November 30, 2021

First inning binge ignites Crush victory

Andrew Taft of the Cortland Crush rounds third to score a run in the first inning against the Syracuse Salt Cats on Thursday at Greg’s Field.

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Andrew Taft of the Cortland Crush rounds third to score a run in the first inning against the Syracuse Salt Cats on Thursday at Greg’s Field.

This one was over early.

The Cortland Crush used five hits, two walks and a run-scoring groundout to score seven runs in the first inning Thursday night and never looked back en route to an 11-4 win over the Syracuse Salt Cats on Greg’s Field.

Greg Mula’s two-run single keyed the winners’ New York Collegiate Baseball League uprising, which also included run-scoring singles by Andrew Taft and Paul Ludden and an RBI groundout by Joey Assenza. A bases-loaded walk to Shannon Baker put the Salt Cats on the board in the third, and Cortland went up 8-1 in the fifth as Derek Martin led off with a single and later scored on a groundout by Patrick Messinger.

The visitors pulled to within 8-4 in the sixth inning as former Crush player Henry Pellicciotti hit a three-run home run. The Crush answered with two runs in the bottom of that inning as Paul Ludden walked and came home on a triple by Luke Gilbert, who in turn scored on a single by Martin. Ludden walked to lead off the home half of the eighth and came home on a single by David Murphy to close out the scoring.

Martin went 4-for-4 on the night with an RBI and two runs scored while Murphy went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Christian Sanchez went 3-for-5 for the Salt Cats and Anthony Galanoudis went 2-for-3 and scored once.

Dylan Crossley started ou the mound for Cortland and evened his record at 1-1 with the win, giving up seven hits and four earned runs in seven innings with five strikeouts. Blake DeMeter threw the final two scoreless innings in relief and surrendered only one hit.

The loss went to Garrett Pelko (1-2), the first of four pitchers the Salt Cats used in the game.

The Crush improved to 21-9 atop the NYCBL’s Eastern Division with the win while the third-place Salt Cats fell to 16-15.

The second-place Syracuse Junior Chiefs stayed three games behind Cortland with a 15-12 win over the visiting Rome Generals Thursday night, rallying from an 11-2 deficit heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the Olean Oilers improved to 30-4 and clinched the NYCBL Western Division championship with a 9-4 win over the Hornell Dodgers while the Wellsville Nitros beat the Rochester Ridgemen 14-5.

The Crush was to visit the Salt Cats today in a 7 p.m. start at Onondaga CC to start a five-game road trip and also encompasses the NYCBL All-Star Game this Thursday at Onondaga CC.

Cortland’s next home game is July 16 against Rome in a 3 p.,m. start on Greg’s Field.