By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State baseball team is in dire need of something good happening.
The struggles continued for the Cardinals on Saturday when SUNY Athletic Conference power Cortland swept a pair of 7-0 contests at Chip Cummings Field.
The Red Dragons, who are ranked second in the country in Division III, improved to 16-4 overall and 5-0 in the conference. The Cardinals, meanwhile, fell to 3-11 overall and 1-4 in the SUNYAC.
“It’s hard to be a pitcher on our staff right now because our pitchers need to be perfect,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said. “We gave Cortland some base runners and they took advantage. They were able to manufacture runs.
“Offensively, we’re at a loss. We’re not getting any great at-bats at the start of an inning. We get our hits with two outs.”
In the first game, Mike Hughes blanked the Cardinals on three hits over eight innings to get the pitching win. Kyle Kelly started and took the loss.
Kelly surrendered seven hits, walked three, hit three batters and struck out two while allowing four earned runs in 5.2 innings.
Max Rosing led the Red Dragons’ 13-hit offense with three hits, while Zack Graczyk, P.J. Rinaldi, Chris Jackson and Tim Panetta added two each. Graczyk and Jackson both drove in three runs.
Mike Mulvihill doubled for Plattsburgh, while Luke Weaver, Brian Latulipe and John Casten each singled.
Plattsburgh starter Brian Burns worked out of early trouble in the second game before Cortland pushed across a run in the fourth and added five more in the fifth following a dropped fly ball in right field after two were out.
“I don’t think we played terrible baseball in either game,” Doorey said. “We didn’t play well defensively in the second game and Cortland took advantage to score five runs in the fifth.”
Rinaldi was the lone Cortland player to have two hits in the second game. Burns surrendered two hits, four walks, hit one and struck out four while allowing one earned run over 4.2 innings.
It was Kyle Barkley’s turn on the mound to shut down the Cardinals in the second contest. He allowed three hits, walked three and struck out four in going six innings for the win.
Mulvihill and Mike Vargues each doubled, while Latulipe singled to account for the three Plattsburgh hits.
The Cardinals have now scored three runs or less in 11 of their 14 games.
“Going back to when we played Fredonia, we haven’t scored a run in our last 28 innings in conference play,” Doorey said.
In Saturday’s doubleheader, Plattsburgh pitchers combined to walk nine and hit four batters.
“You can’t be walking or hitting people,” Doorey said. “Especially the way we’re swinging the bats. We don’t have anyone stepping up and getting a big hit right now.
“We’re not getting senior leadership. We’re young and we don’t have any seniors in the middle of the field.”
The Red Dragons and Cardinals close out their three-game weekend set at noon today at Cummings Field.
“It’s back at it again tomorrow (today),” Doorey said.
Corey Grossman gets the pitching start for Plattsburgh today.
Cortland 7, Plattsburgh 0
Cortland 201 002 020 — 7 13 0
Plattsburgh 000 000 000 — 0 4 1
Hughes, McAlary (9) and Panetta. Kelly, Orr (6), Corea (9) and Brighton. WP- Hughes. LP- Kelly. 2B- Graczyk (C) 2, Adornetto (C), Panetta (C), Mulvihill (PSU).
Cortland 7, Plattsburgh 0
Cortland 000 151 0 — 7 6 0
Plattsburgh 000 000 0 — 0 3 4
Barkley, Badanes (7) and Rinaldi. Burns, Doughtie (5), Levinson (7) and Casten. WP- Barkley. LP- Burns. 2B- Graczyk (C), Rosing (C), Mulvihill (PSU), Vargues (PSU. 3B- Jackson (C).