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Spartans Sweep Behind Laird’s Walk-Off

The Spartans mob Jacob Laird after the shortstop smacked a walk-off single up the middle in extra innings Saturday against Genesee CC.
The Spartans mob Jacob Laird after the shortstop smacked a walk-off single up the middle in extra innings Saturday against Genesee CC.

Great starting pitching and Jacob Laird's bases-loaded, walk-off single in extra innings gave Cayuga Community College Baseball a home sweep of Genesee Community College on Saturday.

After the Cougars intentionally walked Perry Chetney and Juan Perez to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Laird lined the first pitch into centerfield, scoring Brandon Hoftijzer to give Cayuga a 5-4 win. In the opener, Matt Rumney earned his first win of the season with a complete game five-hitter to guide Cayuga to a 6-3 final.

The Spartans are now 4-4 on the season, with all four wins coming in Mid-State Athletic Conference play.

Coach John Rizzo credited Laird with coming through in a high-pressure situation, and said the game-winning hit was set-up by Hoftijzer going from first to third on a bunt earlier in the inning.

"We're keeping with the theme of improving by playing quality teams, and we had two close games today. You have to learn how to win those games, and we did today," said Rizzo. "We played clean defensively, ran the bases well with a couple mistakes, and we had unbelievable starting pitching from Rumney and Austin Miller."

In the opener, Genesee scored in the second inning but the Spartans knotted the score at one when Luca D'Emilio scored Perez on a sacrifice fly. Cayuga led a 2-1 game in the bottom of the sixth before the lineup exploded for four runs, with Perez singling home Bradley Soto Diaz and Alex Gaudet's two-out double scoring two.

Rumney allowed just five hits and three earned runs in the complete game win. Perez and Chetney went two-for-three, with Perez scoring twice. Five other Spartans had hits in the game.

Miller dominated for most of the second game, surrendering two runs in the first inning before allowing only one baserunner through the next five innings. Cayuga tied the game at two in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Hoftijzer, then went ahead 4-2 in the fifth on Perez's two-run triple.

Miller retired the first two batters in the seventh, but Genesee put two runners on and rallied to tie the game at four. In the eighth inning, Hoftijzer walked and moved to second when Mike DeRosa bunted. Realizing the Cougars had no one at third base after they fielded the bunt, Hoftijzer raced to take the extra bag on the sacrifice. With two outs, Genesee elected to walk Chetney and Perez to create a force-out option at each base before Laird ended the game with the walk-off single.

Perez went three-for-three with three RBI, a double and triple, and Chetney went one-for-two with a double and two runs scored. Gaudet and D'Emilio went one-for-three, with D'Emilio scoring once. Miller threw seven innings, striking out four and allowing five hits. Brantley Griggs threw one scoreless inning of relief for the win.

Cayuga is on the road Sunday, March 17, at Monroe Community College. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.