WINTERHAVEN FL. – The SUNYIT Men's baseball team traveled to Central Florida for their 10 game spring trip. The team opened up the trip with a double header against the Fitchburg State Falcons. The Wildcats split the series. They lost the first game 10-4 and won the second 7-3.
Wildcat starting pitcher Jeff Albright (New York Mills, N.Y. / New York Mills H.S.) got the call in game one of the double header. Despite struggling a bit early, Albright settled in and put together a good stretch of innings. He ended up going 5 full innings before getting pulled in the 6th after giving up a double to the Fitchburg leadoff man Jeff Boice.
The Wildcat offense had a hard time getting going on their first day outside of the gym. The first hit of the year for SUNYIT came off the bat of sophomore Joseph O'Rourke (Camden, N.Y. / Camden H.S.) who hit a hard line drive single to right field in his first at bat. O'Rourke, who was celebrating his birthday on Saturday went 1-2 with 2 walks and made a handful of impressive plays in left field. Despite losing the game, the Wildcats didn't go down without a fight as they put up 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to try and make a run at the lead.
Game two started out on the right foot for the wildcats. They struck early and put up a quick 4 runs in the top of the first with some good, timely hitting. Jhomel Solano (Bronx, N.Y. / Cristo Rey H.S.) started the 1st inning rally with a one out single. He then stole second base and scored on a single by Joe O'Rourke. Anthony Ragosta (Troy, N.Y. / Troy H.S.) then singled to advance O'Rourke to third. Connor Passalacqua (Whitesboro, N.Y. / Whitesboro H.S.) scored O'Rourke on a single, and then Phillip Mascitelli (Schenectady, N.Y. / Schalmont H.S.) ripped a double into the left-center field gap to score both Ragosta and Passalaqua.
The four runs that the Wildcats pushed across in the first were all that Joseph Szepessy (Athens, N.Y. / Coxsackie-Athens H.S.) needed. Szepessy had what was arguably his best pitching performance as a Wildcat. The six foot senior held the Falcons in check all game. Szepessy threw the complete 7 innings and did a great job of attacking the strike zone and keeping the hitters off balance. Joe allowed 3 earned runs in the first 3 innings before settling into a grove and shutting the Fitchburg offense down over the final 4 innings of the game to secure the first win of the season.
The Wildcats (1-1) will continue their spring trip on Monday with a double-header against the Wentworth Institute of Technology Leopards. Game 1 is scheduled for a 3:00 pm start time with game 2 to follow at 5:30.