New Paltz Baseball Enjoys 4-3 Win Over Vassar in Righter’s Return

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – Both junior Chris Moran (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham Wading River) and sophomore Justin Ganca (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore John F. Kennedy) blasted home runs to lift the baseball team at the State University of New York at New Paltz past visiting Vassar 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon.

The game was also headlined by the return of Vassar's first-year head coach Matt Righter, who led the Hawks from 2014-16.

With the win, the Hawks improve to 16-14 and will head to Brockport this weekend for the regular season SUNYAC series finale with a chance to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2013. The Brewers, meanwhile, fall to 13-15 and will play Bard this weekend in a four-game set.

After falling behind 2-0 after the top of the first, Moran lifted a two-out, 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for his fourth long ball of the year to get the Hawks within one, 2-1. Entering this season, Moran had zero career home runs and now has four in 2017.

With two outs in the bottom of the second, the Hawks gained the lead when junior Anthony Pantano (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale) scored on a throwing error by Vassar's shortstop and junior Dwayne Page (Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Connetquot) knocked in an RBI single through the left side, scoring sophomore Ryan Frost (Beacon, N.Y./Beacon) to give New Paltz a 3-2 edge.

In the top of the third, the Brewers knotted the game up at 3-3 on a sacrifice fly to center. But in the bottom of the frame, Ganca hit another two-out home run, this time on an 0-1 pitch to right center to give New Paltz a 4-3 cushion. For Ganca, it was his third round tripper of the spring.

Following multiple pitching and position changes for both teams, the Brewers threatened in the top of the eighth. Vassar had a runner on second with one out and a fly ball was caught in center for the second out.

However, the baserunner left second early on the tag-up and the controversial play stood, giving the Hawks the double play and ending the inning.

Entering the bottom of the ninth, New Paltz allowed a four-pitch leadoff walk and junior Kyle Eckert (New Paltz, N.Y./New Paltz) appeared out of the pen and earned his first save of the season, forcing a 5-4-3 double play and striking out the final batter.

Overall, New Paltz had six hits as Ganca led the way with a 2-for-4 outing.

This contest featured 13 combined pitching changes as freshman lefty James Magnuson (Northport, N.Y./Northport) earned the victory.