With one swing of the bat Derek Martin changed the momentum of Friday night’s baseball outing.
Martin delivered a grand slam home run in the bottom of the third inning to snap the Cortland Crush out of a lethargic early game funk and helped propel his team to a lopsided 14-2 victory over the visiting Rochester Ridgemen in New York Collegiate Baseball League action on Greg’s Field at Beaudry Park.
Martin had a big game at the plate with two doubles and five RBIs to go along with his home run as Cortland still stands atop the Eastern Division standings with a 12-2 record, bouncing back from an 8-7 loss to the Syracuse Junior Chiefs that had snapped a 12-game unbeaten streak for the Crush.Rochester falls to 5-10 in the Western Division.
The Ridgemen took a 2-0 lead with solo runs in the top of the second and third innings on just one hit. The Crush committed three errors behind pitcher William Ginsberg, and those miscues helped disrupt his concentration leading to two walks and five wild pitches.
Tom Taplin started on the mound for Cortland and looked good in his first appearance, as he works on bouncing back from an injury that sidelined the former Pulaski High School star who played for the Crush in 2014.
Ginsberg came on for the second inning and pitched well overall, allowing just two hits. Both runs yielded by Ginsburg were unearned over five innings of work to record his first win of the season.
Hayden Houts drew a lead-off walk in the second inning to get Rochester going. An error and wild pitch moved him to third base where he scored on a two-out single by Matt Jackson.
Cortland got a quick out to start to Ridgemen’s third inning, but back-to-back errors kept the inning alive. Two wild pitches would plate a run before Ginsberg got a strikeout for the second out. After a walk, Jacob Lentz flied out to end the inning with Rochester up 2-0.
THE CRUSH BEGAN building momentum as Greg Mula and Brody Santilli got back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the third inning off Matt Fontneau. A walk to Anthony Searles loaded the bases for Martin who doubled in the first inning.
Down 0-2 in the count, Martin launched the next pitch 340-feet over the fence in left-centerfield as the Crush took a 4-2 lead.
With Ginsberg pitching well and the team fired up, Cortland took control of the game.
The Crush plated five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to build a 9-2 advantage. Martin sparked this rally with a lead-off double off the fence in right-centerfield. George Haaland was hit by a pitch before Ethan Moore singled home Martin. Evan Moore walked to load the bases. With one out, Patrick Messinger hit a groundball to shortstop. Evan Moore was forced out at second base, but the throw to first to attempt a double play sailed out of play as both Haaland and Ethan Moore scored on the play.
Two more walks reloaded the bases where another Ridgemen error plated Messinger and Greg Mula for the 9-2 cushion.
The Crush scored a seventh inning run when Santilli reached base on a fielder’s choice. He stole second base, moved to third on a flyout and scored on an error.
Cortland sealed the win with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as Ethan Moore started the inning with a solo home run. Santilli picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk.
Searles singled home another run and Martin collected his fifth RBI on a fielder’s choice.
Tommy Hyland, Jacob Kinney and Aaron Edelmon each pitched one inning of relief after Ginsberg departed at the end of the sixth inning. Hyland allowed a double in the seventh inning, but no harm came from it. Kinney walked the first two batters in the eighth inning, but got a ground out and two strikeouts to prevent any runs from scoring. Edelmon gave up a lead-off single in the ninth, but induced a pop out, fielder’s choice and flyout to end the game.
Cortland will host the Hornell Dodgers this afternoon at three o’clock. The Crush and Syracuse Junior Chiefs wrap up the Crush’s four-game homestand Sunday with a Father’s Day clash on Greg’s Field at 3 p.m.