By Paul Casey Gotham
Brian Pullyblank (Southern Illinois) forgot his cleats for Friday night’s New York Collegiate Baseball League game. The right-hander certainly remembered his pitching arsenal.
Pullyblank went the distance and held the Niagara Power without a hit as the Webster Yankees won in a walk-off style, 1-0.
The Caledonia, New York native struck out nine and walked none for his first win of the season.
“You don’t do it all yourself,” said Pullyblank referring to the work of teammates. “Ollie (Webster catcher, Bertrand) called a great game and the defense was great behind me.”
The Webster hurler needed just 104 pitches (69 for strikes) to complete the game.
“My slider was really working; it was nice and tight.”
Pullyblank finished the game striking out three of the last four batters he faced including the final hitter, Jacan Warren (Mississippi College).
“He was just hitting the mitt, running his fast ball in on everyone,” noted Bertrand. “Every righty was just fishing at the plate. It’s pretty easy calling a game when every pitch is in the zone.”
Only Mark Donahue (Chestnut Hill College) and Travis Latz (Abilene Christian University) reached base for the Power. Latz advanced to first when Pullyblank brushed his jersey with a pitch in the seventh.
“Yeah that was probably the only pitch that didn’t have any bite on it tonight,” said Pullyblank.
Pullyblank is 22 months removed from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
As the starter noted, the game wasn’t without defensive gems.
Shawn Bailey (SUNY Cortland) climbed the ladder at short to take away a sure hit on a line drive by Jake Gill (Mid-America Nazarene). In the seventh inning the shortstop turned in another pair of spectacular plays – ranging behind the bag at second and making the throw to first.
Bailey finished the game with two hits in four at bats including a bunt single in the first.
Steve Muoio (Georgia C & S) turned away a pair of Niagara batters trying to reach base by bunt.
With two outs in the second, Andrew Ahrendt (Augustana College) hoped to catch Muoio back at third. Instead Muoio rushed the ball, barehanded it and made the throw to first. Muoio repeated the play on the eighth when Donahue tried reaching with a bunt.
Muoio just missed hitting the first home run at Basket Road Field. In the seventh the Webster native led with a blast to right field that caromed off the top of the fence 320 feet from home.
Despite all that, Muoio’s most important play of the day didn’t show up in the box score. The Monroe CC grad provided his former Tribune teammate with the necessary footwear for the game.
“I accidentally picked up the wrong bag at home and brought my work shoes for the game,” said Pullyblank. “Steve’s cleats were magic tonight.”
Webster’s offense left their best for last.
Geoff Dornes (R.I.T.) slapped a one-out hit in the ninth. Nate Koontz (Ball State) followed one out later with a triple just inside the right field foul line. Dornes scored from first with the winning run.
With the win Webster snaps a three-game losing skid and improves to 7-3. The pinstripes fell at Niagara last night, 6-2 when Anthony Cimabue (Wilmington University) tossed a complete game for the Power. Webster lost a rain-shortened affair at Brockport on Wednesday, 4-3.
Shelby Robertson (Millsaps College) took the tough-luck loss. The native of Madison, Mississippi tossed eight and two-thirds of shutout ball before surrendering the game winner.
The Yanks travel to Allegany County tomorrow for a 7p.m. game.