ONEONTA – The sixth-seeded State University of New York at New Paltz softball team saw its season come to an end on Friday morning at SUNY Oneonta’s Red Dragon Softball Field, losing by a 6-3 final to fifth-seeded Buffalo State in its second game at the double-elimination State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament.
The New Paltz-Buffalo State game began Thursday evening, but due to thunderstorms, the game was suspended in the top of the third. The Hawks were forced into the Thursday elimination game after losing, 12-2, in five innings to host and top-seeded Oneonta in the first contest of the day.
New Paltz dropped to 10-24 with the loss, while Buffalo State rose to 19-15 overall. The Bengals will face the loser of the 12:30 p.m. contest between second-seeded SUNY Cortland and third-seeded The College at Brockport at 2:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
Buffalo State struck first, as junior center fielder Joanna Bardak swatted a two-run home run in the first inning to give the Bengals a 2-0 lead. That score would hold until thunderstorms with two outs in the top of the third postponed the contest to Friday morning.
Bardak tripled in a run with an RBI base knock to right center in the fifth, and after junior designated player Kate Brownell was hit by a pitch, sophomore first baseman Sarah Gorski plated Bardak with a groundout to third to put Buffalo State on top, 4-0.
New Paltz capitalized on a Bengal miscue in the top of the sixth to put together a three-run inning. Junior center fielder Alex Verso scored off a throwing error to put the Hawks on the board, while senior pitcher Amber Carozza walked to load the bases. That set up a run-scoring opportunity for junior pinch hitter Nicole Angelo, who drove in a run off an infield single. Junior catcher Shayna Burgess completed scoring in the inning with an RBI single up the middle.
With the Hawks within striking distance, the Bengals put up two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Bardak and Brownell each notched an RBI. Buffalo State induced three groundouts to the shortstop in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
Carozza shouldered the loss, giving up six runs (four earned) off nine hits and two walks while striking out three. Sophomore pitcher Katie Rutcofsky came in and threw two-thirds of an inning of hitless and scoreless relief.
Buffalo State threw three different pitchers, with freshman Alison Novak earning the win in 3 1/3 innings of relief work. Senior pitcher Sam Tilkins was credited with the save.
Sophomore second baseman Jordan Fiore led the Hawks offensively with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate that included one run scored, while Bardak keyed the Buffalo State attack. Bardak was a double shy of the cycle, batting 3-for-4 with four RBI, two runs scored, a home run and a triple.