Stark Sparks Laker Baseball To Walk-off Victory

OSWEGO, N.Y. – A walk-off single by Oswego State’s Mike Stark in the bottom of the 11th inning finished off a sweep of pitchers’ duels at Laker Baseball Field Saturday. The 1-0 and 3-2 victories over New Paltz (16-13, 3-7 SUNYAC) extended the Lakers’ (14-15, 5-5) current winning streak to five games.

The scheduled nine-innings in game two were not enough as both team missed chances to score before the Lakers closed the deal.

Oswego State’s Dan Erne (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) and the Hawks’ James McKenna worked through the first five innings without much trouble.

The game changed in the top of the sixth when the first two New Paltz runners reached base before a bunt and a single to center field put the Hawks up 2-0.

The lead was short-lived, though, as the Lakers’ Scott Buniak (So., Clifton Park, N.Y.) reached on an infield single to open the bottom of the sixth and David Mazzullo (Sr., Rochester, N.Y.) blasted a ball over the right field fence to tie the game.

After the Lakers stranded a third runner in the bottom of the sixth, New Paltz was the next team to threaten in the top of the ninth.

The Hawks loaded the bases on a pair of singles and walk with one out, but relief pitcher Mark Schaper (Sr., Warwick, N.Y.) forced a ground ball allowing the Lakers to narrowly turn a double play to end the inning.

Matt Miller (Sr., Montoursville, Pa.) singled to start the bottom of the ninth for Oswego State, but he was stranded to send the game into extra innings.

The Lakers were back on the attack in the bottom of the 10th when Stark (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) drew a lead-off walk.

New Paltz misplayed the ensuing bunt, but handled the second bunt of the inning perfectly and threw Stark out at third.

Following a strikeout, Brian Hamilton (Fr., Liverpool, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but another strikeout ended the inning.

Schaper gave up a lead-off walk in the top of the 11th, but he worked out of the inning with relative ease.

The bottom of the 11th started on a sour note as the first two Lakers were retired. However, an infield single by Steve Roman (Sr., Middletown, N.Y.) gave the home team life.

Roman stole second two pitches later and Stark got the job done. The junior, who had been 0-for-7 on Saturday prior to the at-bat, singled up the middle and when the centerfielder bobbled the ball there was no doubt Roman would score to win the game.

Schaper was credited with the win after striking out two in 2.2 innings, while Erne fanned six in 8.1 innings.

At the plate, Roman and Buniak each had two hits.

In game one, starting pitchers Kyle Miller (Miller Place, N.Y.) and New Paltz’s Chris Chismar were the story. They each struck out seven hitters, while walking one. The two teams combined for nine hits in the seven-inning contest.

The Lakers scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the second when Mazzullo walked to open the inning and advanced to third on a single by Alex Jurczynski (Jr., Schenectady, N.Y.).

That set the table for Hamilton, who’s sacrifice fly to right field was enough to score Mazzullo.

The Hawks put two runners on in the third and fourth innings, but Miller was up to the task in both innings and cruised the rest of the way to earn the game-one victory.

The win was the first SUNYAC doubleheader sweep for the Lakers since April 6, 2008. It also marks their first five-game winning streak since winning the final two games of 2010 and the first three in 2011.