By Matt Troll
CANANDAIGUA -- With one out and two runners on, Finger Lakes CC, tied at one in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two of a doubleheader with Tompkins Cortland CC on Thursday, had its eyes set on completing a sweep of the visiting Panthers.
On a sunny, pleasant afternoon in Canandaigua, Finger Lakes, after already notching a 5-0 shutout of TC3 in the opener of the twinville, were looking to gather a four-game win streak at day's end. With centerfielder Joey Simmons standing on third base, the winning run was just a mere 90 feet away from home plate.
After being moved to third on a Nate Eastman single, Lakers catcher Dylan Catlin made his way to the dish with one thing in mind and that was to bring Simmons in to secure Finger Lakes fourth win in a row. The fifth hitter in the lineup wouldn't disappoint. He found his pitch to hit and drove the ball past the Panthers third baseman. Reaching base on a single, Catlin's swing, which found left field, drove Simmons in for the game-winning run.
After Simmons crossed the plate, the Lakers, who gathered a 2-1 game two victory, picked up a pair of conference wins on Thursday. Both wins improved Finger Lakes record to 6-12. In conference play, it now stands at 2-2 on the season.
The nightcap, in addition to the opener, saw a pair of Lakers go the distance on the mound. Game two starter Dakota Stackhouse continued to deliver in his sophomore year. Backed by the superb hitting of Troy Loparco, Simmons, Eastman, and Catlin, Stackhouse, as the winning pitcher, struck out five Panthers, while surrendering just one walk on one earned run. The victory pushed the right-hander's 2013 record to 2-2.
Loparco went a perfect 3 for 3 with his bat out of the seventh hole. Simmons, in the 2-1 win, went 3 for 4 with his stick. His three-hit effort pushes his batting average to .358 (leads the team). The three hitter's solid hitting was followed by Eastman's two-hit showing in the cleanup spot. The 6-foot-5-inch first baseman, along with Catlin, both went 2 for 4.
Stackhouse's outing was one of two gems that were had on the hill by the Lakers. Game one starter Kevin Carpentier kicked off the duo of games by launching a dazzling performance on the rubber. The righty, over seven innings pitched, put down seven Panthers via the strikeout. He failed to allow a single walk or earned run all while scattering just three hits. The victory was the first of Carpentier's collegiate pitching career. On the season, he now stands at 1-0.
Game one moved along quickly as the score read 0-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Thanks to three runs in the fifth followed by two more in the second half of the sixth, Finger Lakes went on to secure a 5-0-shutout victory.
The Lakers offense in game one was highlighted by the two-hit efforts of Simmons, Branden Rhodes, and Danny D'Eletto. In a game where TC3's defense committed five errors, Simmons, Rhodes, and D'Eletto, each went 2 for 3 with their bats. The three of them accounted for six of the Lakers seven hits. Catlin recorded the remaining hit for Finger Lakes.
Adding a pair of steals out of the leadoff spot in the opener for the Lakers was Aaron Freida.
Finger Lakes, with its wins over TC3, will look to build upon its four-game win streak when it takes the field again this Saturday against Niagara County CC at home. Matching up with the No. 10 Thunderwolves in a doubleheader, the Lakers and Niagara County will begin game one at 1 pm.
All four of the Lakers victories during their current win streak have come on their own field. Finger Lakes, in addition to the outings of Stackhouse and Carpentier, has now received four quality outings in a row out of its starting pitchers.