Cortland blanks visiting Cazenovia, 8-0

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Nick Di Benedetto (Nanuet) and four relievers combined on a six-hit shutout as nationally second-ranked Cortland defeated visiting Cazenovia, 8-0, in a non-league matchup.

Cortland (19-3) will travel to Brockport for a three-game weekend series Friday and Saturday. The schedule for those games has been changed – the teams will now play twice on Friday, starting at noon, and one game Saturday, also at noon.

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Di Benedetto earned his first win of the season. He allowed four hits and two walks and struck out five in five innings. Jason Martin (Turin/South Lewis), Jesse Winters (South Glens Falls/Saratoga Central Catholic) and Ryan Koval (Cold Spring/Haldane) each tossed a hitless and scoreless inning, and Ryan Smith (Hancock) allowed two hits in the ninth but escaped a jam to preserve the shutout.

Jackson Segnit, the first of six pitchers for Cazenovia (3-8), allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in two innings and dropped to 0-1 with the loss. The Wildcats were within 4-0 before allowing four unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Paul Dondero (East Islip) finished 2-for-2 with two hit-by-pitches, two steals and four runs scored for Cortland. Nick Hart (Fredonia) was 1-for-1 with a walk, sac fly, hit-by-pitch and two RBI, and Fabio Ricci (Hawthrone/Westlake) went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Paul Dondero went 2-for-2 with two hit-by-pitches, three steals and four runs scored. Photo courtesy of Darl Zehr Photography.

Paul Dondero went 2-for-2 with two hit-by-pitches, three steals and four runs scored. Photo courtesy of Darl Zehr Photography.

Cortland scored twice in the first on a Ricci RBI fielder's choice and a Hart sac fly. Ricci also drove in a run with an infield single in the third, and the Red Dragons added a run in the fifth on a Dondero steal of home. With Hart on first and Dondero on third, Hart took off for second. The throw went to the shortstop and Dondero broke for home, and Hart successfully retreated back to first when the shortstop couldn't make a play.

Two errors sandwiched around a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Cortland with no outs in the seventh. Two batters later Hart walked to force in a run. Steven Figueroa (Bronx/St. Raymond's) hit into a fielder's choice to bring home another run, and the last run scored on an RBI single by pinch hitter Seth Lamando (Hopewell Junction/Roy C. Ketcham).

Cazenovia threatened in each of the first two innings but couldn't push across a run. In the first, the Wildcats recorded three hits, but a caught stealing after the first hit hurt the rally and runners were eventually left on first and second. In the second inning, Cazenovia opened with a Dan Colburn single, a Ryan Meyer walk and a Chris Schad sac bunt to put runners on second and third with one out, but Di Benedetto struck out the next two batters.

The Wildcats' final serious scoring chance came in the top of the ninth. Mike Makara singled and Dan Crozier reached on a dropped fly ball to start the inning. Jack Young singled to briefly load the bases, but on the throw home Crozier went too far off second base and was thrown out trying to go back. Smith induced a fly out to shallow left and a groundout to end the game.

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