Cortland defeats Oswego on two-run walkoff home run

Colin BeVard connects on the game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning (Darl Zehr Photography)

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Freshman Colin BeVard (Syracuse/West Genesee) hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift nationally fifth-ranked Cortland past 14th-ranked Oswego, 5-3, in a SUNYAC contest at Wallace Field.

Cortland improved to 29-7 overall and finished its SUNYAC regular-season schedule with a 14-4 league mark. Oswego is 23-8 overall and leads the league with a 12-3 record. For Cortland to earn the top seed in the league and host the conference tournament, Oswego needs to lose two of its final three league games next weekend versus Oneonta, and Brockport (10-4 SUNYAC) has to lose one its final four conference games.

Pinch hitter Sean Getman (Oneonta) led off the bottom of the 11th with a double and pinch runner Nick Shepheard (Wappingers Falls/Roy C. Ketcham) moved to third on anPatrick Schetter (Beacon) sac bunt. Shepheard, however, was thrown out at home trying to score on a potential passed ball for the second out. Nate Budge (Central Square/Paul V. Moore) followed by reaching on an error, and BeVard hit an 0-1 pitch over the fence in left center for his first collegiate homer.

Cortland led 2-1 entering the top of the ninth, but Oswego rallied for two runs to take the lead. John Barnes led off with an infield single and Mike Dellicarri hit a double to left. After the Red Dragons intentionally walked Eli Holton to load the bases, pinch hitter Zach Kollar hit a sac fly to right to score the tying run. Dellicarri was able to tag and go to third on the flyout, and he scored the go-ahead run on an Alex Brown sac fly to left.

The Red Dragons answered with a run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Matthew Personius (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) led off with a double inside the left field line. Ralph Nuzzi (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) entered as a pinch runner and went to third on a wild pickoff throw, and he scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 3-3.

The two starting pitchers - Cortland's Patrick Merryweather (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) and Oswego's Robert Donnelly - each received no-decisions despite solid outings. Merryweather allowed nine hits and three runs over eight innings with seven strikeouts and two walks, while Donnelly gave up nine hits and three runs, two earned, with one walk and three strikeouts in nine innings.

Michael DeCarlo (Wynantskill/Troy) earned the win with three innings of hitless relief. He fanned one batter. DeCarlo entered in the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs and allowed the two sacrifice flyouts. A runner was caught stealing to end the inning, and DeCarlo retired the side in order in the 10th and 11th innings. Matt Zakala took the loss as the first batter he faced, Budge, reached on the error prior to BeVard's homer.

Oswego broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth. Kyle Dinges bunted for a single with one out, Zach Whelan walked, and Kyle Simmons reached on an infield single to load the bases. Eric Hamilton hit an pop up that fell in untouched just at the edge of the infield to the left of first base to drive in a run. Merryweather avoided further damage by getting the next hitter to ground into a double play.

Cortland plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Steven Figueroa (Bronx/St. Raymond's) singled with one out and Justin Teague (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and Jack Massa (Shoreham/Shoreham-Wading River) lined a single up the middle to drive home both runners.

Figueroa and Personius each finished 2-for-4 and BeVard was 2-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. For Oswego, Dinges went 2-for-4 and Hamilton was 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Cortland will host Ithaca in a non-league game Thursday at 4 p.m., followed by a newly-added home doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. against Skidmore. The Red Dragons close the regular season at home Sunday at 2 p.m. versus SUNY Canton.