Baseball rolls to Jackie Robinson Game win over Utica

From left, Utica coach Joe Milazzo, Utica MVP JT Ross, Hamilton MVP Brett Mele '17, Hamilton coach Tim Byrnes.
From left, Utica coach Joe Milazzo, Utica MVP JT Ross, Hamilton MVP Brett Mele '17, Hamilton coach Tim Byrnes.

The Hamilton College baseball team beat local rival Utica College 12-3 Tuesday afternoon at Hamilton's Loop Road Baseball/Softball Complex in the 30th playing of the annual Jackie Robinson Game. The game, which is sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Frontiersmen, began in 1987 on the 40th anniversary of Robinson breaking major league baseball's color line.

Brett Mele '17 went three-for-four -- singling, doubling and tripling -- and finished with four runs batted in. He was named game MVP for the Continentals (15-16 overall), while Utica's JT Ross was selected for the visitors. Utica, now 18-15, has lost three in a row.

Hamilton has now won two straight Jackie Robinson games, outscoring Utica 31-12 in those contests. The Continentals trail the Pioneers 16-14 all-time in Jackie Robinson games.

The Continentals jumped out to a 10-0 lead after five innings, finishing with 15 hits and five stolen bases. Mele and Jordan Northrup '19 each collected a double and triple. They both tripled in a pair of runs during Hamilton's seven-run fourth. Craig Sandford '19, Robert Morris '17 and Griffin Small '17 each hit a run-scoring single in the inning.

Sandford had two hits and drove in two runs. Small singled twice and scored two runs. Andrew Haser '17 added two hits as well.

Chris Keane '20, the first of six Hamilton pitchers in the nine-inning game, earned the win to improve to 2-0. He threw two innings, allowing just one base runner (who reached on an error). Brett Sandford '19 struck out four batters in 2.1 innings of work. Callum Slater '20 and Jared Weisman '19 each shut out the Pioneers over a combined 2.2 innings.

Kenny Collins '17 stole three bases to raise his NESCAC-leading total to 24. He was hit by a pitch with one out in the first and stole second and third before scoring on Mele's sacrifice fly. Mele and Haser singled home seventh-inning runs to close out Hamilton's scoring.

Stephen Soria had two of Utica's eight hits. He drove home the first two Pioneer runs with a pinch-hit single in the sixth. Utica added a run in the ninth on doubles by Jacob Gaboriault and pinch-hitter Matthew Leviton.