A bit of this and a bit of that added up to another Big 10 win for Troy’s baseball team Friday.
With successful bunt plays, a couple of key hits combined with seven walks, and six effective innings from Michael DeCarlo, the Flying Horses spoiled Schenectady’s Senior Day celebration with a 6-3 victory at Buck Ewing Field in Central Park.
“From Day 1 of tryouts, we’ve focused on running the bases well, getting guys over and getting them in,” said senior catcher Andrew Houser, whose two-run single in the sixth boosted Troy’s lead to 6-1. “Coach stresses the little things, and we did them well today.”
Troy (11-4, 13-4) took advantage of an error to score its first run, used bunts to set up its next two, and coupled three walks with a pair of hits in a three-run sixth capped by Houser’s blow.
“We harp on the little things. We’ve been saying that since December,” said Troy coach Curtis Nobles. “We focus on the fundamentals.”
Schenectady (8-7, 8-9) displayed its grit in the home seventh when Javar Tillman greeted reliever Jared Gregware with a single, Cole Gozalkowski drilled a run-scoring double to deep left and Nick Patierne picked up his second RBI on a sacrifice fly.
“That team reminds me of the old Schenectady teams,” said Nobles, a former standout at Bishop Maginn. “They’re scrappy. They could have laid down, but they put their best foot forward.”
“Our guys won’t quit, but it was too many,” Schenectady coach John Isabella said of the 6-1 hole his team had dug. “Early on, we gave them too many runs. We made a throwing error and misplayed a bunt, which in my mind goes down as another error. We had that passed ball.
“You can’t do those things against a good team. We’ve got to change this quickly.”
Schenectady starter Greg Dobies struck out Joe Jordan on a pitch in the dirt to start Troy’s second at-bat, but Patierne’s throw to first sailed high and Jordan reached second base before Greg Ruddy singled him home.
Dobies hit Zeb Gaston to begin the third, and Vinny LeClair reached on a bunt single when Dobies and third baseman Cody Shafer miscommunicated and froze on the play. Houser got Troy’s second run home when he hit into a double play, one of three turned by the Patriots.
“Every game, everyone is ready to play,” said Houser. “We get a steal, we get a hit, and its adds up.”
Mike Mannix and Gaston started Troy’s fifth inning with walks, LeClair moved them up on a sacrifice bunt, and Manniz scored on a two-out passed ball.
“Sometimes, bunts are the biggest plays in a game,” said Nobles, whose team successfully executed three of them. “We preach getting them down and getting guys over. Everyone likes to see the long ball, but baseball is more than that.”
Christian Maldanado’s single off Gozalkowski, three walks including Gaston’s with the bases full, and Houser’s drive gave Troy its 6-1 advantage.
“Curtis has got them playing very well. They’re making minimal errors, and at this time of the year, that’s the key,” said Isabella. “They’ve got 11 league wins, and there’s a reason.”
“We knew coming in we had to step up and be ready,” said Gozalkowski, a junior. “They’re a good team.”
Javar Tillman walked to open Schenectady’s third, Justin Parsons advanced him with a sacrifice bunt, and Patierne drove him home with a double.
The Patriots mounted a threat in the fifth when Patierne reached on a two-out fielding error, and Gabe Viscariello beat out an infield single and moved up on a throwing error. Tyrone Cassetta followed with a sinking liner to center that Jordan slid for and snagged.
DeCarlo gave up four hits in his six innings, fanned three and walked a pair.
“The two best outings of his high school career came on this field,” Nobles said of DeCarlo, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior righty. “In his sophomore year he beat these guys here. He likes the mound.”
Schenectady and Troy will resume their suspended game from earlier this week today on the Flying Horses’ field. Troy is up, 1-0, in the third inning.
“We’ve matched up against all of the best Big 10 teams and played them tough. We’re not scared of any team,” said Dobies, one of Schenectady’s six seniors. “Hopefully, we can come back and get them [Troy] and get a little momentum going for the sectionals.”
Troy 011 013 0 — 6 6 2
Schenectady 001 000 2 — 3 6 1
DeCarlo, Gregware (7) and Houser; Dobies, Gozalkowski (5), Kent (6) and Patierne.