The baseball team started the season on a low note as it dropped its first two games during the Long Island Tournament. However, despite the losses, two players were awarded weekly awards by the Liberty League.
RPI’s season opener against St Joseph’s College–Long Island started well for the Engineers. After a hitting single to center field, advancing to second on a ground out by junior Tanner Boucher, and going to third on a passed ball, junior Jonny Rio scored on another passed ball. Then in the third, senior Kyle Kopacz hit a leadoff triple and scored on the ensuing sacrifice fly by classmate Cody Vincent.
The bottom of the third was the turning point for St Joseph’s as RPI lost the momentum it had, as well as the lead. Senior pitcher Dan Duval failed to get an out in the inning as the Engineers gave up four runs in the frame. After a single and consecutive errors, St Joseph’s Dennis Nover stole home for the first run of four. Those runs would be all St Joseph’s would need for the win.
Even though RPI got another run in the fourth thanks to Boucher, its opponents would add another two runs in the sixth and three runs in the eighth. Duval would be tagged with the loss, giving up four runs—three earned—during his two innings.
RPI attempted to bounce back from the loss with a better performance against Farmingdale State College. Junior Mike Campisi was the starting pitcher for the Engineers and put in a solid five innings, giving up only one run on three hits. His counterpart, Farmingdale senior Chris Phelan, went the full nine innings while holding the Engineers to only seven hits and one run.
After four scoreless innings, RPI sophomore Eric Kozak hit a triple to start the fifth. Kozak would then open the scoring, heading home after a ground out by senior Kyle LaVigne. Unfortunately, that was all RPI could get as the team left a man on third after another triple, this one by sophomore Andrew Kalish. Farmingdale would respond in the bottom half of the inning, scoring a run on a single to right.
The Engineers would then lose right at the end as Farmingdale scored with two outs in the ninth. Freshman Thomas Rydzewski reached first after an error and then took second on a passed ball. After a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly by freshman Ryan Levine would bring Rydzewski home for the Farmingdale victory.
Despite the Engineers’ 0-2 start, Campisi received the Liberty League Pitcher of the Week award. Even though Campisi pitched a no-decision against Farmingdale, his five innings of work put RPI in a position to win. He surrendered only three singles and one run while striking out three. Kozak received the league’s Player of the Week honors as he went 3-4 against Farmingdale. Kozak scored RPI’s only run after his triple in the loss.
The team now heads down to Florida over Spring Break for the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational, where it will play eight games in preparation for its Liberty League opener against the Rochester Institute of Technology on March 24.