Elmira College Baseball Opens 2019 Season With Two Wins vs. Greensboro

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Score: Elmira College 8, Greensboro College 5
Score: Elmira College 6, Greensboro College 5
Records: Elmira (2-0), Greensboro (0-2)
Location: Ted Leonard Park -- Greensboro, N.C.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It was a historic start to the 2019 campaign for the Elmira College baseball team on Monday, as a doubleheader sweep of Greensboro College allowed the Soaring Eagles to open a season with wins for the first time in the program's five-year existence.

The Soaring Eagles scored early and often in the first game and held on for an 8-5 victory. In the nightcap, a pitcher's duel turned into an exciting late-inning rally, as EC overcame a four-run deficit in the eighth and ninth to secure a 6-5 win.

Game One
The Soaring Eagles scored eight unanswered runs between the second and sixth innings to take a comfortable lead. Down 1-0, Elmira opened the second inning with three consecutive hits, including a lead-off triple from Joey Florio '20. Jack Volpe '20 drove in the tying run, and Mark Ryan '21 put EC ahead 2-1 with an RBI double. Ryan's brother, Mason Ryan '22, drove in the third run of the frame with a sac fly.

In the third, the Purple and Gold padded their lead with two more runs via an RBI ground out by Volpe and a Mark Ryan single that scored Florio, who doubled in his second at-bat of the afternoon. In the sixth, Sam Plaugher '20, Jansen Crossley '20 and Tommy Fogarty '20 each produced an RBI base hit to blow the game open, 8-1.

After allowing a run in the first, senior righty Nick Cottone '19 settled in nicely, as he went on to spin 6.0 innings of one-run ball. He sat down seven in a row between the first and third innings and held the Pride without a hit in his final five frames. Although Cottone walked four and hit two batsmen, he was able to work his way out of trouble on multiple occasions, including a bases-loaded situation in the sixth. 

Down by seven, Greensboro attempted a comeback in the late innings. Against senior right-hander Blake Phelps '19, the Pride posted three runs in the bottom of ninth. With the bases loaded, catcher Scotty McGuire drove in two on an infield single, thanks to heads-up baserunning by Tyler Price, who scored from second on the play. With the tying run in the hole, Phelps avoided further damage by inducing a ground ball for the final out of the contest in the next at-bat.

Game Two
Elmira starter Andy Reed '19 and Greensboro's Eli Moravick went toe-to-toe for the first seven innings of the late game. The Soaring Eagles taxed Moravick for one run in the second on a Volpe RBI single, but the right-handed hurler gave up just two base hits between the third and seventh innings in what looked to be a winning effort for the Pride. Reed, on the other hand, sat down Greensboro 1-2-3 in the second, third and fourth innings before facing trouble in the fifth.

Greensboro laced back-to-back two-out doubles into left field in the fifth to pull ahead 2-1. The momentum continued into the seventh, as the Pride loaded the bases with a single, walk, and hit by pitch. Once again with two outs, the bats came through for the hosts, as Cameron Peters cleared the bases with a three-run double.

Down, but not out, the Soaring Eagles came back to tie the score at 5-all in the next half inning. James Delaney '22 provided the first spark with a pinch-hit RBI single. After Jourdan Plaisted '21 drew a walk to load the bases, Florio made it a 5-3 game by scoring Fogarty from third with a sac fly. Under pressure, Greensboro southpaw Clayton Slater folded. With two away, he hit Mark Ryan to re-load the bases, then walked both Plaugher and Mason Ryan to force home the tying runs.

Elmira managed to load the bases again in the ninth, as Fogarty drew a walk, Delaney smacked a double, and Plaisted was put on intentionally. With no outs, Florio laid down a perfect sacrifice squeeze, pushing home Fogarty from third and taking a 6-5 advantage. The one-run lead was enough for Corey DeMauro '20, as the junior worked around two walks and one error to strand the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

In Their Own Words...
Head Coach Corey Paluga on starting the season with a pair of wins over Greensboro...
"Every win is good, especially early in the season. I am proud of our composure and grit, being down late in game two. We didn't allow the situation to get away from us."

News and Notes

  • Elmira opened a season with a victory for the first time in five seasons of NCAA baseball.
  • EC improved to 2-0 all-time against Greensboro following their first-ever meeting.
  • Cottone earned the second win of his collegiate career and his first as a starter.
  • Harrison Zambarano '19 tied a career high with three hits in game one.
  • Florio and Mark Ryan each had two hits in the early contest.
  • DeMauro tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen in his first appearance of the year, then earned the win in game two with 2.0 shutout frames.
  • The victory in the late contest is the first of DeMauro's EC career.
  • Jared Money '22 recorded his first hit in his collegiate debut as a pinch-hitter in the early game.
  • Delaney logged the first hit, extra-base hit, run and RBI of his career the second game.

Up Next
Elmira's North Carolina road trip continues 15 minutes away from the campus of Greensboro College, as the Soaring Eagles will take a short trip to Guilford College for a 2:30 p.m. non-conference bout on Tuesday, February 19.