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Baseball team take two out of three from Towson

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The University at Albany men’s baseball team took their first series of the year after beating Towson over the weekend.

The Great Danes (3-3) used their pitching in the first two games to take the series 15-3 and 2-0, in the series finale Towson (2-7) won on a walk-off single to avoid the sweep.

In the first game of the series the Great Danes poured it on against the Tigers, winning 14-2 in a game that lasted two days. The Great Danes were up 14-2 on Friday before the game was called due to darkness at the beginning of the eighth inning. Play resumed Saturday, and the Great Danes kept their lead and each team added a run, as the Great Danes took the first game, 15-3.

Connor Powers and Travis Collins powered the Great Danes’ offense with five RBIs between the two. Powers went two-for-five with a triple and three RBIs while Collins went three-for-five with two more RBIs. Patrick Lagravinese added two RBIs in a game in which the Great Danes drew 16 walks.

In his second career start, Dominic Savino (1-0) pitched 5.1 innings giving up one run while striking out eight.

A UAlbany big inning came in the top of the fifth when they scored seven runs. Brad Malm worked a leadoff walk and then scored when Powers hit a triple to right. Marc Wangenstein walked before Collins hit a single to right, scoring Powers. Matt Codispoti singled up the middle, scoring Wangenstein from second.

Then with two on and two out, Nick Kondo and Lagravinese worked back-to-back walks, forcing in Collins from third. Malm was hit by a pitch, scoring Codispoti from third.

After a Towson pitching change, Powers hit a two-run single, scoring Kondo and Lagravinese to put Albany up 9-0.

After the game was suspended due to darkness on Friday with the Great Danes leading 14-2, play resumed Saturday afternoon with each team adding a run, resulting in the final score of 15-3.

Later on the Saturday, the Great Danes won the second game of the series thanks to a brilliant outing by Brandon Smith. Smith pitched six innings of scoreless ball with nine strikeouts, while giving up only four hits.

Hunter Torres (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning in relief to pick up the win. J.T. Genovese pitched two more scoreless innings, striking out four and picking up the save, his first of the year.

The game remained scoreless until the top of seventh inning. Josh Gurnack worked a leadoff walk before Nick Kondo was hit by a pitch. Patrick Lagravinese walked to load the bases and then Gurnack scored on a wild pitch to go up 1-0.

The Great Danes scored once more in the top of the eighth. With one out, Ryan Hernandez doubled down the left field line, and advanced to third when Gurnack struck out but reached safely on a wild pitch. Kondo was hit by another pitch to load the bases, and next Lagravinese reached safely on a fielder’s choice scoring Hernandez to put the Great Danes up 2-0.

“Today’s two wins were a good step for this club,” UAlbany head coach Jon Muller said after the first two games. “We were able to win the series today and look to continue on building momentum going forward.”

In the series finale, Towson got out to the early 1-0 lead before the Great Danes stormed back with four in the second. The Great Danes added one in the fourth and one in the sixth to go up 6-1. Towson scored four in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to one and one in the seventh to tie the game at six.

UAlbany took back the lead in the top of the eighth. Ryan Hernandez hit a leadoff single through the left side and advanced to second on an Alex Thul sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Nick Kondo hit a single up middle, scoring Hernandez and putting the Great Danes up 7-6.

Towson scored a run in the eight and then walked it off with a run bottom of the ninth.

“Overall happy with the series win for the weekend. We had a chance to finish it off today but we gave up too many free passes and had two errors,” Coach Muller said after the loss. “The younger guys will gain experience through good and tough times for down the road. Clayton gave us a good chance today.”

John Clayton pitched five innings of one run ball scattering five hits and striking out one. Lagravinese (0-1) went 2-4 on the day with an RBI, pitching 0.2 innings in the ninth picking up the loss. Travis Collins also went two for four on the day with a run scored.

Up next, UAlbany will head to the West Coast for a three-day, four-game series at Seattle University starting on Friday, March 9.

Elijah Casper is a sports reporter for the Albany Student Press and co-anchor on ATV 360.

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