By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State baseball coach Kris Doorey is feeling more confident when it comes to his team’s offense.
Now his concern is with the pitching staff.
“The players needed to adjust at the plate, and it took a while for them to figure it out,” Doorey said. “They’ve been grinding out some at-bats of late and making pitchers work. That’s part of how we need to play.
“But it’s going to come down to pitching, and there’s only one pitcher on our staff (Brian Burns) who I trust right now. Our pitching kept us in games earlier this season, but some of our pitchers have been struggling of late.”
The Cardinals (9-17, 4-8 SUNYAC), who kept their SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament hopes alive last weekend by taking two of three at Brockport, return to the road for a three-game set at New Paltz (12-14, 8-6). The two play at 3 p.m. today and then in a noon doubleheader Saturday.
“We still have to treat every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series,” Doorey said. “We still control our destiny, but we need to have a successful weekend. We still have a great opportunity.
“We played well last weekend, even though we didn’t get off to a great start. Every player on our team needs to take it upon himself to want to be that guy.”
The Hawks will provide a challenge for the Cardinals.
Anthony Repetto is having a big year at the plate for New Paltz with a .383 batting average, followed by Matt Carr at .315.
The Hawks’ pitching staff is led by Chris Chismar (4-3 record, 2.23 ERA), Andrew Grann (3-4, 3.57) and Chris Pyz (2-1, 3.65). Grann was the starting pitcher in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Oneonta, but Doorey expects to see him this weekend.
“New Paltz has good pitching, especially Chismar, who is one of the best in the conference,” Doorey said. “Even though their batting averages are a little higher than ours, they’re similar to us.”
Meanwhile, Brian Latulipe is the only Plattsburgh regular hitting over .300 with a .322 mark. John Casten is next at .286. Plattsburgh is batting .238 as a team, but that’s better than it was for a good part of the season.
Latulipe and Mike Mulvihill are tied for the team lead in RBI with 12.
Burns (4-1, 1.43) and Scott Orr (0-1, 1.83) have been the most effective pitchers for the Cardinals, who are without the injured Kyle Kelly.
Orr, a freshman, will likely get a start this weekend, along with Burns.
“Even if Burns and Orr pitch deep into their games, we’ll have to piece it together in the third game,” Doorey said.
Taking at least two of three would keep the Cardinals in the playoff hunt. Anything less would pretty much put an end to Plattsburgh’s hopes.
Plattsburgh closes out its conference schedule next weekend, hosting Oswego for three games at Chip Cummings Field.