Dawgs clinch playoff spot

Times Sports Editor

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs got a walk-off hit from Greg Fazio in Friday’s first game then clinched a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoff berth behind Anthony Pastrana as they swept a doubleheader from the Elmira Pioneers.

Pastrana, making his third start of the summer, faced the minimum of 21 batters for a seven-inning game and shut the Pioneers out 8-0. Mohawk Valley had beaten Elmira 4-3 earlier and East Division-leading Amsterdam’s 4-2 win over Albany knocked the Dutchmen into a third-place tie with Glens Falls.

Pastrana was overpowering in his two-hitter, striking out seven batters while walking one and hitting none. T.J. Dixon singled to start the game and was thrown out by Andy LaLonde trying to steal second base. Pastrana walked Taylor Skerpon in the third and picked him off to end the inning. Drew Fisher had the other Elmira hit with one out in the sixth and was erased when Skerpon hit into a double play.

Pastrana had hit seven batters and walked 13 in 18 1/3 previous summer innings split between the rotation and the bullpen.
Elmira went staff game in the nightcap and Mohawk Valley scored against five of the six Pioneer pitchers. Brandon DiOrio pitched a scoreless first inning, Austin Von Herbulis, Zach Pidgeon and Zach Bican each allowed one run, and the DiamondDawgs scored three times against Tucker Rekucki and twice against Anthony Ciango.

Gus Craig scored the first run and drove in the second for Mohawk Valley, Fazio hit a standup two-run triple in the fifth and scored on a hit by Andy LaLonde, Zach Collett and Colin Hawk started the sixth with back-to-back doubles, and Jayson Sullivan completed the scoring with his second sacrifice fly of the game.

Runs had been harder to come by in the first game. Elmira scored twice in the top of the first and not again until the seventh. Eric Strano homered in the first for Mohawk Valley, Fazio doubled and scored the tying run in the third, and Mohawk Valley took a 3-2 lead when Collett doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Craig.

Evan Kissinger, making his second start with a Tuesday relief appearance thrown in, allowed the tying run when three Pioneers bunted for hits to start the seventh inning and Nick Walker hit a sacrifice fly.

The DiamondDawgs picked Kissinger up in the bottom of the seventh. Mike Triller singled with one out, stole second base, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Fazio singled.

Fazio had two hits in each game. Craig Collett and Joe Carcone each added two hits in Game 2.

Chris Kalousdian had three hits and Joey Guaragna had two in Game 1 for Elmira.

Mohawk Valley has the day off Saturday and plays its final home game of the regular season Sunday at 5:05 p.m. against Albany. The DiamondDawgs are on the road for three nights before starting the playoffs.