By JON RATHBUN
Senior Sports Editor
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — Drew Arciuolo made a key defensive play in the top of the fourth then took Sunday’s biggest swing in the bottom of the inning and helped the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs defeat Newark 5-3.
With their win and the Oneonta Outlaws’ 6-3 loss to the Saugerties Stallions, the DiamondDawgs enter the final week of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season alone in second place in the East Division. The loss dropped Oneonta into a third-place tie with the Albany Dutchmen, one game behind Mohawk Valley which trails Amsterdam’s first-place Mohawks by five.
The DiamondDawgs trailed 3-1 after three innings Sunday and Newark’s Pilots threatened to extend their lead. Hinds Community College’s Acy Owen doubled with two outs and tried to score from second base when Saginaw Valley State University’s Jordan Swiss followed with a hit. Arciuolo tracked the ball down in center field and threw home to Fairfield University teammate Kevin Radziewicz in time to cut owen down for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, the bottom of the Mohawk Valley order set the offensive stage for Arciuolo, the DiamondDawgs’ leadoff hitter. Radziewicz singled leading off and Michael Conti, another Fairfield Stag, drew a walk. The runners moved up on a bunt before Arciuolo cracked his first PGCBL home run and gave his team a 4-3 lead.
The DiamondDawgs tacked on a run in the fifth inning and got six innings of scoreless relief from Marist College’s Spencer Bunting, Rutgers University’s Colin Bohnert and Monroe Community College’s Zach Vennaro.
Rutgers’ Mike Martinez led off the fifth inning with a single, advanced on a bunt, and scored when Radziewicz singled to chase Newark starter Ryan Wesson from Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Each team scored a run in the second inning and the Pilots took a 3-1 lead against Southern New Hampshire University’s Brendan Welch in the third.
SUNY-Binghamton’s Darian Herncane scored on a wild pitch in the top of the second, and Mohawk Valley tied the game by loading the bases and scoring on a hit by Garret Kelly fro the University of California-Davis. Newark got a force play at the plate for the first out of the second then turned a double play to prevent the DiamondDawgs from adding to their first run.
The Pilots converted three straight hits into two runs to start the the third inning. Swiss singled leading off and scored on a double by Chris Sharpe from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Sharpe then scored on a hit by Mark Tumosa, his teammate at Lowell.
Bunting got through the fourth inning and turned the ball over to Bohnert after allowing a two-out hit in the fourth. Bohnert allowed one hit over 3 1/3 innings before Vennaro pitched a scoreless ninth and eared his eighth save, Radziewicz had three of the 11 Mohawk Valley hits, and Arciuolo and Ketchmark each had two.
Swiss had two hits for Newark.
The DiamondDawgs have one game that has not been rescheduled but they are slated to play nine games in the final seven days of the regular season with eight — all but Saturday’s rematch with Newark — away from Veterans Memorial Park. The final week starts with back-to-back doubleheaders Monday at Adirondack and Tuesday in Saugerties. Adirondack has lost six of its last eight games and owns the second-worst record in the PGCBL. Saugerties has lost eight of its last 10 games and sits in last place in the East Division.
Despite competing in the same division, Mohawk Valley and Saugerties have not met this season. The DiamondDawgs are 2-1 against Adirondack from the West Division. Mohawk Valley has won five of its last seven road games.
Any win by the DiamondDawgs or loss by Glens Falls will secure a playoff spot for Mohawk Valley.