ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Jourdan Plaisted '21 launched his first collegiate home run and drove in a career-high four runs to lead the Elmira College baseball team to its first Empire 8 Conference win of the season against Houghton College, 12-5.
The Soaring Eagles broke out the bats in their 2019 home opener, as EC recorded season highs in runs (12), hits (13), RBIs (10) and extra-base hits (6). Plaisted, a second-year catcher from Walworth, New York, had a career night at the dish to lead the Purple and Gold. He finished 2-for-2 and produced team highs in runs scored (3) and runs driven in (4).
Plaisted was one of five Soaring Eagles to post multiple hits. Senior left fielder Harrison Zambarano '19 went 3-for-5 with two runs and one RBI batting clean-up, while Tommy Fogarty '20, Jansen Crossley '20 and Joey Florio '20 each rapped two hits.
Before Elmira's batters came to life, it appeared as though the Houghton hitters were prepared for a big night, too. Caleb Philips plated a pair in the top of the first with a base hit, and a couple of EC errors helped the Highlanders extend their lead to 5-2 in the top of the fourth. However, Elmira starter Nick Cottone '19 settled in as the game continued and did not allow another run. Cottone, who improved to 2-1 with the victory, tossed scoreless innings in the fifth, sixth and seventh, and racked up eight strikeouts in his fifth start of the season.
As Cottone built confidence on the bump, his teammates gave the Soaring Eagles an insurmountable lead by scoring a combined 10 runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. That included four-spots in the fourth and seventh. In the home half of the fourth, Sam Plaugher '20 and Mason Ryan '22 each drove in two runs, with Ryan's double over the head of the Houghton right fielder putting EC on top 6-5.
A sac fly in the fifth and Plaisted's solo jack over the fence in right in the sixth padded Elmira's advantage to three runs, 8-5. In the bottom of the seventh, a Plaisted two-run single and an error scored three and chased Houghton starter Holden Deres from the mound. His replacement, Aaron Monroe, uncorked a wild pitch on his first pitch of the night, which allowed EC's backstop to scamper home from third for the Soaring Eagles' final tally of the night.
In relief of Cottone, Mason Weir '21 chucked two scoreless innings and stranded three Highlanders on base in the eighth and ninth.
In Their Own Words…
Head Coach Corey Paluga on Elmira's first Empire 8 Conference win against Houghton…
"To start as slow as we have in conference, it was very important to get a win. It's great when you can win your home opener as well. There's certainly been a lot of adversity this season up to this point. For the guys to be able to bounce back and even respond to adversity at the beginning of the game – I thought Houghton did a great job jumping on Nick right of way – I thought our guys did a great job of getting us back in the ball game and help reset the tone for us."
Coach Paluga when asked about the explosive night at the plate by the Soaring Eagles…
"I think it helps when you start playing more games. With as many games as we've had to postpone or cancel already this year, we should be close to 20 games in, and we're not. The fact that we played three last weekend and two in the middle of the week, I think that's what's helping, is that now we're playing more frequently and trying to get into a groove."
Coach Paluga on Jourdan Plaisted's big night against the Highlanders…
"He's been working hard at his approach, and I think he's getting closer. I don't think he's there yet, but I think he's getting closer to the type of hitter that he's going to continue to be."
News and Notes
- Elmira ended a 12-game losing streak on Friday night with its first E8 victory of 2019.
- EC improved to 5-9 all-time against Houghton and 4-2 against the Highlanders at Dunn Field.
- The Soaring Eagles won their home-opening contest for the third time in five seasons of varsity competition.
- The Soaring Eagles recorded season highs in hits (13), runs (12), RBIs, extra-base hits (6), and doubles (5).
- Cottone improved to 2-1 and increased his team lead in strikeouts to 32 in 27.1 innings pitched.
- Weir kept his career ERA at 0.00 with two scoreless frames.
- Plaisted slugged his first career dinger and produced a career-high four RBIs.
- Zambarano finished with three hits in a game for the third time in 2019.
- Mason Ryan posted a season-high two RBIs.
- Fogarty had multiple hits for the fifth time in his junior campaign.
- Florio recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the season.
Elmira and Houghton will wrap-up their three-game Empire 8 series on Saturday, March 30, at historic Dunn Field. First pitch, which was initially scheduled for 1:00 p.m., has been bumped up to 12:30 p.m.