DEMOREST, GA. – Nationally 19th-ranked Piedmont scored five unanswered runs over the sixth and seventh innings to erase a four-run deficit and the Lions defeated 25th-ranked Cortland, 5-4, in a non-league baseball matchup. Cortland falls to 7-7-1, with six of its losses at the hands of teams currently ranked in the D3baseball.com national top 25. Piedmont improved to 17-6 with the victory.
Cortland pitching allowed only three hits and struck out 12 batters but issued 10 walks. The Red Dragons finished with nine hits but only walked twice and struck out 11 times.
Joe Tardif (Cutchogue/Mattituck) went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI and James Varian (Hopewell Junction/Trinity-Pawling) was 1-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch for Cortland. Ryan Flansburg (Queensbury) started and allowed one hit and five walks with three strikeouts in two and two thirds innings. Chris Puzakulics (Vestal) went the next three and a third innings and gave up one hit, walks and two runs with five strikeouts. Steven Salisbury (Cranston, RI/Moses Brown) took the loss after being charged with three runs in the seventh. Matt Valin (LaFargeville) relieved with no outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and gave up one hit and one walk with four strikeouts.
Carter Ballstadt picked up the win in relief for the Lions with two innings of one-hit shutout ball. He fanned three batters. Matt Vonderschmidt earned his fourth save of the season after striking out two and giving up just a two-out single to Dan Schweitzer (Poughquag/Arlington) in the ninth. Starter Tyler Fairchild allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts over five and two thirds innings.
The game was scoreless through four innings, although Piedmont did load the bases with two outs in the third on three walks before Puzakulics entered and struck out a batter to escape the jam.
Cortland got on the board in the fifth when Tardif led off with a double, went to third on Colin BeVard's (Syracuse/West Genesee) sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch. The Red Dragons tallied three times in the top of the sixth to push their lead to 4-0. Wyatt Myers (Chittenango) singled and was bunted to second by Marcos Perivolaris (Mattituck), and Sam Kippen (Lyncourt/Solvay) singled home a run. Varian was hit by a pitch, a fly ball moved Kippen to third, Varian stole second, and Tardif lined a two-run single to center.
Piedmont cut the Red Dragons' lead in half with two in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Burden and Tyler Burdette led off with walks and pulled off a one-out double steal. Evan Meade followed with a two-run single to left.
The Lions took the lead with three in the seventh. Zachary Swindell and Tyler Sheley each walked, and everyone was safe on Wes Snyder's sac bunt when Swindell beat the throw to third. Brady Ballstadt, who finished 2-for-3, singled in two runs to tie the game, and Burden hit a sac fly to right to drive in what held up as the game-winning run.
Cortland will travel to Atlanta to play Oglethorpe Wednesday at 6 p.m.