Softball begins league campaign with sweeps

RPI opened its Liberty League campaign with four straight wins in a pair of doubleheaders against St. Lawrence University and Skidmore College. Throughout both games, the Engineers showed their ability to pitch effectively and get runs often—either early or at key moments.

First up was the doubleheader against St. Lawrence on Saturday. Freshman Kristina Weltzin pitched three scoreless innings for the win while sophomore Charlene Osmanski came out for the final two innings, only surrendering one unearned run. RPI got its runs early as it put up two runs in the first courtesy of an Osmanski single. The team added more in the second when a homerun by senior Sara Heller to left scored freshman Jocilyn Rudisill and senior Samantha Paulding.

The rout continued as the Engineers added three runs in the second and in the third before having a monster of an inning in the seventh during which they scored seven times. The game finished 15-1 in favor of RPI. Heller and sophomore Dani Grage were swinging the bat well as they brought in six runs and four runs, respectively.

Game number two was very similar to the first. Once again, Weltzin put in an excellent performance, getting the shutout and allowing only two hits with six strikeouts. This time, junior Gillian McCarthy was the leading offensive contributor as she picked up four RBIs, including the Engineers’ first three runs. On cruise control, RPI came away with the doubleheader sweep with an 8-0 win.

Sunday featured the Skidmore Thoroughbreds as the opponent. Once again, RPI was able to come up with the wins away from home. The first four innings were very close as neither team could get on the board. However, Weltzin kept RPI in the game longer than her counterpart as RPI scored six runs in the top of the fifth. The Engineers took advantage of two errors in the inning, which featured a two-run double by Grage and a two-run triple by senior Kelly Erkert.

After surrending a run in the sixth, RPI closed the game out with another three runs in the seventh. Osmanski finished it with a two strikeout inning of pitching. Weltzin would get the win again in the 9-1 victory.

In the finale against Skidmore, the Engineers showed that they are able to get runs in important situations. This time, Osmanski got the start and pitched three flawless innings, only allowing one single. However, RPI surrendered runs in the fourth and fifth as Skidmore hit a two-run homer in the fourth before getting a two-run single in the following inning.

RPI came alive in the sixth as Rudisill, Heller, and McCarthy all reached base with only one out on the board. Osmanski was then hit by a pitch to bring home Rudisill. Sophomore Tori Hunt then smacked a triple to right for three RBIs as the Engineers tied the game up at four. After Hunt scored on a wild pitch, RPI was able to extend its lead to 6-4 and finish the scoring after sophomore Jen Shields scored on a Paulding ground out. Weltzin was able to close out the game and earned the win to improve to 11-5 on the year.

With a 4-0 start in the Liberty League, the Engineers were full of confidence as they travelled to Oneonta State yesterday. Results of the contest were not available at the time of publication. RPI’s next Liberty League doubleheader will be against Union College on Sunday, with the games starting at 1 pm on Doris Robison Field.