Engineers prep for Liberty League tournament

SENIOR CAPTAIN KELLY ERKERT ROUNDS third base in a recent home game.

Despite the cancellation of both weekend doubleheaders, the RPI softball team finished its regular season strong as it heads to the Liberty League Tournament this upcoming weekend. The teams only games this week came against non-league opponent Utica College. The result was mixed for the Engineers as they won comfortably in the opener, but were unable to complete their comeback.

In game one, freshman Kristina Weltzin pitched a shutout for her 17th win of the year. Weltzin had 10 strikeouts while only allowing five hits during seven innings of work. Her pitching kept Utica at bay and allowed the offense time to get the runs it needed to win.

Those runs came in the fourth inning when the Engineers managed to score six. Freshman Jocilyn Rudisill led off the order and was hit by a pitch. Rudisill promptly stole second base and scored the first run of the day on senior Sara Heller’s single. Additional singles by junior Gillian McCarthy and sophomore Tori Hunt loaded the bases for the Engineers. Junior Aimee Konet hit another single, but this one managed to score two runs as Heller and McCarthy crossed home. With Konet advancing on the throw, RPI had two people in scoring position. Sophomore Jen Shields stepped up and hit a triple to center, scoring Hunt and Konet. Shields then scored on an error to finish the Engineers’ six-run inning.

Those six runs would be all RPI needed as the game played out with no more runs scored by either team, finishing as a 6-0 victory for the Engineers.

The final game of the regular season started with a scoreless first and followed by Utica opening the scoring with two in the top of the second frame. RPI responded straight away with a single by junior Caitlin McGivern to score Hunt, a Konet single to score McGivern, and Konet crossing the plate on an error by Utica. However, the Engineers were unable to hold onto the 3-2 lead for very long as Utica managed to tie the game in the top of the third.

In the fifth, Utica added two more runs to take the 5-3 lead. McCarthy responded with an RBI single to bring the Engineers within a run. Unfortunately, Utica was able to score runs in the sixth and seventh as it took the 7-4 lead.

The Engineers would not go down without a fight as they started a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Heller hit a homerun to center to make it 7-5. Then, McCarthy hit a homerun of her own to make it 7-6. Unfortunately for the Engineers, that would be as close as they got and the game ended Utica 7, RPI 6.

RPI finished the season 24-12 overall and 9-1 in the Liberty League. This weekend, the Engineers host the Liberty League Tournament in which they are the top seed. RPI will play St. Lawrence University in a doubleheader on Friday at 2 pm and either the University of Rochester or Union College on Saturday at 10 am or 12:30 pm, depending on the previous day’s results. All games will take place on Doris Robison Field, so go out and support the Engineers!