Army tops NYIT, 12-1, in home opener

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Chris Rowley matched his career high with 10 strikeouts, and Jacob Page went 2-for-3 with four RBI as Army posted a 12-1 win against New York Tech on Saturday afternoon at Doubleday Field.
Rowley (2-2) allowed just five hits over seven scoreless innings, and Army registered a season-high 16 hits as the Black Knights (5-10) cruised to the victory in their home opener. NYIT falls to 2-11 on the season.
Harold Earls was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Alex Jensen went 2-for-4 with three runs scored to help spark Army's attack. Jon Crucitti, Michael Sands and Daniel Cortes collected two hits apiece for the Black Knights, who led 4-0 after two innings and never looked back.
"I was pleased to see so many guys contribute offensively," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "It was good to see our offense produce 16 hits and 12 runs, but I think there's even more there."
Army took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, pushing across three runs on four hits and one NYIT error. Cortes and Jensen hit consecutive one-out singles, and then executed a double steal. The throw by NYIT's catcher down to third base was errant, allowing Cortes to scamper home with the game's first run. Earls and Page followed with RBI singles to make it 3-0.
Army increased its lead to 4-0 in the second inning when Cortes delivered an RBI single of his own. Crucitti singled with two outs, moved all the way to third base when a pickoff attempt sailed wide, and scored when Cortes singled to center field.
The early run support was more than enough for Rowley, who was in control throughout. The Army ace, who faced just one over the minimum during his final four innings of work, allowed just two runners into scoring position all afternoon.
The Black Knights tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Crucitti came through with an RBI single in the fourth, while Page lofted a sacrifice fly to left field in the fifth.
Army then blew the game open in the sixth inning, sending eight men to the plate and scoring four runs to extend its advantage to 10-0. The Black Knights loaded the bases with one out, and Cortes scored the first run of the frame when NYIT relief pitcher Evan Cohen was called for a balk. Earls followed with a run-scoring single, and Page delivered his second sacrifice fly in as many innings to make it 9-0. Sands capped the rally with an RBI single, grounding the ball through the left side.
NYIT averted the shutout with a run in the top of the eighth on Joshua Canabal's sacrifice fly. Michael Iglesias walked, advanced to third base on Joe Daru's double to deep center field and scored when Canabal hit a fly ball to right field.
Black Knights closed out the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Patrick Mescher reached on an error leading off the inning, and he motored around to third base on Earls' double. Page and Andrew Johnson then produced RBI singles to drive home Mescher and Earls.
NYIT starter Jake Axley (0-3) was tagged for nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and four walks over 5.1 innings. Nick Sebastien went 2-for-4 to pace the Bears' offense, which mustered six hits in the contest.
Army returns to action later today (March 23) when the Black Knights host Columbia at 3 p.m.
Game Notes: Army improves to 12-17-1 all-time versus New York Tech ... Jacob Page established a career high with four RBI ... Blake Burrus made his Army debut, pitching a scoreless ninth inning ... Daniel Cortes matched his career high with six at-bats ... Michael Sands equaled his career high with two hits.