NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University baseball team picked up a split in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) twinbill vs. Anna Maria College on Saturday afternoon at Garrity Field.
Norwich senior pitcher Jake Ryan (Arlington, Mass.) threw a gem in likely his last visit on the bump at home with a six-inning, seven-hit gem to garner his third victory of the season in Game 1.
Ryan surrendered just two earned runs and walked two, while striking out two to earn his fifth career victory and help lead the Cadets (6-21, 4-10 GNAC) to a 4-2 victory in the opener. Anna Maria (17-23, 6-10 GNAC) salvaged the split in the nightcap, downing the Cadets 4-1 and putting NU's playoff chances on life support.
Junior Chris Dayos (Temecula, Calif.) picked up the game-winning RBI single to centerfield that scored Koby Foster (Estill Springs, Tenn.) from second base to put the Cadets up 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Dayos led the Norwich offense with two hits in Game 1. He broke the scoring open with a RBI single to score McGee in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Jacob Barlow (Newburyport, Mass.) brought home senior Mike Lesco (Somers, Conn.) with a RBI single to left field in the bottom of the third to increase the lead to 2-0.
Anna Maria got one back in the top of the fourth with Jason Shell launching a solo home run over the right center field fence to cut the deficit to 2-1. The AMCATS then tied the game in the top of the sixth with Greg Gehring singling to centerfield to score Jackson Dobek and briefly knot the game at 2-2.
Norwich sophomore pitcher Chris Henderson (Stafford, Va.) came on to shut the door in the top of the seventh and earn his first save of the year. He gave up a leadoff single but then retired the next three hitters, including a big strikeout of Adam Twitchell.
In Game 2, Tanner Raymond (Southbury, Conn.) and Anna Maria's Jack Marzec locked up in a pitcher's duel through three innings with neither surrendering a hit.
Anna Maria was the first to crack Raymond though in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs on four hits in the inning. Jake Crevier got on base with a single and then Nick Genatossio and Dobek each worked walks to load the bases. Shell reached on a fielder's choice that scored Crevier to make it 1-0 AMCATS.
Anna Maria then got back-to-back singles from Gehring and Fili Veras to Genatossio and Shell to take a 3-0 lead.
Norwich got a run back in the top of the fifth inning with Koytikh executing a perfect bunt single, pushing it past Marzec to reach first easily. Senior Kevin Lynch (Randolph, Mass.) then laced a single into the left side hole that bounced off the Anna Maria shortstop's glove and then forced a hurried and errant throw to second base. Koytikh was easily safe and second and ended up coming all the way around to score on the play. Lynch ended up at third after an errant throw from right field sailed to the backstop.
The turning point of the game though came on the next play with Lesco hitting a fly ball to right field that was caught and then Lynch was called out at home attempting to tag up and score on the play. Lynch looked like he evaded the tag of Anna Maria's catcher on the play, but the umpire called him out to stifle NU's rally and momentum.
Anna Maria added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning with Noah Holland singling to score Shell to make it 4-1 AMCATS.
Norwich was never able to mount any more serious pressure as Marzec finished up the complete game for his fourth win of the season and struck out seven, while allowing just three hits.
Raymond took the loss after allowing three earned runs on five hits in five innings of work. Junior CJ Davis (South Berwick, Maine) came on in relief for the final two innings, striking out three and allowing one earned run on two hits.
Norwich will host Johnson & Wales on Sunday at noon and 2:30 p.m. in two must-win GNAC games. If the Cadets were to sweep the Wildcats, Norwich would qualify as the final team in the GNAC playoffs by virtue of owning the tiebreaker with Anna Maria with wins over Johnson & Wales. Anna Maria was swept by the Wildcats in its two meetings.