Bobby DiNuzzo (Iona) bounced from the mound, pumped his fist, and expressed his satisfaction. He had just blown a heater past Landis Wilson (Pitt Community College), and the Webster Yankees went on to beat the Niagara Power 5-2.
Dinuzzo pitched eight strong innings allowing two runs (one unearned) on six hits and one walk. He faced the minimum number of batters in five of his eight innings pitched.
“It’s easy when he’s throwing first-pitch strikes,” said catcher, Adam Perlo(MCC). “He had his curve working and using his slider for his out pitch.”
DiNuzzo had his full arsenal working but make no mistake he retired Wilson and Trey Karlen (Texas A&M-Kingsville) with his hammer.
With runners on first and second and two runs in, the right-hander from Stony Point, New York fanned the last two batters of the inning swinging.
“I got a little cushion, and that allowed me to relax and challenge batters,” said DiNuzzo.
The cushion was a five run lead supplied by the Webster bats. Shawn Bailey (Mesa St.) hit a ground rule, one-out double in the first. An out later Joe McIntyre (North Carolina A&T) brought him home with a single. Bailey’s hit extended his streak to eight games.
The RBI was McIntyre’s eighteenth of the season.
Nelson Santos (North Carolina A&T) added to the count with a leadoff homer in the fourth. Santos’ bomb cleared the 375ft. sign in left-center-field.
The two run lead held until the seventh when Rob Lawler (Pitt) and Perlo hit back-to back singles. Dan Bertolini (Mercyhurst) dropped a bunt to the third-base side of the mound, and the hustlin’ Bertolini forced Power starting pitcher, Drew Hollinghead (Mississippi St. University) to rush the play. Hollinghead bobbled the ball on the pick up, and all hands were safe on deck.
Lawler scored on Ryan Sullivan’s (Hilton/U of R) sacrifice fly to deep right field, and Perlo advanced to third on the throw. Sullivan has knocked in runs in each of the last three games.
Then the Yankees took advantage of some mistakes by the Power. With Perlo at third the speedy Bertolini took off from first and Wilson, the Niagara catcher, made an ill-advised throw to second. The ball was bobbled by shortstop, Alec Cabello, and Perlo scored the second run of the inning.
After Mark Stuckless (MCC) walked, Bertolini stole third and advanced home when the throw went down the left field line.
Niagara managed to score two runs in the eighth. Seve Alvarez (South Carolina) led off with a single. Alvarez advanced to second on a balk and scored on Ryan Jacobi’s (Texas Wesleyan) double. Clayton Snodgrass (Texas Tech) walked, and Cabello drove home Jacobi with a single up the middle. DiNuzzo, showing some frustration for missing the ball up the middle, vented his anger by fanning the last two batters of the stanza.
DiNuzzo had five put outs for the game. “Bobby played like a cat out there,” commented Coach Mike Kelly.
Adam Curynski (So. Illinois) worked the ninth for the save. ‘Bomber’ struck out the last two batters of the game.
Niagara won the previous three meetings between the teams by an average score of 16 to 7. Mistakes doomed Webster in those earlier contests. On June 8th Niagara scored eight unearned runs in the third inning. On June 17 Yankee pitchers issued six walks and hit seven batters. This past Sunday Webster hurlers hit four batters, walked six, and the Yankee defense committed four errors in the loss.
But not tonight. DiNuzzo limited his walks to two. His one hit batsman was retired when Perlo threw a strike to second on a stolen-base attempt, and the infield turned an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
Webster looks to continue their winning ways when they host the Hornell Dodgers on Saturday. Gene Offerman gets the ball. First pitch is set for 1pm at Dugan Yard.