Sharks make history in Schenectady
LIU baseball blanks Siena for program-record 32nd win
Garrett Yawn and four relievers combined on a shutout and Christopher Wasson doubled home three runs in the opening frame Tuesday.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Yawn’s pitching performance and Wasson’s big hit spearheaded the Long Island University baseball team to its program-record 32nd win, a 5-0 blanking of non-conference foe Siena in Schenectady, N.Y.
“The guys before me set it up,” Wasson said of his first-inning blow.
“The bases aren’t loaded if the guys before me don’t get on. They set (it) up in the inning. And then I got a good pitch to hit and poked it down the line.”
Yawn (2-1) didn’t blink when given the opportunity to pitch the Sharks (32-17) past the 2018 squad’s previous mark for wins.
The lanky 6-foot-4 right-hander yielded four hits and struck out three over the first five innings before a quarter of LIU relievers completed the shutout.
Chris Buehler, Shane Tucker, RJ Latkowski and Kurt Lange each followed with a scoreless frame as Sharks hurlers limited Siena (11-34) to seven hits and didn’t issue a single walk.
“We just controlled the zone well,” Yawn said. “We were ahead in a lot of our counts. When you start ahead, it’s easy to stay ahead.”
Though they have three more Northeast Conference games at Mount St. Mary’s remaining this weekend before the league tournament begins on May 26, these Sharks took advantage of their first shot at the landmark victory.
LIU first baseman Luke Turner, who suffered an ulnar collateral ligament tear and fractured elbow six weeks ago, appeared to return to form Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Desperate to return before his final year with the Sharks was complete, the graduate student is ready to drive LIU toward and through the NEC Championships in Norwich, Connecticut later this month.
“This is my last year of college baseball, so I wanted to make sure I could do everything I could to get back on the field,” said Turner.
“It took a little while to see some pitches and get back in the swing of things in terms of getting my approach back and working through pain while I’m up to bat. It’s slowly getting back. The last game I was pretty successful.”
But it was Wasson’s big hit that paved the way for the Sharks say they have no peer in LIU baseball history as far as regular season wins are concerned.
“That’s a goal we had from the beginning of the season — to get to 32 wins,” he revealed. “To get it with three games left and headed into the playoffs is big for us.”
SHARK BITES: Tucker, who hadn’t appeared in a game since April 12, tossed a scoreless seventh inning with one strikeout, needing just nine pitches to escape the frame. … Wasson finished with two hits and two runs scored for the Sharks, who were scheduled to be in Emmitsburg, Maryland Thursday for the opener of their three-game set vs. The Mount. … Though they own the best overall record in the NEC, the Sharks are only one game in front of second-place Bryant (15-9) for the best record in the conference and the top seed in the NEC tournament. The Bulldogs split six meetings with the Sharks this year. They will be hosting Wagner for three games this weekend in Smithfield, Rhode Island with a chance to climb over LIU.
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