SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The Clarkson University Baseball teamed earned a berth in the Liberty League playoffs with a pair of shutouts on the final day of the season. Clarkson beat Skidmore 8-0 in game one and 11-0 in game two.
The Golden Knights end the regular season with a record of 19-11, and stand at 14-7 in Liberty League play. Skidmore finishes with and overall record of 10-25 and 3-19 in conference. The Knights will play in the conference tournament next weekend, hosted by top-seeded Union College. Clarkson's 14-7 record in conference is just a quarter game out of first place (Union finished 14-6-1) and only a half game ahead of fourth-place Vassar (13-7) in a very tight Liberty League playoff race.
Clarkson shut out Skidmore in all four games this weekend, allowing no runs over 28 innings. The Knights pitching staff has been impressive over the last three weeks, posting an earned run average of 1.14 over the last 15 games, with the opposition hitting just .196. The starting pitchers have been even better overall, with a 1.01 ERA in 105 innings since April 12th. Clarkson's pitching staff hasn't allowed a run in 34.2 innings.
The Green and Gold jumped out to an early lead in game one, as senior David Wixted (Ballston Lake, NY) led off the game with a home run to left field. Sophomore Greg Jasek (Chittenango, NY) would rip a one-out single, followed by a walk to freshman Chris Miller (Ballston Lake, NY). An RBI single from senior Dan Lenney (Clifton Park, NY) put runners on the corners, and junior Matt Jenack (Massena, NY) cleared the bags with a three-run homer to left. Clarkson would score five times in the inning, and that would be more than enough for senior Jarrod Mattingly (Philadelphia, NY). The right-hander was in control from the start, throwing a complete game shutout and allowing only four hits while striking out four over seven innings. Only two runners reached second base for the Thoroughbreds as the Knights shut out Skidmore for the third straight contest. The Knights pounded out 11 hits, including a pair from sophomore Anthony Padrazo (Setaucket, NY). The second baseman led off the fourth inning with a double, ripped an RBI single in the fifth, and knocked another run in with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Clarkson would strike first in game two, as a two-out double by Jasek followed by an RBI single up the middle from freshman Dom Pirro (Liverpool, NY) gave the Knights a 1-0 lead. They would tack on two more runs in the top of the second inning when freshman Paul Ludden (Cicero, NY) hit a two-out single up the middle. He would advance to third on a passed ball and a steal, and after junior Bobby Derico (Watervilet, NY) walked, Wixted ripped a single to left to score Ludden. Junior John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) would add an RBI single of his own to put Clarkson ahead 3-0.
Freshman Eddie Miller (Lake Grove, NY) got the start in game four and had to work out of multiple jams in the second and fifth innings. With the bases load after a single and two walks in the second inning, Miller forced a pop up to shallow left and Coleman went back and made a great catch to keep the shutout alive. A pair of singles in the fifth inning gave the Thoroughbreds two runners with only one away, but Miller got the next two batters to fly out to end the inning. In all he allowed four hits on the afternoon in six innings and struck out four to pick up the victory.
Clarkson would keep chipping away, adding another run in the third and a pair in the fifth. The Knights would put the game out of reach in the seventh inning when they added three more runs, including a two-run homer off the bat of Wixted for his second of the day. Pirro would add a two-run home run in the eighth inning to stretch the lead to 11-0. Sophomore Ian Castle (East Greenbush, NY), freshman Chadd Morin (Unionville, CT), and sophomore Jamie Terry (Auburn, NY) each came in from the bullpen to pitch a scoreless inning to preserve the shutout.