Baseball tackles Rochester Yellowjackets

JUNIOR CHUCK ERICKSON REPRESENTS Rensselaer at the plate during the Engineers’ doubleheaders against the University of Rochester at Robison Field this weekend.

RPI split and swept consecutive doubleheaders against the University of Rochester over the weekend as it improved its record above .500. However, the weekend did not start well with the Engineers’ first game against the Yellowjackets.

The Engineers started off on the wrong foot game one as they surrendered an early run in the second inning. The situation did not improve in the top of the third as Rochester hit a single and then a two-out, two-run homerun to get the 3-0 advantage over RPI. The Engineers responded immediately as they scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to nullify the Yellowjacket lead. Junior Kevin Prosicki was hit by a pitch, and then classmate Jonny Rio hit a double to left field to bring Prosicki to third. Sophomore Andrew Kalish stepped up and hit a bomb to right for the three-run homerun, tying the game for RPI.

In the fifth, Rochester took control of the game with five runs. While RPI was able to add another two to make the game 8-5, the lead was too much to overcome. The Yellowjackets did not take any chances as they extended their lead to the final score of 10-5 with a two-run homerun in the sixth.

In the second game on Saturday, RPI got a solid pitching performance from senior Levi Washburn, who pitched 6.2 innings while only giving up two runs on his way to the victory. In a low-scoring affair, RPI got the game’s first runs in the second inning. An error and a walk put junior Chuck Erickson and senior Cody Vincent on base. A double by sophomore Eric Kozak and a Prosicki sacrifice fly would bring home both runs.

RPI maintained the two-run lead for the rest of the game as Rochester scored twice, only for the Engineers to immediately respond with a run of their own. Washburn picked up the win as RPI came away with a 4-2 victory.

Following a subdued six-run game, the opener on Sunday was filled with runs in a great display from the Engineers. Rensselaer quickly fell behind 5-1 after three innings, with Rochester scoring four in the bottom of the third. However, the Engineers would begin their comeback straight away with their own four-run inning. With two outs, junior Tanner Boucher, Erickson, and senior Markus Delello all were walked. Freshman Jared Jensen walked up to the plate and changed the game with one swing of his bat. His grand slam tied the game at five all and shifted the momentum into RPI’s favor.

RPI would continue to bat well as it took the 8-5 lead with a three-hit, three-run fifth inning. After the Yellowjackets got within one, Kozak hit a two-run homer in the seventh to bring the game to its final score, a 10-7 win for RPI.

The final game of the weekend once again focused on Jensen, this time from the mound. His seven inning two-hit, two-run performance stifled Rochester. RPI started off well, getting a run in the first inning through an Erickson sacrifice fly. Then in the third RPI added the only other runs it would need. Senior Kyle LaVigne doubled to right field to score Rio, and then immediately Boucher hit another homerun for RPI as it took the 4-0 lead.

Jensen would give up his only two runs of the game in the third after allowing a walk and a homerun. However, he was able to control Rochester for the remainder of the game as he saw the Engineers score three more runs for the 7-2 victory.

RPI is now 9-3 in the Liberty League and has not been swept in a doubleheader by a league rival yet this season. The Engineers travel to St. Lawrence University for their next set of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 1 pm and noon, respectively.