Jack Massa and Steven Figueroa combined to drive in six runs and Patrick Merryweather allowed two hits and two runs in four and a third innings Sunday as the Division III nationally top-ranked SUNY Cortland baseball team completed a weekend sweep at 24th-ranked Salisbury with a 7-2 victory.
Massa finished 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI and Figueroa, coming off a 5-for-6 day Saturday, went 2-for-3 with a triple, two walks, two RBI and two runs scored.
Merryweather earned the win as the first pitcher in a predetermined rotation for the Red Dragons. He did not allow any hits over the first four innings before giving up two singles in the fifth. He walked two, struck out four, and was charged with two runs.
Andrew Barnes was Cortland’s second reliever. He entered in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out and Cortland ahead 7-1. He walked the first batter he faced to force in a run, but struck out the next hitter. Over three and a third innings, Barnes gave up just one infield hit and two walks and struck out seven. Anthony Visconte pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout as Cortland pitching combined fan 12 Salisbury batters.
Justin Meekins finished 1-for-2 with a walk and RBI for Salisbury (2-3). Starter Brad Keith allowed four hits and six runs with six walks and two strikeouts in four innings. Pete Grasso, the Sea Gulls’ third reliever, threw four scoreless innings with six strikeouts, no walks, and three hits allowed.
Cortland will travel to Newport News, Va., next Saturday to face Susquehanna University (Pa.) and the host school Christopher Newport, followed by a game Sunday at nationally 10th-ranked Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Va. Susquehanna finished second behind Cortland at last year’s NCAA New York Regional, while Randolph-Macon was second at the NCAA Mideast Regional.
On Saturday, Figueroa finished 5-for-6 with four RBI and four runs scored and Paul Dondero and Jon Warner each homered as Cortland opened its season by outscoring Salisbury, 15-12.
Cortland relinquished a 5-1 lead when Salisbury scored four times in the bottom of the sixth. The Red Dragons, however, answered with seven runs in the top of the seventh to take a 12-5 lead. The big plays in that inning included an error that allowed the first run to score, a Figueroa two-run single, a Matt Michalski bases loaded hit-by-pitch, a Dondero sac fly, a Matthew Personius RBI single, and a Warner bases-loaded walk.
Salisbury came back with four in the bottom of the seventh to close within 12-9. Cortland added what proved to be vital insurance runs with one in the eighth and two in the ninth.
Alex Weingarten was the winning pitcher for Cortland.Homer Central graduate Payten Boice earned the save.