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Plattsburgh State-s Kyle Kowalowski takes his lead at first base as Cortland pitcher Mike Zgorzelski delivers to the plate during the first game of Thursday-s SUNYAC twinbill at Chip Cummings Field. The Red Dragons broke open a close game for a 13-6 win in the opener before the Cardinals pulled out an improbable 8-7, nine-inning victory in the nightcap

PLATTSBURGH -- State University of New York Athletic Conference power Cortland was close to putting the finishing touch on Plattsburgh State in a doubleheader at Chip Cummings Field Thursday.

The Red Dragons, who recorded a 13-6 victory in the opener, held a seemingly-safe 6-0 lead after five in the nightcap.

The Cardinals, however, battled back with a run in the sixth and five more in the seventh to force extra innings.

And, after each team scored a run in the eighth, Plattsburgh State pushed across the winning run in the ninth on John Campbell's squeeze bunt for an improbable 8-7 win and the Cardinals' first victory over Cortland since May 10, 1976.

"We've had some tight games with Cortland in the past, even the first game today when it was 4-3 going into the eighth," said Plattsburgh State head coach Kris Doorey. "That wasn't really a 13-6 game.

"This was a great win for us, especially after the first game. It was kind of fitting that we won the way we did because that's the way we play.

"This is one of those games that can give us a lift, not just right now but forever. We haven't been able to get past these guys and got the monkey off our back today."

The split left the SUNYAC regular season champion Red Dragons, who are currently ranked No. 3 in the country in Division III. at 11-3 in the conference and 29-4 overall. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are 5-5 in the SUNYAC and 19-11 overall.

In the second game, Cortland standout right-hander Jimmy Dougher pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out four.

The Red Dragons then went to their bullpen and ended up using eight pitchers the rest of the way.

"The game was over -- we hadn't done anything and showed no signs of life," Doorey said. "I'm sure that played into them taking Dougher out.

"But, their relief pitching helped us get back in it and we took advantage of our opportunities. We finally had some bounces go our way against Cortland.

"We're a pretty good team -- but just not on a consistent basis."

Plattsburgh State scored one in the sixth to cut it deficit to 6-1 when John Coleman singled, stole second and scored on Todd Hughes' double.

Then, in the seventh, the Cardinals loaded the bases on singles by Jared Jarvis and Campbell, along with a walk to Zack Welch. Donny Coolidge was hit by a pitch to force in one run and pinch-hitter Kyle Kowalowski was also hit by a pitch to force in another.

Hughes then cleared the bases with a three-run double to tie the game. Hughes later tried to score the game-winning run on Jarvis' single, but was thrown out at the plate.

Cortland regained the lead in the eighth on Jim Basnight's RBI single, but Plattsburgh tied it in the home half of the inning on Coolidge's base hit to drive home Campbell.

Cortland threatened to regain the lead in the ninth, but shortstop Campbell, with the infield drawn in, made a diving stop on a grounder with a runner on third to get the out at first. The Cardinals would later get out of the inning with a strikeout.

Then, in the home half, Hughes rapped a triple and both Paul Strang and Jarvis were walked intentionally. Campbell then put down a two-strike squeeze bunt to plate Hughes and give Plattsburgh State the dramatic win.

Hughes led the Cardinals with three hits and four RBI, while Campbell also had three hits, Coleman and Jarvis added two apiece. Billy Davis, who pitched one inning in relief, got the win.

"We were able to get a lot of contributions," Doorey said. "Role players like Jarvis and Coolidge came up with some big hits for us."

Steve Nickel and Anthony Coromato paced the Red Dragons with three hits each.

In the opener, the Cardinals rallied for a 4-3 lead with three runs in the sixth.

Cortland, however, broke it open with seven runs in the eighth and added three more in the ninth on a long three-run homer Mike Zaccardo, who finished the game with five hits, three runs scored and three RBI.

The Red Dragons rapped out 19 hits in all. Ryan Hooper picked up the win in relief, while Matt Kelley took the loss in relief.

The Cardinals finished with nine hits, with Matt Dahlin the lone Plattsburgh State player with two.

Ryan Tracy started for the Cardinals and allowed three runs over the first five innings.

"Tracy did a great job," Doorey said. "He then had to man up and give us an inning in relief in the second game."

Plattsburgh State closes out the SUNYAC regular season with a home doubleheader with Oswego on Saturday and on the road for two at SUNYIT on Sunday.

"We talked to the players after today's games," said Doorey. "It was great for us to win, but we need to be ready on Saturday and win two."

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Cortland 13, Plattsburgh 6

Cortland 010 020 073 -- 13 19 2

Plattsburgh 001 003 002 -- 6 9 3

Zgorzelski, Hooper (6), Hauck (9), Baker (9) and Zaccardo. Tracy, Painter (6), Kelley (7), Davis (8) and Humphrey. WP- Hooper. LP- Kelley. 2B- Merriweather (C), Zaccardo (C) 2, Nickel (C), Coolidge (PSU), Coleman (PSU). HR- Zaccardo (C).

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Plattsburgh 8, Cortland 7 (9)

Cortland 400 200 010 -- 7 14 0

Plattsburgh 000 001 511 -- 8 13 4

Dougher, Serio (6), Limbach (6), O'Leary (7), Baker (7), Rockfeld (8), DeVito (8), Rowlands (9), Hauck (9) and Gardner, Zaccardo (8). Gent, Dahlin (3), Painter (4), Van Houten (7), Tracy (8), Davis (9) and Welch. WP- Davis. LP- Rowlands. 2B- Basnight (C), Vitalone (C), Hughes (PSU) 2. 3B- Gardner (C), Hughes (PSU).

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