YORK, PA – The York College Spartans waited an unusually long time to make their 2011 home debut. Unfortunately for York, the St. Mary's College Seahawks scored three runs in the eighth inning to spoil the Spartans' home opener, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game Capital Athletic Conference series on Friday.
The Seahawks improve to 11-9 overall and 4-6 in the CAC while the Spartans now stand at 4-9 overall and 3-5 in the league.
The Spartans wasted little time in jumping out to a lead as junior Steve Tretter laced a lead off triple to right center field as the Spartans were in business right away. St. Mary's Starter Devon Jerrard got a pop out and a weak ground out but senior CT Stanley smoked a double to left, scoring Tretter and giving York the early 1-0 advantage.
The Green and White loaded the bases in the second but senior Kyle Cook flew out to deep center to end the threat.
York had another golden chance in the fifth when Tretter singled sharply through the left side to begin the inning. After a Cook lineout to left, Justin Cohen laced a single to center to put Spartans at first and second with one out. Stanley grounded out to advance the runners to second and third but Jerrard coaxed designated hitter Nic Long into a fly out to medium deep centerfield, ending another Spartan scoring chance.
While the Spartan offense continued to get runners on, Spartan senior ace Andy Rosenzweig handcuffed the Seahawks on just one hit through five innings. Rosenzweig did not allow his first hit until Corey Napier singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth.
York got a second run in the seventh as Cook laid down a bunt that Jarrard threw into the right field bullpen, allowing Cook to advance all the way to third. Cohen delivered Cook with a sacrifice fly to deep right as the Spartan lead grew to 2-0.
The Seahawks finally got to Rosenzweig in the eighth. Stefano Muscatelli drew a lead off walk. Bobby Corton then singled through the right side on a well-executed hit and run, putting Seahawks at first and second. Matt Baden then loaded the bases with a nearly perfect bunt down the third base line. Rosenzweig got an RBI ground out from Eric Gronbeck for the first out of the frame. Junior Brandon Ullom relieved Rosenzweig and promptly allowed a double to deep center by Napier as the sophomore gave the Seahawks a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Spartans got a lead off pinch-hit single from freshman Colbe Herr but a fielder's choice followed by a double play ended the Spartan threat in the inning.
Ullom got out of the ninth unscathed, setting the stage for the Spartans to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth. The rally looked promising early as senior Devin Harbold singled on the infield to start the uprising. Freshman Colin Porter sacrificed Harbold to second as the tying run sat 180 feet away. After a lengthy at bat by Tretter, Seahawk reliever Wick Eisenberg coaxed the Spartan centerfielder into a ground ball to short as the Spartans were down to their last out. Cook ended the game when he hit an absolute bullet up the middle that Eisenberg made an amazing stab at, catching the ball and closing out the game. Without Eisenberg's athletic play, the ball likely would have gone right back up the middle and scored Harbold with the game tying run.
Eisenberg earned the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed two hits with one strikeout as he improves to 3-0. Jerrard received a no-decision as he allowed two runs on eighth hits in 6.1 innings of work. He struck out two and walked one for St. Mary's.
Rosenzweig took the loss as he falls to 3-2. However, his line does not indicate how well he pitched. He allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks in his 7.1 innings of action. Ullom was not charged with any runs but did allow Napier's game-winning double. He struck out one and walked one in his 1.2 innings on the hill.
Harbold paced the 10-hit Spartan attack, as he was 3-for-3. Tretter was the other Spartan with multiple hits as he was 2-for-4 with a run scored. His first inning triple was his first three-bagger of the year. Cohen and Stanley each contributed a hit and an RBI for the Spartans.
Napier was the offensive star for the Hawks as he was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Baden and Corton each added a hit and a run scored for St. Mary's.
These two teams get right back to it on Saturday afternoon as they square off in a conference doubleheader in York. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 1:00 pm.
Photo: Steve Tretter delivers one of his two hits in the Spartans' Friday contest against St. Mary's