LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – The Albany Dutchmen (24-16-1) defeated the Oneonta Outlaws (16-27-1) in game one of a scheduled doubleheader. Game two ended in tie between the two teams.
The Dutchmen took an early lead in game one. Nick Melillo (Siena) started the Dutchmen scoring with a two-run single to left field. Chris Seng (Louisville) then grounded a ball to short with the bases loaded. Cavan Tully (Binghamton) tried to grab a force out at second but his throw pulled Giordan Cerbo (Grand Canynon) off the bag. A run scored on the play to give Albany a third run, and Ryan McGee (Siena) hit a sacrifice fly to increase the Dutchmen lead to 4-0 at the end of the inning.
Albany and Oneonta traded runs in the following frames, as the teams scored one run in five consecutive half-innings. The Dutchmen increased their lead on a wild pitch in the third, but the Outlaws responded with a run in the fourth thanks to a Kevin Gsell (Binghamton) single. A Parker Noland (Vanderbilt) single in the bottom of the fourth restored the five-run Albany lead, but Oneonta battled back in the fifth with a Ben Bianco (Louisville) single. The scoring ended in the bottom of the fifth with another RBI single by Melillo.
Blake Bales (Virginia) got his first opportunity to start a game for Albany in game one. Although the right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits, Bales did enough to keep the Dutchmen ahead of the Outlaws.
“Anytime you roll Blake out there, you’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Dutchmen Head Coach Nick Davey. “He gave us what we expected.”
Joe Kruszka (UAlbany) relieved Bales in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings to secure the 7-2 Dutchmen win. The right-hander struck out three to increase his season total to 14 in seven games. Kruszka also dropped his season ERA to 0.93 in 9.2 innings.
The Dutchmen once again struck first in game two, but the Outlaws responded in the middle innings. Melillo stayed hot at the plate with a two-run single in the second inning to record his fifth RBI of the day. Oneonta got run one run back in the third with a sacrifice fly by John Rhodes (Kentucky). The Outlaws took their first lead of the day with a two-run single in the fifth from Jared Payne (Kentucky) as Oneonta took a 3-2 lead.
Despite their success in the second inning, the Dutchmen struggled to figure out Oneonta starter Dave Yankowski (Canisius). Albany only scored two runs on five hits against the right-hander and failed to produce with runners in scoring position throughout the middle innings.
“He can spin his breaking ball pretty well,” said Davey. “Guys like that give a lot of people trouble and he can command it.”
Albany tied the game in the seventh inning to send game two to extra innings. McGee singled with Will Duff (Vanderbilt) on second to grab the Dutchmen’s third run of the game off Yankowski, who stayed in the game to start the seventh. The Dutchmen couldn’t push across another run as the game entered extra innings with the score tied at 3-3.
After both teams failed to score in the eighth inning, the game was called due to darkness and game two ended in a tie. The two teams do not meet again in the regular season.
Melillo finished the day with a 4-7 line in both games with 5 RBIs. He increased his season batting average by 43 points to .250 and more than doubled his season RBI total.
“I was aggressive early in counts,” said Melillo. “Lately I was getting deep in counts.”
Albany inches closer to the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs for second place in the PGCBL East Division with its victory in game one. The top two teams in each division host the one-game series in the first round of the PGCBL Playoffs.
“We’ve just got to stay hot at the right times,” said Melillo.
The Dutchmen return home to host the Amsterdam Mohawks in a doubleheader on Sunday, July 28th, with first pitch for game one set for 3:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit dutchmenbaseball.com