LEESBURG, FLA. – Cortland pounded out 19 hits, including three homers, as the Red Dragons defeated Eastern Connecticut State, 14-2, at Pat Thomas Stadium.
The Red Dragons improved to 11-0 with the victory. Cortland is ranked third nationally by D3baseball.com and is second in the opening ABCA Div. III poll that was released Tuesday. Eastern Connecticut State (1-5) opened the season ranked 19th nationally, but has since dropped from the rankings after losses to ranked squads Kean, Webster and Rowan.
Cortland scored six runs in the third inning. Austin Clock (Niskayuna) hit a grand slam, followed directly by an Adam Smith (Vestal) solo homer. Anthony Simon (Suffern/Don Bosco Prep (NJ)) then doubled and scored from second base on a wild pitch.
The lead grew to 10-0 in the fourth on a Conrad Ziemendorf (Penfield/Webster Schroeder) RBI double and a Donny Castaldo (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) three-run homer. The Red Dragons added two in the fifth on RBI singles by Connor Griffin (Cortland) and Castaldo, and two more in the seventh on a Matthew Michalski (Buffalo/St. Francis) two-run double.
Eastern scored in the top of the fifth on a Chad Adams RBI single and in the seventh when Kyle Pileski walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Adams finished 2-for-3 with a double and RBI and Ivan Guadalupe went 1-for-2.
Smith finished 3-for-3 with a homer, double and RBI and Castaldo ended 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI. Clock was 1-for-3 with his grand slam and Ziemendorf went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI.
Keith Andrews (Commack) and Justin Teague (Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse) each were 2-for-2, Michalski went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI and Getman was 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch and two runs. Griffin reached base twice in the plate appearances with an RBI single and hit-by-pitch and Patrick Schetter (Beacon) was 1-for-2.
Cortland starter Evan Honce (East Patchogue/Bellport), the first of five Red Dragon hurlers in a predetermined rotation, earned the victory and is 2-0 on the season. He allowed only two hits and no walks and struck out five in four scoreless frames. Zach Ferris (Stephentown/LaSalle Institute), Cortland's second reliever, gave up one hit and fanned one in the seventh and Travis Laitar (Fergus, ON/Centre Wellington) struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to end the game.
Eastern starter Tyler Cyr took the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits in three innings. The Warriors threw five different relievers one inning apiece, with Luis Vega and Derek Allen registering scoreless frames.
Cortland has a day off Wednesday and will face UMass Boston Thursday at 3 p.m. at the North Charlotte Regional Park in Port Charlotte. The Red Dragons will also be in Port Charlotte for SUNYAC games versus New Paltz with a doubleheader Friday at noon and a single game Saturday at 11 a.m.