Cortland baseball opens NCAA play with win over Castleton

AUBURN, N.Y. – Cortland scored six runs on 10 hits over the first two innings and the nationally top-ranked Red Dragons defeated Castleton University, 14-4, to open play at the NCAA Div. III Baseball New York Regional.

Cortland (38-5) will face either Frostburg State or Susquehanna University on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., while Castleton (32-11) will play an elimination game Friday at 11 a.m. against either Ramapo or Union.

Tanner Whiteman (Cazenovia) improved to 8-0 after scattering eight hits over seven and a third innings. He struck out eight and walked two and allowed four runs, three earned. Kashaun Curry (Middletown) tossed a hitless and scoreless inning with two strikeouts and Adam Brant (Hyde Park/Our Lady of Lourdes) didn’t allow a run over the last two thirds of an inning with one hit and one walk.

Steven Figueroa (Bronx/St. Raymond’s) led Cortland’s 17-hit attack by going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Austin Clock (Niskayuna) homered and finished 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Paul Dondero (East Islip)was 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and two runs and Fabio Ricci (Hawthorne/Westlake) was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs. Patrick Schetter (Beacon) entered mid-game as a pinch hitter and was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI.

Sam Spencer started for Castleton and dropped to 7-3 with the loss. He allowed 12 hits and eight runs, six earned, in five innings with three strikeouts and one walk. Taylor Vile was 2-for-4 with a walk and Mitchell Caron went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Cortland strung together six straight hits to score four times in the bottom of the first. Figueroa doubled with one out and scored on a Ricci single down the right field line. Clock followed with a two-run blast over the fence in right. Conrad Ziemendorf (Penfield/Webster Schroeder) doubled and scored on a Dondero single through the right side. Matt Personius (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) finished the hit streak with a single, but Cortland eventually left runners on second and third.

The Red Dragons notched two more runs in the second. Nick Hart (Fredonia) led off with a bunt single and scored on Figueroa’s double to the left center gap. Ricci singled to put runners on first and third, and Figueroa scored two batters later on a Ziemendorf groundout.

The Spartans got three runs back in the third on a Dan Errico sac fly, a Jim Buckley RBI double and a Caron RBI groundout. Cortland shortstop Dondero made a nice play up the middle on the Caron grounder to prevent it from being a hit. The Spartans closed to within 6-4 in the fifth when Nick Swim led off with a single and eventually scored on an error.

Cortland scored the game’s final eight runs. Figueroa singled in two runs in the fifth to put the Red Dragons up 8-4. A Connor Griffin (Cortland) RBI single, a Justin Teague (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) sac fly to the second baseman in shallow right field, and a wild pitch accounted for Cortland’s three runs in the sixth, and the Red Dragons added three in the seventh on Ziemendorf’s sac fly and Schetter’s two-run double.