to second base and he scored on an error on the next play.

Hamilton threatened in the top of the fifth with a runner on second and no outs, but Reinhold was thrown out at third on Becker's infield single. The Continentals put runners on first and second with two outs, but Plattsburgh forced a groundout that ended the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Taylor drilled a double over the left fielder's head, and Jensen scored all the way from first base to tie the score. A groundout by Becker moved Taylor over to third and brought up Fuentes, who smacked a pitch to right field that put Hamilton in front, 2-1.

Lane came back out for the seventh inning and issued a leadoff walk to Mulvihill. The Continentals made an error on John Casten's pinch-hit bunt and Plattsburgh had runners on first and second with no outs. Chris Pescetti laid down a successful sacrifice bunt that moved the runners to second and third, and Mike Vargues' sac bunt drove in pinch runner Jimmy Rosario with the tying run. Lupo's single past a diving Becker at shortstop plated Casten for the walk-off win.