UTICA, N.Y. – Four Utica relievers held the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs to one run over the final six-plus innings Wednesday and the Blue Sox earned an 8-6 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League victory.
The loss snapped Mohawk Valley’s five-game winning streak while the win raised the Blue Sox (16-16) back to the .500 mark and into a second-place tie with Watertown in the Central Division. Mohawk Valley (20-11) leads the division by 4 ½ games.
The teams traded runs in the early going. Each scored once in the first inning and Utica took a 3-1 lead in the second. Mohawk Valley knocked Quinnipiac College right-hander Joey Preciado from the game when the first six batters reached base and produced four runs in the top of the third. Ryan Buckley from Cal State-Stanislaus entered the game and retired the next three batters to end that inning on his way to pitching three scoreless and earning the victory in relief.
The Blue Sox came back with one run in the bottom of the third and took a 6-5 lead with two in the fourth. A two-out error extended the inning after Utica had tied the score and Andrew College’s L.J. Bryant drove Grambling State University’s Isaiah Torres home with a single for the lead.
Utica added two runs in the seventh inning, one on a sacrifice fly by Keystone College’s Mohammed Hussein and another on a single by Torres.
The DiamondDawgs got one run back in the eighth inning when the University of Massachusetts at Lowell’s Joseph Castallanos singled and scored on a hit by Mark McKenna from Canisius College.
Two DiamondDawgs reached base on errors by Hussein in the ninth inning but Iona College’s J.T. Gosweiler worked a scoreless inning for his eighth save.
Villanova University’s Ryan Toohers got the scoring started when he drove fellow PGCBL All-Star Austin Pollack from Manhattanville College home with a single in the top of the first inning.
Utica scored on an error in the bottom of the first and took the lead in the second on a run-scoring single by Lackawanna Community College’s D.J. Staszak and a sacrifice fly by Texas College’s Cameron Phelts.
The third inning started with Castellanos walking and Toohers reaching base on one of the four errors charged to the Blue Sox. Barry University’s Alvarez, McKenna, Iona’s Stephen Furman and Niagara University’s Joe Tevlin all singled, giving Mohawk Valley a 4-3 lead before the Blue Sox switched pitchers. Buckley retired the next two batters before throwing a wild pitch and allowing McKenna to score.
Harford Community College’s John Torres and John Kasper followed Buckley on the mound for Utica. The five pitchers used by Utica combined for 13 strikeouts.
All eight of the runs allowed by the DiamondDawgs, including six in 3 2/3 innings against Bryant University starter Tyler Schoff, were listed as unearned. Mohawk Valley committed two errors behind Schoff, St. John Fisher College’s Tim Geissel and Niagara’s Alex MacKinnon.
Toohers went 3-for-4 and pushed his batting average over .400 for the season. Castellanos had two hits and scored two runs, and McKenna also had two hits.
Six Blue Sox contributed two hits to Utica’s total of 13.
The DiamondDawgs are home for two days and take on Watertown Thursday and Adirondack Friday in Little Falls before returning to Utica Saturday.