SYRACUSE — There may be a pennant race in the New York Collegiate Baseball League’s Eastern Division after all.
The Cortland Crush had its first place lead trimmed to three games on Sunday night, as the Syracuse Junior Chiefs used a five-run third inning and the pitching of Matthew Sandoval to come up with a 6-1 victory.
The second place Junior Chiefs are now 21-14 after prevailing on their Onondaga Community College home diamond, while Cortland falls to 23-10 prior to getting today off. Cortland resumes play on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. road trip to take on the Sherrill Silversmiths.
The Crush and Junior Chiefs were both winners on Saturday, Cortland doubling up host Genesee 10-5 behind home run pokes by George Haaland and Evan Moore while the Syracuse side got past the Rome Generals 9-8.
Syracuse JC 6, Cortland 1: Junior Chiefs starter Sandoval (2-2), out of Purdue-Calumet, struck out the first two batters of the game before the Crush staged a two-out rally — started with David Murphy drawing a walk.
Derek Martin and TJ Wegmann followed with singles, catcher Wegmann driving home Murphy with what proved to be the lone Crush success off Sandoval.
Cortland managed just three more hits off Sandoval, who whiffed eight Crush batters in his eight-inning stint. Kevin Soriano came on to pitch a scoreless ninth, striking out two.
Cortland starting pitcher Dylan Leahy (3-1) issued back-to-back walks to open the third inning, starting the Junior Chiefs’ decisive five-run outburst. Anthony Seminaris had a two-run double to put the hosts up 2-1, with an error and doubles by Conner Lafferty and Cristabal Ruiz also driving home runs.
In the fourth, Junior Chiefs leadoff batter Seminaris tripled and scored on a wild pitch for the game’s only other run. The center fielder finished 2-for-5 and was the only Syracuse batter to have multiple hits off Cortland pitchers Leahy, Tommy Hyand and Nathan Verst.
Starter Leahy gave up just six hits over five and two-thirds innings, but was hurt by six walks. Verst struck out two batters in his one and a third innings of work.
Martin finished 2-for-3 to lead the Cortland offense.
Cortland 10, Genesee 5: The Crush collected 13 hits off a trio of Genesee pitchers, with Haaland and Moore delivering the big blows.
Cortland led 4-2 when first baseman Haaland came up with a three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning. Genesee was within 7-5 when designated hitter Moore came up with a two-run blast in the top of the seventh. A Greg Mula run-scoring single in the eighth finished off the Cortland scoring, his second RBI of the contest..
Haaland finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs in the game, while Luke Gilbert, Andrew Taft and catcher Anthony Searles each had two-hit success.
Stephan Witkowski raised his record to 4-0 as the Cortland starting pitcher, going six innings. he allowed nine hits, struck out three and walked a lone Rapids batter.
Tommy Taplin, Matthew Dietrich and Matthew McCuen each contributed scoreless innings in relief.