LOUDONVILLE — Just when you thought the Plattsburgh State baseball team had suffered enough heartbreaking losses.
The Cardinals were just three outs away from their biggest SUNY Athletic Conference win of the season and a huge boost in the league standings Sunday afternoon
But in a season filled with frustration and bad luck, the bounce of the ball didn’t go the Cardinals’ way for what has seemed like an eternity.
Conference leader Cortland (21-6, 9-1) rallied for three runs in the bottom on the ninth inning and stunned Plattsburgh (9-17, 4-8), 5-4, overcoming a gritty pitching performance by the Cardinals’ Mike Vargues.
“It was a heartbreaking loss, for sure,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said. “I’m disappointed, but how can I be mad at anyone. The players did everything they could do. We did a lot of good things today and showed we can play with the best teams.
“Cortland was able to beat us at the end and I can live with that, even though I keep replaying the ninth inning in my mind.”
Plattsburgh went 1-3 in conference play on the weekend, with all three losses being by one run.
Vargues, who threw 140 pitches in the game, allowed 10 hits, walked four and struck out two. He battled throughout and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
But Nick Hart was safe on an infield error to open the inning and Donny Castaldo followed with a single. Mark DeMilio bunted the runners over and Anthony Iacomini then delivered a two-run single and took second on a wild pitch. Max Rosing was walked intentionally before P.J. Rinaldi singled to right field on a 2-2 pitch to drive in the game’s winning run.
“It was a great performance by Mike and a tough one for him to lose,” Doorey said. “The error that started the inning was a tough play. Chris (Pescetti) had to go to his backhand and it wasn’t an easy play. Then they got a two-strike hit, bunted the two runners over and then got a big hit to tie it.