Featured photo by Michael Clock.
SALISBURY, M.D. – Cortland 17th-year head baseball coach Joe Brown earned his 600th career victory as the nationally top-ranked Red Dragons overcame a 7-0 deficit after one inning to defeat fourth-ranked Salisbury, 27-13. The win completed a season-opening weekend sweep of the Sea Gulls.
Brown now has an overall record of 600-156-3, and his .792 winning percentage ranks first among all active NCAA coaches at any level (Division I, II or III), and third-best among Division III coaches all-time, with at least 10 years as a head coach.
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Cortland's 27 runs are its highest single-game total since scoring 28 runs versus Hamilton in the 2010 season. Cortland's offense finished the game with 24 hits, including four home runs, and eight walks. Connor Griffin (Cortland) went 4-for-6 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored and Fabio Ricci (Hawthorne/Westlake) was 3-for-4 with a double, walk, RBI and two runs. Conrad Ziemendorf (Penfield/Webster Schroeder) was 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and three runs and Paul Dondero (East Islip) was 2-for-4 with an inside-the-park homer, walk, three RBI and three runs scored.
Also for the Red Dragons, Austin Clock (Niskayuna) and Connor Manderson (New Hartford) each homered. Clock finished 2-for-5 with four RBI and two runs and Manderson was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs. Keith Andrews (East Northport/Commack) also enjoyed a multiple-hit day and ended 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs. Pete Grasso finished 3-for-4 with a double, two walks, three RBI and two runs scored for Salisbury (0-2). Alex Lipman went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Jack Barry was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Each team used eight pitchers in the game. The two pitching staffs combined to allow 37 hits and 17 walks. Cortland pitchers also struggled with six wild pitches and seven hit batsmen. The game took four hours to complete. Tanner Whiteman (Cazenovia) earned the win as Cortland's third reliever. He pitched a hitless and scoreless bottom of the third, and he was the pitcher of record when the Red Dragons scored seven runs in the top of the fourth to take an 11-8 lead. Cortland pitching recorded a combined 10 strikeouts, including four by Turner Parry (Syracuse/West Genesee) over the final two innings. Ryan Daiss, Salisbury's second reliever, was charged with the runs that put Cortland ahead for good and took the loss. The Sea Gulls' first seven pitchers each allowed two or more runs.
Salisbury's seven-run first included three hits, two walks, two hit batters, four wild pitches and a passed ball. The big hits in the inning were two-run singles by Lipman and Barry. Cortland scored four in the second on a Manderson RBI single and Dondero's three-run inside-the-park homer to center. Salisbury put up a run in the third on a Lipman RBI single, but Cortland exploded for seven runs in the fourth. Manderson homered to lead off the inning. Ziemendorf later singled in a run, followed by a Michalski game-tying two-run single, and Clock's three-run homer put Cortland up 11-8.
Salisbury scored a run in the fifth but left runners on first and third. In the sixth, Ziemendorf's solo homer and Griffin's RBI double gave the Red Dragons a 13-9 lead, and a four-run seventh was highlighted by Ricci's RBI double. Cortland added two in the eighth and sent 13 batters to the plate in an eight-run ninth. Salisbury closed its scoring with three in the eighth and one in the ninth.
Cortland will travel to Fayetteville, N.C., next weekend for the Methodist College Invitational. The Red Dragons will face 24th-ranked Marietta College and 23rd-ranked Methodist on Friday at 1 and 4 p.m., respectively, and will face Neumann University and Lynchburg College on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
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