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March 30, 2013

Cardinals meet Cortland in home opener

PLATTSBURGH — Not all was disappointing for the Plattsburgh State baseball team on its annual trip to Florida.

Despite finishing with a 3-7 record in the RussMatt Invitational to fall to 3-9 overall, the Cardinals received several strong pitching performances.

The pitching will need to be even better this weekend when Plattsburgh opens its home schedule with a three-game set with SUNY Athletic Conference power Cortland, currently the No. 2-ranked team in the country in Division III.

The two teams play a doubleheader today, beginning at noon, at Chip Cummings Field and have a single game at noon on Sunday.

Kyle Kelly (0-2, 3.00 ERA), Brian Burns (2-0, 0.98 ERA) and Corey Grossman (0-2, 1.13 ERA) will likely get the pitching starts for the Cardinals.

“We’re excited about our pitching,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said. “When you get good pitching, you usually win if you can score some runs.

“When the pitching is bad early in the season, it tends to stay that way. But we got great performances from different guys in Florida. Kelly, Burns and Grossman all pitched well, as well as Scott Orr (0-1, 0.00 ERA). We had five starters who pitched well.”

The Red Dragons (13-4, 3-0), however, will provide an even greater test.

Cortland has nine regulars batting .300 or better and three — Zack Graczyk (.438), Max Rosing (.412) and P.J. Rinaldi (.404) — who are hitting over .400. Brian Barry and Chris Jackson are both at .344.

“Cortland is Cortland,” Doorey said. “They’re the best team in the league, the best team in the region and arguably the best team in the country. They are very solid offensively.”

The Red Dragons are 3-0 in the conference following 8-1, 5-1 and 6-2 victories over New Paltz State.

“We have to keep the games low-scoring ones,” Doorey said. “We have to play our best baseball in order to beat them.

“Our players are always excited to play Cortland. For Cortland, it’s probably just another game against an upstate New York team.”

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