WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Feeling at least a little better about things, Plattsburgh State baseball coach Kris Doorey joked about his team’s hitting — or lack of — Friday afternoon.
“If we can keep the opponent to zero runs, we have a chance to win the game,” he said.
The Cardinals (3-8, 1-1) continued to struggle at the plate, but opened their SUNY Athletic Conference season with a doubleheader split with Fredonia (2-2, 1-1) at the RussMatt Invitational. Plattsburgh fell 5-3 in the first game and then got a solid pitching performance from Brian Burns for a 3-0 win in the second contest.
The two teams will play a 9-inning conference game today, weather permitting, before the Cardinals head home.
“If the weather is bad, we’ll stay another night and play the following day,” Doorey said.
Burns what was the doctor ordered. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out five in going the seven innings for the shutout.
“Burns was exactly what we needed,” Doorey said. “The only real time he was in trouble was in the second inning when they got a leadoff triple. But shortstop Brian Latulipe threw home on an infield grounder, and John Casten did a good job blocking the plate to get the runner out.
“They didn’t get another runner to third base.”
Plattsburgh took the lead on Shane Houppert’s run-scoring double in the second inning. Then in the third, Luke Weaver singled in a run and another runner crossed the plate on an infield error.
“We did just enough offensively,” Doorey said. “In the fourth inning, we had the bases loaded and nobody out. They brought in another pitcher, and he got two strikeouts and an infield grounder. We didn’t score.”
Mat Chavez, Weaver, Mike Mulvihill, Casten, Houppert and Jimmy Rosario accounted for the Plattsburgh hits in Game 2.
It was more frustration in the first game as Plattsburgh stranded 12 runners in the 9-inning game.
“It was the same old, same old,” Doorey said. “We had a 1-0 lead at one time and the opportunities to make it a lot more. But we didn’t.
“Kyle Kelly pitched five perfect innings for us, retiring the first 15 batters, before giving up two runs in the sixth.”
Plattsburgh, trailing 5-2, made it interesting in the seventh inning only to fail to get hits and execution in the clutch.
“We scored a run to make it 5-3 and had runners on first and second with nobody out,” Doorey said. “But we failed to get a bunt down to move the runners. Little things like that are catching up to us, and that’s the difference between winning and not winning.
“We’re young, but we can’t keep using that as an excuse. The bottom line is that we should have been ahead by more than one run.”
Weaver, Latulipe and Mulvihill led the Cardinals with two hits each, with Mulvihill driving in two runs and Weaver scoring twice.
Still, Doorey will take a 1-1 start over a 0-2 start to begin conference play.
“These are the games that count the most,” he said. “It’s a big game for us (today).
“I think the players will be a little more relaxed now, even though they know they should have won the first game.”
Corey Grossman is expected to get the pitching start for Plattsburgh.
Fredonia 5, Plattsburgh 3
Fredonia 000 002 120 — 5 9 2
Plattsburgh 001 000 101 — 3 8 1
Larson, Jordan (7) and Sheehan. Kelly, Doughtie (7) and Corea (8) and Casten. WP- Larson. LP- Kelly. Sv- Jordan. 2B- Fetes (F), Sheehan (F).
Plattsburgh 3, Fredonia 0
Fredonia 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
Plattsburgh 012 000 x — 3 6 2
Morris, Grey (4) and Sheehan. Burns and Casten. WP- Burns. LP- Morris. 2B- Fetes (F), Houppert (PSU). 3B- Lowe (F).