Knights baseball splits with Red Dragons on Opening Day
Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 9:32 am

Auburndale, FL – Two solid starting pitching performances highlighted opening day for the Clarkson University Baseball team, and the Golden Knights came away with a split of a doubleheader against SUNYAC foe Oneonta, dropping the opener 2-0 before rallying in the nightcap 13-5 at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.

The Golden Knights saw their season open at 1-1 with the split, while the Red Dragons moved to 2-5 overall. Clarkson will take on the SUNYAC's other Red Dragons, Cortland State, in a nine-inning game on Saturday.

Senior Pete Roma (Endicott, NY) and Steve Ascher locked up in the first game in an impressive pitching duel with different styles being displayed. Roma worked off his fastball to set up off-speed pitches to get weak flyouts and a few strikeouts. Oneonta picked up five hits off the senior righty in his six innings of work and had small rallies in the fifth and in the sixth. In the sixth inning Dylan Stamile led off with a double, but was stranded following a groundout and a pop up. Ascher worked low in the zone with his fastball and a slider that had the Knights fooled, as he struck out 13 hitters in the first six innings with eight looking. Clarkson threatened in the first inning when David Wixted (Ballston Lake, NY) led off with a walk and stole second, but he was stranded after a strikeout to end the inning. In the second, Jarrod Mattingly (Philadelphia, NY) singled and stole second, but he, too, didn't advance any farther.

Those two rallies were as far as Clarkson would get offensively. Oneonta wouldn't do much better, and the Red Dragons were held scoreless until the eighth inning. Stamile hit a double that just stayed inside the right-field line and advanced to third on a one-out grounder to shortstop. With two outs, Jon Halligan tripled to the left-center wall to plate Stamile, and he later came home on a single up the middle from Casy Kies. That was all Ascher would need, as he earned his 15th strikeout to start the frame and then finished off the frame with a double play.

In game two, the Knights discovered some good fortune with contact in the first inning and scored six times on five hits. Wixted and John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) each recorded infield singles on the right side and Dan Lenney (Clifton Park, NY) then tripled the duo home with a sinking liner to right-center that eluded a diving outfielder. Lenney scampered home on a sacrifice fly from Greg Jasek (Chittenango, NY), giving Clarkson a 3-0 lead. The Knights then reignited the offense with a walk, a single, and a hit by pitch to load the bases and Tim Beninati (Schoharie, NY) blooped a single to plate the fourth run. Bobby Derico (Watervliet, NY) gained an RBI on a groundout and an overthrow allowed another run to score.

Oneonta picked up a run in the bottom half of the second on a two-out double and the Red Dragons pushed two more across in the third. However, Jarrod Mattingly was able to make three plays in the inning off the mount to end the threat, including tagging out a runner near the plate with two down in the inning.

The offenses would be quiet until the top of the sixth when Clarkson picked up seven runs. The inning would start with a single from Beninati and then Derico reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt from Wixted, John Coleman delivered a two-run single. Jasek then plated Coleman and a bases loaded walk allowed another run to score. Beninati finished off the inning with a single that scored two runs, and by staying in a run down he allowed another to score to make the score 13-3. The Red Dragons did pick up a pair of runs in the bottom half of the sixth to cut the lead, but Clarkson stopped the modest rally to hold on for the win.