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Baseball splits four with NJIT

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By Carl Straut-Collard

Staff Writer 

[email protected]

April 14, 2015

Catcher Craig Lepre had an RBI double on Saturday.  Photo by UAlbany Athletics.
Catcher Craig Lepre had an RBI double on Saturday. Photo by UAlbany Athletics.


   Pitching has not been a concern for the University at Albany baseball team thus far into the season, but Saturday’s doubleheader against the non-conference New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders was different for the Great Danes.

   UAlbany saw pitchers Stephen Woods and Joe Romero get chased from the mound against a formidable Highlanders team (15-11-1) that outscored the Danes 14-5 through two games at Varsity Field.

   “We’ve been better than this all year, but when you go up against a non-conference opponent like this one, you have got to come prepared,” said Mueller after Saturday’s losses. “I don’t think we pitched extremely well, which has been one of our strongest points all year. [The Highlanders] all showed up with their A games and we did not. We showed up with our C games.”

   The Great Danes were defeated 5-2 in the opening game of Saturday’s windy doubleheader against NJIT after starting pitcher Stephen Woods surrendered five runs, three of which were earned, on four hits and five walks over 2.1 innings.

   The Highlanders began the scoring in the first inning after Danes catcher Craig Lepre missed a breaking ball from Woods, allowing Jesse Uttendorfer to score the day’s first run. Bryan Haberstroh then followed with an RBI double that put NJIT up 2-0 early.

   UAlbany responded with a run in the bottom half of the first when leadoff man Will Miller led off with a single and stole second base, allowing Matt Hinchy to drive him in on a hit two batters later.

   But the run production continued for the Highlanders who scored a run in the second inning and two more in the third to put them up 5-1.

   Sam DeCelle came into relieve Woods and finished the remainder of the game by holding NJIT to one run over the final four innings. Just like Woods though, DeCelle struggled with his pitch command and walked at least four batters.

   Offensively, the Danes failed to take advantage of runners on base in the first game by stranding an even dozen.

   Game two of the doubleheader was even bleaker for UAlbany.

   NJIT found a surge of run productivity and got a complete game performance from starter Ian Bentley, who continued his dominant presence on the mound this season after throwing 111 pitches and allowing three earned runs, striking out six, and walking one to win 9-3.

   NJIT batters drove in six earned runs on UAlbany starter Joe Romero, who was appearing in second start of the season.

   Romero allowed a three-run home run to shortstop Bryan Haberstroh and a two-run home run to center fielder Ed Charlton, giving the Highlanders a 6-0 lead in the fourth that they would never surrender.

  UAlbany scored a run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but it was too late.

   NJIT hitters went 4 for 13 against the Danes bullpen and scored three additional runs to make it 9-3 after catcher Stephan Halibej hit a two-run single into right field off of Joey Moore in the sixth inning.

   Great Dane relievers Andrew Jarigue, Joey Moore, and Daniel Castro combined for three innings of relief work following Romero’s departure in the fourth inning.

   Ed Charlton and Halibej led both teams with three hits and two runs batted in a piece. UAlbany catcher Craig Lepre went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

   “A lot of it had to do with what [NJIT] did, not what we didn’t do necessarily,” said coach Mueller. “They attacked us out there today. We had chances for some big innings, but we didn’t cash in and we’ve struggled with that lately.”

   Mueller said that continued success in pitching means attacking the zone more.

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