Bats Awaken in Second Half as Dutchmen Rally

By: Tyler Lance

The Dutchmen celebrate after their 5th straight win

The Albany Dutchmen (6-2) used timely two out hitting and poor defense by the Utica Blue Sox (3-7) to rally back from an early 4-0 deficit and claim a 7-4 victory, extending their winning streak to five games.

After two of the first three Dutchmen batters were retired in the top of the fifth inning, Albany used an error and four consecutive base hits to break through and tie the game at four.  The big blow was Brad Gneiting’s (Rice) two-run double which pulled the Dutchmen to within a run.  All four runs in the inning were unearned as with two outs and no runs in, Justin Decker (Dominican) smoked a one hopper to shortstop, where it ate up Adam LaRock (Iowa) for a run scoring error.  Albany would add their final run of the frame on a Nick Gallo (Oklahoma State) single.   

Things looked bleak for Albany after they squandered a runners on first and second base with nobody out scoring opportunity in the first inning and proceeded to allow two runs in both the first and second innings to the Blue Sox including a two run homer by Taylor Olmstead (Southern New Hampshire).  Utica’s starting pitcher Garrett Keough (Holy Cross) appeared to be in total command after setting down nine straight Dutchmen hitters in innings two through four before the game unraveled in the fifth. 

The Dutchmen were not done however, as the onslaught continued in the sixth inning.  Decker continued his torrid hitting as he gave Albany the lead with a run scoring single.  Nick Estrella (Azusa Pacific) followed with another run scoring single, which became an even greater problem for the Blue Sox when leftfielder Kyle Norman (Buffalo) allowed the ball to skip past him for an error, giving Estrella a chance to move up to second base.  Keough was removed from the game following the sixth inning and ultimately picked up the loss. 

After four shaky innings from Thomas Spinelli (Ole Miss) which included four walks, a hit batsmen, and only 52 percent of pitches in the strike zone, Albany’s bullpen took over and continued their recent domination.  Nick Bruno (Siena) pitched two scoreless frames only allowing one hit and striking out two, picking up the victory.  Justin Bureau (Ave Maria) pitched the final three innings, setting down the side in order in the seventh, working out of a jam with two runners in scoring positon and only one out in the eight, and setting down the side in order again in the ninth.  Bureau picked up his third save of the year in three appearances. 

A majestic home run to left field by Brandt Holland (North Alabama) to lead off the eighth inning accounted for the final margin of the game.

The Dutchmen also ran wild on the base paths with six steals in seven attempts.

The win allows the Dutchmen to remain in first place in the East Division, while the struggling Blue Sox have now dropped seven games in a row.   

Up next for the Dutchmen is two games tomorrow. The first game will be an exhibition at 10 A.M. against the Tri-City ValleyCats of the MiLB.  Albany returns home to Siena Field tomorrow evening at 5:05 to take on the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, which is NYSPHSAA High School Student Athlete Night and also features several giveaways.

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