Cortland Loses Tight Games at W&L and #17 Roanoke in Two-City Twinbill

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LEXINGTON, VA. and SALEM, VA. - Playing two games in two Virginia cities, the nationally top-ranked Cortland baseball team suffered a pair of close losses with a 7-6 setback at Washington and Lee University in the afternoon and a 3-1 loss to 17th-ranked Roanoke College in the evening.

Cortland (2-2) is scheduled, weather permitting, to play a doubleheader at Washington and Lee Saturday at 11 a.m.

Washington & Lee 7, Cortland 6

Cortland trailed the Generals 6-0 after two innings and 7-1 after six frames before a late rally fell just short. The Red Dragons scored a run in the seventh on a Matthew Personius (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) RBI double and twice in the eighth on Justin Teague's (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) line drive sac fly and Matt Michalski's (Buffalo/St. Francis) RBI single.

Down 7-4 entering the ninth, Cortland loaded the bases with no outs on singles from Personius and Paul Dondero (East Islip) and a Colin BeVard (Syracuse/West Genesee) hit-by-pitch. Danny Devereux, who pitched the final four innings for the save, got the next batter to hit back to him for a 1-2-3 double play, but Patrick Schetter (Beacon) followed with a double to right to drive home two and put the tying run on second. A groundout to short, however, ended the game.

The Generals (5-3) took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Jason Volpicelli leadoff double and a Chadwick Feeley one-out RBI single. The lead grew to 6-0 after a five-run second that included an RBI double by Bryce Burnette, a Volpicelli two-run single, an error on a fielder's choice that allowed a run to score, and a Zach Loewenberg run-scoring double.

Cortland got on the board in the third. Personius singled with one out and stole second, with an error allowing him to take third. He scored on an error on a ball hit by BeVard. The game stayed at 6-1 until W&L scored in the bottom of the sixth on a Ryan Monson RBI single.

Peyton McCann started for the Generals and earned the win after allowing only three hits and one unearned run over five innings. He fanned four and walked none. Volpicelli finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs, Monson was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, and Matt Whitely was 2-for-4.

Personius finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run, Dondero ended 2-for-4, and Schetter was 2-for-5 with two RBI for the Red Dragons. Jake Casey (Homer) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in one-plus innings of work. Cortland received strong relief efforts from Jarrod Bellinger (Watertown) and Sal Zafonte (Sayville). Bellinger gave up just one hit and two walks and struck out two in two and a third scoreless innings. Zafonte pitched the final four innings after entering with a runner on first in the fifth and gave up one run on four hits with no walks and one strikeout.

Roanoke 3, Cortland 1

Following the loss at W&L, the Red Dragons traveled about 50 miles south from Lexington to Salem to face the Maroons, who tied for third at last year's Division III World Series. The game was played at Kiwanis Field in Salem - the site of Cortland's first of 14 World Series appearances in 1995.

All of the scoring occurred in the first two innings. Cortland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when BeVard walked, went to third on a Personius single and scored on a Schetter fielder's choice grounder.

Roanoke (3-1) plated three unearned runs in the bottom of the second. Cale Agee walked and moved to second on a one-out Gavin Kandrick single. A fielding error allowed a run to score, followed by another error that loaded the bases. With two outs, Sam Watson singled to right to drive home two and break the tie. Watson finished 1-for-2 with two walks.

Cortland's bullpen held Roanoke hitless over the final six and a third innings. Chris Puzakulics (Vestal) walked two and struck out four in two and two thirds innings, and Isiah Hudson (Hyde Park/FDR) fanned five batters and walked two over the final three and two thirds.

Cortland threatened a few times over the final five innings. In the fifth, the Red Dragons loaded the bases with one out, but Roanoke starter Matthew Franklin got the next hitter to pop up, and reliever Cameron Eck struck out the next batter to escape the jam. Eck was awarded the win since Franklin was pulled before completing five innings. Eck struck out one and walked one in two and two thirds hitless innings.

In the seventh, Joe Tardif (Cutchogue/Mattituck) drew a two-out walk. BeVard hit a deep fly down the right field line that looked like it might be a game-tying homer, but Sean Guida made a catch at the fence to rob BeVard and preserve the Roanoke lead.

Cortland mounted a final rally in the top of the ninth. Pinch hitters Garrett Heaton (East Patchogue/Bellport) and Teague opened the inning with a walk and an infield single, respectively. Michalski's sacrifice put runners on second and third. Sal Trancucci, who relieved Eck with one out in the eighth, registered a strikeout for the second out. BeVard drew a walk to load the bases, but a grounder resulted in a force at second to end the game for Trancucci's first save of the season.

Christian Dufresne (Cocoa, FL/Space Coast) started for Cortland and suffered the loss after allowing three unearned runs on three hits and three walks. He fanned three batters.