Andrew Huffman shook off the rust and delivered on Wednesday afternoon for the Brockport Golden Eagles (Photo By Brockport Athletics)
BROCKPORT, N.Y. --- The Brockport Golden Eagles had everything going for them coming into Wednesday's afternoon match-up against RIT. And graduate student Andrew Huffman continued the narrative, going 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and four hits as the Golden Eagles extended their winning streak to six with a 5-1 win over the RIT Tigers from the Clark V. Whited Complex.
Right from the jump, Huffman was on cruise control. The Kerhonkson, New York native allowed only one man to reach base through the first three innings.
But RIT's Matt Vitro matched Huffman blow for blow on the mound, allowing only Nicholas Pastore and Tom Kretzler to reach base for the Golden Eagles.
With both teams tugging for control, it was only a matter of time before one side would overwhelm the other. And in the bottom of the third, Brockport took the momentum and ran with it.
After starting the inning with a walk, Justin Pangburn stole second base with ease. And one out later, Matt O'Dair knocked Pangburn in with an RBI single, giving Brockport a 1-0 lead. O'Dair came into Wednesday's game leading the Golden Eagles in RBI's with 15.
Brockport was not finished in the inning either, as Pastore ripped his second double of the afternoon to plate O'Dair to extend Brockport's lead, 2-0. Pastore's double came after RIT pulled Matt Vitro from the bump due to an injury involving his throwing hand, replacing him with Reagan Farley.
With a 2-0 lead going into the fourth, the momentum seemed to be on Huffman's side. But the upperclassmen ran into some trouble the second time through RIT's lineup. Huffman started the inning by hitting leadoff man Randy Dodig with a pitch, and Blackall advanced him to third on his second hit of the day with a double in the gap.
With power hitter Ian Libby in the box, Huffman looked to be in some serious trouble. But he forced Libby into a sacrifice fly to Pastore in center field, plating Dodig and cutting Brockport's lead to one, 2-1.
However, Huffman stepped up to the challenge after the sacrifice fly, forcing a flyout and strikeout to keep Brockport's lead at one.
But once the Brockport bats went quiet in the bottom of the fourth, Huffman's command fell off in the top of the fifth. With one out in the inning, Zach Mecca singled and advanced to second on Huffman's only wild pitch of the game, giving RIT the tying run on second.
Once again, Huffman kept his composure, forcing a lineout and groundout to shortstop to keep the Tigers at bay.
But in the top of the sixth, Huffman looked to be running out of gas and losing his command. After recording two consecutive outs, the Tigers loaded the bases with a walk, single, and a hit-by-pitch. With the fatigue setting in, head coach Justin Beach pulled Huffman for relief pitcher Nick Lawlor.
And with the game on the line, the graduate student forced Chris Reilly to pop out to second basemen Nick Debrino to keep Brockport ahead for good.
Postgame, Huffman credits his teammates for his strong pitching performance.
"These guys, you can count on them. We're hitting our stride here with our defense and pitching," Huffman said.
Game two was much of the same for the Golden Eagles, as they took a 2-0 victory over the Tigers to improve their win streak to seven-straight.
Both wins propel Brockport to a 10-2 record on the season. The Golden Eagles have two days off before they head to Fredonia to face the Blue Devils on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at noon.