RPI baseball completes week with 3-2 record

RPI baseball continued to perform well in the Liberty League after taking three of four games against Union College. However, the week did not start well for the team with a non-league contest against Montclair State University.

The Engineers traveled to New Jersey to face the Red Hawks, but Montclair was not very welcoming on the baseball field as it blew RPI away early in the game. The Engineers used nine different pitchers as they gave up 15 runs through eight innings. The only bright spot was in the fourth inning when a homer by junior Chuck Erickson gave RPI its only two runs of the game on its way to a 15-2 defeat.

Next, the Engineers headed to Schenectady for a doubleheader against the Union Dutchmen. Game one featured junior Mike Campisi on the mound for the Engineers. Campisi put in an excellent complete game performance, only allowing two hits and one unearned run. Junior Tanner Boucher scored RPI’s first run after a leadoff single in the second inning. After stealing second and advancing to third on an Erickson fly out, he scored on a ground out by sophomore Eric Kozak.

RPI added runs in the third and sixth to extend its lead to 3-0. In the third, junior Kevin Prosicki reached on a single to left, advancing to second on a ground out. Sophomore Andrew Kalish’s single to right would be enough to score Prosicki, giving RPI the 2-0 lead. Then in the sixth, senior Kyle LaVigne hit a single and took second on a passed ball. Boucher’s single gave RPI its final run. In the bottom half of the sixth, Campisi gave up his only run and the game went on to finish 3-1.

After falling behind early in the second game, the Engineers came back and solidified their lead. Union scored in the first inning and RPI remained down a run until tying it in the fourth when Kozak stole home. Rensselaer then added five more runs in the sixth. Senior Art Levenson’s single scored Kozak to give RPI the 2-1 lead. A Prosicki single with two runners on base scored both freshman Jared Jensen and senior Cody Vincent. Finally, junior Jonny Rio’s homerun gave RPI the 6-1 lead.

In the seventh, Union picked up steam and came storming back with four runs to make the score 6-5. RPI would stop the comeback as it scored runs in the eighth and ninth to take the 9-5 win.

Back at home for the second doubleheader, Jensen pitched a solid opening game. Jense gave up six hits in seven innings while allowing only one run. The Engineer offense took care of the rest with five runs in the first two innings. After Union scored in the first, RPI responded as Boucher’s triple scored Kalish and Rio. Then Erickson’s single scored Boucher to give the Engineers the 3-1 lead.

RPI then assumed direct control of the game as Kalish’s RBI brought home Prosicki before LaVigne’s double to left scored Rio. RPI would add its final run in the fourth with another LaVigne RBI, giving the Engineers the 6-1 win.

The final game did not end the way the Engineers would have liked. After taking a 6-0 lead after two innings, which included a three-run homerun by Erickson, Union slowly started a comeback. RPI had its lead reduced from six to three by the end of the fifth. Then in the eighth, Union scored four more runs, taking a 9-8 lead.

Rio led off the ninth with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. LaVigne reached on an error and advanced Rio to third. Then, Boucher hit into a fielder’s choice, which advanced LaVigne to third but at the expense of Rio being out at home. Union decided to risk loading the bases with two outs as it intentionally walked Erickson in hopes of getting an out at any base. Unfortunately for RPI, Kozak struck out swinging to give Union the 9-8 win.

Now 13-7 in the Liberty League, the Engineers host non-league opponent Williams College today at 4 pm on Robison Field before taking on Skidmore College in a home-and-home series this weekend. RPI plays a doubleheader in Saratoga Springs on Saturday at noon, then welcomes the Thoroughbreds to Troy for another twinbill on Sunday, also at noon.