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Baseball walks off to take series over Hartford

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By Aaron Cheris

Sports Editor

[email protected]

April 6, 2015

Photo by UAlbany Athletics. Will Miller scored UAlbany's first run on Monday.
Photo by UAlbany Athletics. Will Miller scored UAlbany’s first run on Monday.

Time and time again on Monday afternoon at Varsity Field, the University at Albany baseball team squandered opportunities to score with men in scoring position.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Great Danes finally got the hit they were looking for.

With the bases loaded and one out, UAlbany junior Karson Canaday drove a game winning single into shallow left field, giving UAlbany a 2-1 walk off victory over the University of Hartford.

“We were due for one of those [hits],” Canaday said. “We finally scrapped one out.”

The win over Hartford (9-16, 4-3 America East) gave UAlbany (7-9, 3-2 America East) a series victory after the teams split a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon. Hartford won the first game 4-3 before UAlbany took the nightcap 5-0.

“We worked hard to get prepared for this game,” UAlbany head coach Jon Mueller said. “It’s just a tremendous win for the guys, it’s a hard earned win.

The game started as a pitchers duel between Hartford’s Brian Murphy and UAlbany’s Matt Gallup. Both pitchers matched zeroes early in the game and didn’t allow the other team to get any momentum.

In the bottom of the second inning, UAlbany loaded the bases on two walks and an error. With a chance to give his team the lead, Canaday grounded out to Murphy to end the Great Dane threat.

Gallup was dominant in the early innings, as only one Hartford batter reached second base in the first five innings.

“Matt was great today,” Mueller said. “It was an absolute war out there today.”

In the bottom of the fifth, UAlbany center fielder Will Miller lined a one out double. Following a ground out that advanced Miller to third, Hartford third baseman TJ Ward committed a throwing error on a Matt Hinchy ground ball, allowing Miller to score the game’s first run.

The UAlbany lead didn’t last long. In the top of the sixth, Gallup got into trouble when Hartford center fielder Aaron Wilson doubled to lead off the inning. After a couple walks loaded the bases, Gallup hoped for a double play to get out of the jam.

Hartford catcher Joe Roberti grounded a ball to third base. UAlbany third baseman Adam Mund bobbled the ball there and threw the ball to first for an out, allowing Wilson to score the tying run.

“They gave us one run and we gave them one run,” Mueller said.

Both Gallup and Murphy were taken out after allowing just one run through six innings. In his six innings on the mound, Gallup struck out five and walked two while allowing three hits.

UAlbany turned to southpaw Andrew Jarique, who left with two out and runners on second and third in the eighth inning.

Mueller turned to sophomore Joe Romero to get out of the jam, and his reliever promptly struck out Roberti to end the threat.

In the bottom of the inning, the Great Danes would again load the bases on a single and two walks. But again, they were denied when Hartford’s Jacob Mellin struck out Adam Mund looking to end the threat.

In the ninth inning, Romero once again got out of trouble by getting Wilson to ground out to second base with runners on first and third to end the inning. With a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth, UAlbany couldn’t take advantage as first baseman Shawn Blake lined out to center with the winning run on second base.

In the tenth, Hartford had a chance to take the lead with runners on second and third and just one out.

With a chance to give his team the lead, Roberti grounded to third. Mund quickly grabbed the ball and threw home to try and take out the lead runner, David MacKinnon. Catcher Craig Lepre made the catch and tagged out MacKinnon to keep the game tied at one. Romero was able to get out of the inning with a ground out one batter later.

“Joe’s got dominating stuff. He’s a guy who hasn’t been able to get out there enough,” Mueller said. “He’s a guy that really did a great job today.”

In the bottom of the inning, the Great Danes once again loaded the bases with nobody out. With a chance to be the hero, Mund was called out on strikes. But Canaday was able to end the game with a bloop single into left center field. After he reached first base, Canaday was mobbed by his teammates on the field.

“It was all day, just leaving runners on,” Canaday said. “It was just a matter of time before one of those [hits] fell.”

In 2.1 innings of relief, Romero struck out two and walked two to earn the win. John McGinty took the loss after allowing the winning run.

Up next, UAlbany will play a doubleheader at Marist on Tuesday before heading home to host a four game series against NJIT on Saturday and Sunday.

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