July 10th, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. - In week five of the season, the Dutchmen saw a pair of gems from starters Greg Marino (Stony Brook) and Matt Pierce (Siena) to help secure a 5-2 week.
In Albany’s first win of the week Marino pitched 6.2 innings of one hit ball while facing the minimum number of batters, striking out four and walking no one in the Dutchmen’s 11-0 win over the Stallions Tuesday night.
The Centereach, New York native was even more dominant than the stat line reveals, making it through the outing in just 55 pitches. Marino threw 36 strikes on the day, finding the strike zone on 65 percent of his pitches.
Marino says his accuracy on the mound was the key to having such a dominant outing.
“I was throwing my fastballs and my off speeds for strikes and they were swinging first pitch almost every at bat, so I was able to get through innings quickly, almost every inning was single digits,” Marino said.
Marino has allowed just one extra base hit this season in 21.1 innings of work and opposing hitters are hitting .221 against the Stony Brook pitcher.
Head Coach Nick Davey says Marino has quickly turned into the ace of the Dutchmen staff.
“You could easily say Marino’s been our best pitcher all year long and the biggest thing for him is that he’s made adjustments. He came here and he’s gotten visibly better from his first outing to now, his confidence is sky high, he’s developed a third pitch for himself and its really been effective for him,” Davey said.
Marino’s ERA on the season is 2.10, which is the second best on the team among Albany pitchers who have logged at least 20 innings, the leader in that category is Matt Pierce who has a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings of work and is sharing co-player of the week honors.
Pierce saw action in two games this week, the first coming in Monday’s 6-4 loss against the Mohawks. The Schenectady, New York native came out of the bullpen and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball and struck out two batters.
In his second outing of the week, Pierce took the mound in the second leg of a double header against the Outlaws on Thursday and hurled six innings of scoreless ball, allowing only one hit and one walk, while striking out six.
In the abbreviated seven inning game Pierce had not allowed a hit through five innings of work and says after that all his teammates stopped talking to him.
“It was funny because around the fifth inning everyone stopped talking to me and no one was really even bothering me, I was just sitting there in the dugout in my zone,” Pierce said.
Pierce did surrender a hit in the sixth, but says a one hitter speaks for its self and says the key to such a dominant start was keeping the Oneonta hitters guessing in the box.
“I was mixing my pitches really well, all my pitches were working that day so I was keeping hitters off balance and commanding the ball well too,” Pierce said.
Pierce has only walked five batters so far this season and has struck out 19, coach Davey says he’s been a great asset to have coming out of the bullpen and in the rotation.
“He’s somebody that I’ve had a relationship with and I’ve seen grow over the years and he looks very confident and he wants that opportunity to go back to Siena and start you know he’s done nothing but earn it for us,” Davey said.
Although Marino and Pierce have both been busy on the mound this season, they are doing a lot off the field as well.
Marino has volunteered with the Challenger’s League, a little league for the physically and mentally disabled and says it’s made him realize just how fortunate he is.
“It’s been the best thing that I’ve done here, it’s been better than the baseball because it’s bigger than baseball and it’s been life changing because that’s what it’s all about is making kids dreams come true,” Marino said.
Pierce has been donating his free time to the Schenectady Bingo Palace where he sells tickets and checks bingo cards for winners. Pierce says he enjoys being able to pay out the winners and see how happy they become.
“It’s defiantly something that I don't take for granted, it's a good experience,” Pierce said.
Marino will be back in action starting at home Wednesday July 12th against Glens Falls and Pierce will get the nod Friday July 14th on the road against Amsterdam.