Four games into its Big 10 baseball schedule, Schenectady is already halfway home.
Mike Randazzo slugged a pair of run-scoring triples, Kyle Mohr worked five effective innings and the Patriots posted a 9-5 win over rival Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons Friday to complete their second league sweep.
The Patriots took two from Albany to begin Big 10 play before beating the Golden Knights Wednesday, 13-0, and again in the rematch where they were outhit, but not outslugged.
“This is a pleasant surprise for me. It’s a good way to start,” coach John Isabella said after his Patriots collected five extra-base hits, stole six bases and scored in five of their seven at-bats. “We need eight wins for the sectionals, which is our primary goal, and we’re halfway there. Granted, it’s still a long way to go.”
Schenectady (4-1 overall) won only four league games last season.
“Last year, we had five seniors on the team that didn’t get to play in the sectionals,” said Randazzo, a first baseman who was 3-for-3 with a walk and four runs scored. “This year, we have six seniors, and we want to do something with this team.”
Randazzo did something special with two triples to deep right field, his first giving Schenectady a quick lead in the top of the first and his second drive coming in a four-run third as the visitors opened up a 6-1 lead.
Randazzo legged out his first varsity triple in Monday’s 8-1 win against Albany, when Mohr struck out 10.
“They were right down the middle,” Randazzo said of pitches by ND-BG ace Kyle Garrison. “I saw their right fielder was playing in a little bit, and I wanted to slap it the other way. Both times, it just carried.”
“He’s really been on the ball in our first four games, and he doesn’t get cheated,” Isabella said of Randazzo, his cleanup batter. “He’s one of the guys who struggled last year. He’s done a lot of work, and it’s paid off for him.”
Nick Patierne smacked another triple for Schenectady, and Jeremy Kent followed with his second double to extend its lead to 8-2 in the sixth. Pinch hitter Justin Parsons added an RBI single in the seventh.
“Coach has the lineup set pretty good, and we’re seeing pitches,” said Randazzo. “I think a big thing so far is, we’re watching curves. We’re hanging in there and not backing out.”
“We’re swinging the bats and the confidence is high,” said Isabella. “We’ve got some momentum.”
Schenectady takes on two of the league’s elite teams in its next two series, facing Christian Brothers Academy and then LaSalle. CBA is the defending Big 10 champion.
“The next four games will be a true test for us, and we’ve got some good teams after that,” said Isabella. “I’m looking forward to the challenge coming up over the next few weeks.”
Schenectady had 11 hits and Bishop Gibbons (1-5, 3-5) totaled 13, all of them singles. Cameron Peterson had four of them and knocked in two runs, and Javier McHugh had two hits and two RBI.
“We didn’t come through with the clutch hitting we needed,” said Bishop Gibbons coach Dwight Doepel. “They had key hits with guys on base.”
The Golden Knights also had a runner picked off at first by Mohr and another tagged out at third after getting caught in a rundown.
“Those are the things that hurt,” said Doepel. “We didn’t make errors in the field like we did Wednesday, but we made running errors.”
Mohr struck out six, walked two and gave up eight hits, including RBI singles to Peterson in the first and McHugh in the third. Peterson and McHugh both picked up their second RBI single in the seventh against Pats’ reliever Zach Porto.
Greg Dobies singled in front of Randazzo’s RBI triples. Giuseppe Carlberg had an RBI single in the first, and Tyrone Cassetta hit a two-run single in the Pats’ big third inning and had an RBI groundout in the fifth.
“Winning our first four games is great, but we’re not going to get cocky about it,” said Randazzo. “There’s still a long way to go. What it does is make us feel we’re a pretty good team. We can walk into our next game with our heads held high.”
Stefano Knapp and Scott Voelker both had two hits for the Knights, and second baseman Mike Mattice turned in the game’s best defensive play to end the third when he snared a hot bouncer barehanded and fired to first.
Schenectady 204 011 1 — 9 11 1
Bishop Gibbons 101 000 3 — 5 13 0
Mohr, Porto (6) and Patierne; Garrison, Goca (7) and Voelker.