March 20, 2014

Cards start SUNYAC season in Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ready or not, today’s the start of the SUNY Athletic Conference regular season for the Plattsburgh State baseball team.

The Cardinals, in the midst of their annual trip to the Gene Cusic Classic, take on Fredonia in a 10 a.m. doubleheader today and a 4 p.m. contest on Friday to begin the conference season.

Plattsburgh (4-7), which held on for a 6-3 victory over the University of Dubuque on Wednesday, has three more nonconference games — one against Johns Hopkins and two versus Knox College — scheduled before returning north.

“We’re playing positive baseball right now,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said. “We had the big comeback win the other day (against McDaniel College) and played well while winning a close game (Wednesday).

“Last year, we were struggling so bad going into the Fredonia series. Things are going better for us at this time, and we didn’t have to use any our pitchers (Wednesday) who we will use against Fredonia.”

The SUNYAC games take on added importance. There are seven teams in conference baseball, and the top four make the SUNYAC Tournament. The regular season consists of six three-game sets, totaling 18 games, for each team.

Getting off to a good start would only enhance the Cardinals’ playoff chances. The goal is to go 3-0 against the Blue Devils; 2-1 would be acceptable, 1-2 not acceptable and 0-3 an early-season disaster.

“We have to find a way to win the series,” Doorey said. “That’s our first goal. We’d like to put ourselves in position to sweep.”

Fredonia sports a 4-5 season record and last played on Tuesday in a 5-4 setback to Knox College.

“They’re similar to us,” Doorey said. “They’re aggressive on the bases; they steal and hit-and-run like we do. They do some crazy things on the bases in order to score runs. It’s like looking into a mirror.

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