Fisher headed to championship after staving off elimination

Courtesy of athletics.SJFC.edu

ITHACA, N.Y. – For the fourth consecutive season, the St. John Fisher College baseball team will battle Ithaca College for the Empire 8 Championship as the Cardinals advanced in the double-elimination tournament following a 4-3 win over Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoy Field on Cornell University’s campus.  With the split on Friday, the Cardinals moved to 29-13 on the season.

ITHACA 4, FISHER 0

Both starting pitchers were dealing through the first three innings of work as neither team was able to push a run across the plate until the top of the fourth when the Bombers took a one-run lead courtesy of a two-out double that split the outfielders.

In the home half of the fourth, Fisher put the first two hitters on as Antony Mantova and Ryan Simmons (Victor) singled.  From there, the Cardinals moved the runners over a base with a sacrifice bunt, but the Bombers would get the next two hitters to ground out to the pitcher to maintain the 1-0 edge.

The Bombers struck again in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs after Ithaca came through with a two-run double to center before RJ Kuruts could retire the side facing a 3-0 hole.

Sophomore Tim Geissel was called upon to pitch the top of the sixth as the lefty got the first two hitters to fly out to left before nabbing a grounder and throwing over to first to set the side down in order.  In the home half of the inning, Simmons and Michael Beimel smacked back-to-back hits with two away, but the Bombers were able to work in and out of trouble as the frame turned over.

In the ninth inning, Ithaca tacked on a run with a two-out single and would keep the Cardinals at bay in the bottom of the frame to advance to Saturday’s final.

Kuruts started on the hill for Fisher and went five innings where he allowed three runs on just four runs with a pair of strikeouts.  Geissel tossed the final four innings and allowed one run on two hits in relief.

The Cardinals outhit the Bombers in the loss and finished with nine hits.  Justin Graham (Webster Schroeder) had two hits on the day including a double while Simmons finished 2-for-4.  Beimel, Ryan Brown (Brighton), Mantova, Jake Hewitt and Allen Murphy had one hit each.

FISHER 4, STEVENS 3

Matthew Raudelunas shut the Ducks down for the first three innings of the game, however, Stevens was able to get on the board with three runs in the top of the fourth after coming up with two hits including a two-run double to right center.

Trailing by three runs, the Cardinals’ bats finally came to life as Fisher stormed back to take a 4-3 lead courtesy of four hits.  Thomas Pasquale singled to right and moved to second when Murphy was hit by a pitch.  With two on and one away, Simmons loaded the bases with a single to left before Beimel plated the team’s first run of the day with a sacrifice fly to left to make it 3-1. From there, Brown worked a walk before Hewitt stepped in and mashed a two-run double to left to tie the game up.  As the inning continued, Graham pushed the go-ahead run across the plate with a single to center to give Fisher the one-run edge.

Freshman Brandon Roberts (3-0) entered the game in the top of the fifth and proceeded to shut the Ducks down as the reliever allowed just three hits over five innings to propel the Cardinals into tomorrow’s championship round.

Graham was 2-for-4 in the nightcap with an RBI while Pasquale had two hits in four at-bats and tied Nick Flemister’s single season mark with his 21st double on the year.  Hewitt was 2-for-3 out of the nine hole with two RBI to his credit.

The Cardinals will return to action at 11 a.m. on Saturday when they play Ithaca in a must-win game at Freeman Field.

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