Winter Haven, FL – Two more bizarre games could not have been scripted to start the Clarkson University Baseball team’s season, and unfortunately the Golden Knights came up short in extra innings in both contests, falling 7-5 in 11 innings and 4-3 in eight innings to Brockport Thursday afternoon at Chain O’ Lakes Park.
The Golden Knights begin their season at 0-2 with the extra-inning defeats, while Brockport improved to 6-1. Clarkson will take on Franklin & Marshall in a doubleheader on Friday, beginning at 10:30 am.
In the opener, starting pitcher Bryan Chudy (Goshen, NY) started strong with an 0-2 count on the first batter, but his control was lost after that and the Clarkson defense didn’t help as Brockport was able to score three runs before Clarkson came to bat. The Clarkson offense tallied a run in the bottom half of the inning when Dan Lenney (Clifton Park, NY) singled home Bobby Derico (Watervliet, NY), and Chudy settled down in the second, whiffing a pair in the frame, while Clarkson opened up a two-run lead with a four-run outburst in the bottom half of the inning. Brockport had a pair of errors that provided some help, but the key blows came from Matt Jenack (Massena, NY), who drove in a run with a single, and Lenney, who plated a pair with a single through the left side.
That was all the offense that either team could muster for several innings, but Brockport scored a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. The two teams tossed up zeroes until the 11th inning when Nick Bunce sent two home with a two-out single to end Clarkson’s longest game since April 9, 2011 (12 innings versus Union College).
Chudy allowed five hits in six innings and struck out five before being relieved by Evan Young (Ghent, NY) and Anthony Padrazo (Setaucket, NY). Padrazo took the loss, but pitched well, going four-plus innings of relief in his first collegiate outing. Jenack finished 2-for-4 for Clarkson, while Lenney was 2-for-5 with three runs batted in. Clarkson’s offense struggled after chasing Brockport starter Travis Renwick, getting just two hits over the final eight innings of the game.
The game was Clarkson’s longest non-league game since April 13, 2005, when the Golden Knights played Brockport for 13 innings in Watertown, NY.
In game two of the doubleheader, Clarkson never trailed in regulation, picking up a run in the top of the third inning on a Nolan Driscoll (Troy, NY) single, sending home Derico who had led off the inning with a walk. The Knights picked up another run in the fourth inning as again the leadoff hitter reached base. Junior Kyle Henchey (Rensselaer, NY) doubled to start the frame and moved up to third on a groundout before scampering home on a Derico sacrifice fly to right field, giving Clarkson a 2-0 edge.
The Golden Eagles scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom half of the fourth, but Clarkson quickly regained its advantage with some clutch hitting as Driscoll laced a two-out triple down the right field line. Following a walk, sophomore catcher Tim Beninati (Schoharie, NY) drove an opposite field single to score Driscoll to give the Knights a 3-2 lead.
Freshman Greg Jasek (Chittenango, NY) was a batter away from earning a complete game victory, but a two-out double by Stephen Boronczyk scored pinch-runner Nick Pilotti from second. In the bottom half of the eighth inning, Jasek was removed in mid-frame for Justin Rebhun (East Greenbush, NY), and the junior was in the midst of pitching out of a jam when he was called for a balk with runners on first and third, allowing the lead runner to trot home with the game-winning run.
Driscoll and David Wixted (Ballston Lake, NY) each went 2-for-4 to lead Clarkson offensively, while Jasek went seven innings, allowed seven hits, and struck out seven while allowing no walks in his first collegiate start. Of his 104 pitches, 73 were for strikes.