GLENS FALLS — Nick Jacques had a rough start at the plate in his college baseball career this spring.
The Shenendehowa graduate batted just .143 as a freshman infielder at LeMoyne College.
But as a designated hitter for the Glens Falls Dragons on Thursday night, Jacques gave his summer ballclub a big spark, ripping a two-run single and scoring on an error in the fourth inning.
Those runs gave Glens Falls the early lead and backed up a solid pitching effort by James Varela, as the Dragons defeated the Utica Blue Sox 6-3 at East Field.
Jacques’ own run was actually a bit of a misread of head coach Cameron Curler’s signal at third base. Following his two-out drop-in single, Jacques moved on Brendon Frank’s base hit — and kept going on a throwing error for a 3-0 lead.
“The coach was waving me — I thought he was waving me home, but he was just waving me to take it around,” Jacques said. “I was thinking I might as well go home, and I was lucky enough that he overthrew it, so I was able to get home safely. Lucky coincidence, pretty much.”
Jacques was more than happy to contribute to snapping Glens Falls’ (4-6) three-game losing streak — and get back some confidence after a tough spring with the bat.
“It was just getting used to the grind of playing every single day with balancing schoolwork and all that,” the biology major said. “(Thursday night) I was just trying to see the ball, hit the ball, keep to basics. When you start over-thinking, that’s when the pitcher will beat you.
“It’s definitely good to catch a break here and there, just have to focus on what you have to do and get it done,” Jacques added. “We have nine solid bats in the lineup, so I know if I couldn’t get it done, someone was going to pick me up later in the game. Playing with that kind of comfort behind you is a pretty good feeling.”
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The Dragons also had a pretty good feeling with Varela on the mound. The incoming junior at LIU Post carried a one-hitter through five innings, weathered a rough sixth, and finished his eight innings of work with the win.
“It much better than having a no-hitter — you’ve got that one hit out of the way, and you can keep attacking,” said Varela, who struck out six, walked one and allowed seven hits. “I had a lot of life to my fastball, and I feel I used that to my advantage.”
He also had a few runs to work with after the Dragons’ four-run outburst with two outs in the fourth. Brandon Torres hit an RBI double and Glens Falls added a pair of sac flies for a 6-0 lead.
Utica tagged Varela for five hits and three runs in the sixth, but he settled down in his last two innings.
“I was just rushing my tempo a little too much instead of sitting back for a second and taking a breath, and they took advantage of me for a second,” Varela said.
Glens Falls 6, Utica 3
Utica (3-8) 000 003 000 — 3 7 2
Glens Falls (4-6) 000 420 00x — 6 6 4
WP — Varela (1-1). LP — Kessinger (0-2). 2B — Olmstead (U), Powell (GF), Torres (GF).