CORTLAND, N.Y. – Nationally 10th-ranked Cortland took advantage of eight walks and nine Cazenovia errors as the Red Dragons defeated the visiting Wildcats, 10-2, in a non-league contest.
Cortland (17-6) won its ninth straight game despite being out-hit, 8-6. The game was played in cold and windy conditions that included a brief snow squall midway through the contest.
Cazenovia (4-7) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI singles by Chris Schad and Nick Castrello. Cortland scored four times in the bottom of the third to go up 4-2. Antonio Pragana (Hopewell Junction/John Jay) singled in a run, and the tying run scored on the play after a wild throw to third. Pragana scored on a Colin BeVard (Syracuse/West Genesee) single, and BeVard eventually went to third on an errant pickoff throw and scored on a passed ball.
The Red Dragons added a run in the fourth when Matt Michalski (Buffalo/St. Francis) stole second and Matthew Personius (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) stole home on a first-and-third double steal. Cortland extended its lead to 8-2 in the fifth with three unearned run as a result of walks by Pragana and BeVard, a throwing error on a Justin Teague (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) sac bunt, and another error on a grounder by Patrick Schetter (Beacon).
BeVard reached on an error and eventually scored on an error in the seventh, and Nate Budge (Central Square/Paul V. Moore) singled in a run in the eighth. Only four of the 10 runs allowed by Cazenovia were earned. BeVard finished 1-for-2 with two walks, an RBI and three runs scored and Pragana went 1-for-2 with a walk, RBI and two runs. Paul Dondero(East Islip) was 1-for-1 with a walk and a run and Michalski walked twice and scored once.
Jarrod Bellinger (Watertown), the first of four Cortland relievers, earned the victory with two and two thirds innings of two-hit shutout ball. He struck out five and walked one. Bellinger was the pitcher of record when Cortland took the lead for good in the third. Chris Puzakulics (Vestal) started and allowed two runs on two hits with one walk.
Kyle Naugle (Fayetteville/Jamesville-DeWitt) fanned four batters in three innings of two-hit ball and Matt Valin (Lafargeville) struck out three and gave up one hit over two scoreless frames. Jason Martin (Turin/South Lewis) recorded one strikeout and one walk and gave up one hit in the ninth. Cortland pitchers finished the day with 13 strikeouts and one walk.
Schad finished 3-for-3 with a walk and Dan Freese was 2-for-5 to lead Cazenovia at the plate. Wildcat starter Anthony Kane allowed three runs on two hits and two walks over two and a third innings.
Cortland is scheduled to host Fredonia, weather permitting, in a three-game SUNYAC series Friday (single game at 3 p.m.) and Saturday (noon doubleheader).