Bradford, PA – The D'Youville baseball team had a pair of comeback efforts fall just short on Wednesday afternoon as the Spartans lost to the Pitt.-Bradford Panthers 9-7 and 11-10 in their first conference doubleheader of the season.
The Panther bats were active early and often in the first game of the day. They scored three runs in the bottom of the first, adding two more in the bottom of the second for a 5-0 lead. Moving to the bottom of the third, Bradford had their biggest inning of the game by tacking on four more runs and making their lead 9-0.
D'Youville had a few scoring opportunities to get on the board, but their first run crossed in the top of the fifth. Louis Reynolds (Batavia, NY/Notre Dame) singled up the middle to start the inning. Devon Kelly (Rochester, NY/Olympia) then singled, with Reynolds advancing to third on a fly out to right field in the next at-bat. In the following at-bat, Kelly stole second, forcing a throwing error from the Bradford catcher, allowing Reynolds to score and make the game 9-1.
The Spartans struck again in the top of the sixth. Just Brackna (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) singled to start off the inning, with Michael LiPani (Irondequoit, NY/Irondequoit) walking and Matt Critelli (Camden, NY/Camden) singling to load the bases. A walk from Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) then drove in a run, making the score 9-2.
All three runners advanced with a wild pitch in the next at-bat, scoring LiPani and making it 9-3. Reynolds then drove in a run on a ground out to drive in a run, followed by Kelly singling to score another run and the Spartans then trailed 9-5 heading into the final inning.
The top of the seventh saw the Spartans nearly completing their comeback. Brendan Burke (Collegeville, PA/Spring-Ford) singled to start the inning, with Brackna doubling and moving Burke to third. Two batters later, LiPani came to the plate and singled, driving in both runs and making the score 9-7. However, Bradford would halt the Spartan's comeback efforts and hold on to win 9-7.
Eight Spartans recorded hits in the game, led by Brackna with three. He also scored two runs to lead D'Youville. LiPani had a team high two RBI to go with a run and hit. Critelli added two hits, with Kelly recording two of his own. The top three hitters for the Spartans combined for five hits.
On the mound, Kevin Kabacinski (Buffalo, NY/St. Joe's) got the start, striking out one over 2.2 innings. In relief, Braden Bova (Lancaster, NY/St. Mary's) was outstanding. In 3.1 innings, Bova allowed only three hits with no walks and no runs, striking out two.
The second game of the day began in similar fashion as the first, with Bradford jumping out to an early 6-0 lead after two innings. In the top of the third, D'Youville would cut the lead in half. Singles from Kelly and Dylan Haak (Depew, NY/Depew) began the inning and Brackna would drive in Kelly two batters later to make it 6-1. Travis Macrides (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) the hit a sac-fly to center, scoring Haak to make it 6-2. Following a Patrick Mulligan (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech) single, Critelli then doubled to score Brackna to trail 6-3.
The Panthers would then get a run back in the bottom of the inning, then add three runs between the fifth and sixth innings to lead 10-3.
D'Youville was able to erase the Panther lead in the top of the seventh with their biggest inning of the day. With one out, LiPani singled to left, followed by a Brackna walk and a Macrides single. Three consecutive walks to Mulligan, Critelli and Burke drove in three runs to make it 10-6 with the bases still loaded.
A double to right center from Reynolds then put two more runs on the scoreboard, driving in Critelli and Mulligan and make it 10-8. Still with one out, a groundout from Kelly scored Burke to make it a one-run deficit for the Spartans. Haak then came to bat for the second time in the inning, scoring Reynolds and tying the game at 10-10 to complete the comeback.
Bradford scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to regain their lead at 11-10, and they were able to shut down the Spartan offense for the remainder of the game, going on to win by the same score of 11-10.
Hitters one through six for D'Youville each had at least a hit, with all but one Spartan recording a hit in the game. Haak led the way with three hits, while Reynolds added two. Brackna, Critelli and Burke each recorded two walks, showing their patience at the plate. Each Spartan batter that reached base scored at least a run in game two of the doubleheader, with Brackna scoring two.
Will Pack (Pendleton, NY/Starpoint) went 5.2 innings in his third start of the season, striking out four. Justin Uhteg (Arcade, NY/Pioneer) and Steve Vik (Hopkins, SC/Lower Richland) each saw time in relief, with Vik going 2.0 innings and allowing three hits.
The next pair of games for the men comes this Saturday, April 8 as the Spartans host Penn State-Altoona for their first home doubleheader of the season. Game one begins at 1pm, with game two to follow after.