LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – The Albany Dutchmen (10-6) split a doubleheader against the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs (8-8) on Saturday at Connors Park, losing game one 7-2 and winning game two 6-4.
“Doubleheaders are tough to sweep, so anything you can get a split, you’ve gotta be happy with that,” said Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey.
The Dutchmen trailed early against the DiamondDawgs in game one. Mohawk Valley took a three-run lead against Albany in the top of the first inning, with the big hit coming from a two-run Justin Guerrera (Fairfield) home run. Dutchmen starter Logan Savell (Ole Miss) only pitched one inning – the shortest outing for an Albany starter this season.
Albany slowly chipped away at the lead after two errors by Joseph Carpenter (Delaware) brought home a run in the first. Both teams added a run in the third as the score settled at 4-2 through the middle innings.
Dutchmen pitcher Will Hesslink (Boston College) relieved Savell in the second inning and pitched four strong innings, the longest outing for an Albany reliever this season. The lefty allowed four hits and one run but kept the DiamondDawgs offense in check.
“Hesslink pitched his butt off in the middle,” said Davey. “He really gave us a shot.”
The Dutchmen bullpen struggled to keep Albany within striking distance during the latter parts of game one. Brandon Roberts (St. John Fisher) and Jack Delaney (St. John Fisher) allowed three runs to score on three hits over the last two innings.
Mohawk Valley starter Cole Miller (Herkimer) pitched well for the DiamondDawgs and nullified the Dutchmen offense in game one. The lefty went six innings and allowed only two runs on six hits. Miller only walked one and struck out five.
“He kept us off-balance,” said Davey.
After trailing early, the Dutchmen gained momentum by taking the lead in the third inning of game two. A Josh Hall (Ole Miss) single and a Justin Bench (Ole Miss) sacrifice bunt drove in two runs to give Albany a 2-1 lead after three innings. The Ole Miss duo have combined for 10 RBIs in their first week with the Dutchmen.
The one-run lead was all that Dutchmen starter Nick Grabek (Fairfield) needed in game two. The closer for Fairfield started his third game for Albany this season and only allowed two runs, one unearned, two hits and one walk against Mohawk Valley.
“He was working in and out and threw his secondary stuff for strikes,” said Davey.
Grabek exited game two after 5.2 innings, and the DiamondDawgs took advantage of his absence. Mohawk Valley retook the lead with a Jimmy Joyce (Hofstra) two-run home run off Luke Walter (Manhattan). The DiamondDawgs added another run from a CJ Rodriguez (Vanderbilt) single to take a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
The Dutchmen rallied in the bottom of the sixth off the DiamondDawgs bullpen. Mike Murray (Hofstra) allowed a Tommy Pellis (Seton Hill) single, a Luke Gold (Boston College) double, and a Ryan McGee (Siena) walk before exiting the game in favor of Luc Scudalleri (Georgia College). The first batter he faced was Aaron Roose (Azusa Pacific), who took a 3-2 pitch deep over the left field wall for the first Dutchmen grand slam of the season.
“Something my college coach stresses is don’t get beat with two strikes,” said Roose. “I got down early, but realistically I wasn’t going to let him beat me.
Albany took a 6-4 lead into the seventh and Blake Bales (Virginia) shut the door with two strikeouts to give the Dutchmen their tenth win of the season. Albany is the second team in the PGCBL to reach double-digit wins and is 8-2 in its last 10 games.
With the grand slam, Roose became the first Dutchmen to reach double-digit RBIs with 13 this season. He also ranks fifth in the PGCBL in RBIs.
Albany’s next game is home at Connors Park at Siena College against the Adirondack Trail Blazers. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. For tickets and more, visit dutchmenbaseball.com.