FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Vargues played Houdini on Saturday.
The Plattsburgh State reliever escaped two jams and pitched the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over UMass-Boston to open their annual trip to the Gene Cusic Classic with their first win of the season.
J.D. Jenkins started on the mound for Plattsburgh (1-4) and didn’t have his best stuff, allowing three runs, six hits and five walks.
In the fifth, Jenkins loaded the bases with nobody out and hit the next batter to force in a run and tie the game, at 3-all.
“J.D. didn’t have the same velocity he had last week in his start and there were guys on base every inning against him,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said.
Vargues, a junior, then took over and was up to the task as he avoided further damage with a strikeout, infield pop and infield grounder.
“Mike didn’t give up another run in the fifth and that was big for us,” Doorey said. “He did a great job.”
The reliever retired the side in the sixth before allowing two runners in the seventh and then getting a double play to end the inning.
“We turned a nice double play to get out of that inning,” Doorey said. “They were stealing second base and second baseman Jonathan Repetto went over to cover. The ball was hit up the middle, Repetto caught it, tagged the runner and then threw to first all in one motion.
“If they didn’t have a hit-and-run going on the play, it probably would have been an RBI single up the middle.”
Plattsburgh, which stranded more than its share of runners, broke the 3-all tie with two in the top of the eighth.
Yuya Osawa singled with one out, stole second and both Mat Chavez and Luke Weaver drew walks to load the bases. The Beacons got the second out of the inning and it looked as though the Cardinals might strand three more.