After splitting a pair of games at State University of New York, Cortland on Saturday, April 18, softball returned home to host the St. Lawrence University Saints for their final two home games of the regular season. In the first game of the day, both pitchers dominated and the Saints’ lone run was enough to lift them past the Engineers. Then, in the second game of the day, both teams’ bats came alive and Rensselaer won a wild 11-inning game by a final score of 9-8.
The first game of the day remained scoreless until the fifth inning when Saints first baseman Brady Cooper singled past the pitcher to drive in second baseman Carly Dzekian. The run would prove to be the decisive factor in the game, as the Engineers failed to score off of St. Lawrence starting pitcher Kyle Plimpton. In seven innings, Plimpton allowed just four hits and one walk, and struck out eight en route to a complete game shutout. In defeat, RPI senior starting pitcher Kristina Weltzin gave up just four hits and one run, and struck out seven.
In the second game of the day, St. Lawrence third baseman Kelsey Murphy singled up the middle to bring in shortstop Aisha O’ Connor to give the Saints a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Later, in the third, O’ Connor scored again on a wild pitch to put the visitors up 2-0. Finally, RPI broke out of its scoreless streak on an RBI triple by senior third baseman Jena Servidone in the bottom of the third.
Then, in the fourth inning, sophomore right fielder Morgan Kollmeier singled to center to drive in freshman shortstop Kacie Herity to tie the game at two. The fifth inning proved even more fruitful for the RPI offense. Singles by Servidone, senior left fielder Jocilyn Rudisill, junior designated hitter Morgan Ten Eyck, and Herity resulted in two runs for the Engineers. Then, after a freshman Rebecca Kienz walk loaded the bases, junior second baseman Danielle Balestrini singled to right to bring in Ten Eyck and Herity, giving RPI a 6-2 lead after five innings.
Down 6-2 in the top of the seventh, St. Lawrence rallied. Five hits and a walk later, the game was tied at six and extra innings ensued.
Neither team scored in the eighth. Then, in the top of the ninth, a fielding error, a walk, and two singles allowed the Saints to take a 8-6 lead into the bottom half of the ninth inning. This time, Rensselaer rallied. Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Caudle walked. Servidone was hit by a pitch. Then, after a sacrifice bunt by Rudisill put Caudle on third and Servidone on second, Ten Eyck drilled a single past Plimpton to bring in both Caudle and freshman pinch runner Victoria Greco.
After the bottom of the ninth, the game was once again tied at eight. Again, neither team scored in the 10th, and St. Lawrence failed to score in the top of the 11th as well. Finally, after Servidone reached third with one out, Ten Eyck came up clutch again, hitting a fly ball to deep left field to bring in Servidone and give the Engineers a 9-8 win.
Following the weekend, RPI stands at a record of 16-13. Next up for the Engineers are road doubleheaders against Utica College on April 22, Union College on April 25, and Clarkson University on April 26.