Over spring break, Rensselaer’s baseball team traveled to Lake Myrtle, Florida for five spring training games. The team played against Becker College, Knox College, William Paterson University, and twice against Fitchburg State College, ending the week 2–3.
The Becker Hawks picked up two early runs, both in the third, against the Engineers in their first Florida game. Rensselaer chipped back in the following two innings to tie the game at two apiece. But Becker ran away with the game in the sixth, scoring four runs. The Engineers only picked up one more run that game, which ended 6-3 in favor of the Hawks.
The following day against Knox was much better for RPI. Although Knox scored two runs in the top of the first, and held that lead for the first few innings, the Engineers were determined. RPI scored one in the bottom of the third, but broke the game wide open in the fourth. With the bases loaded, junior Christian Spagnuola singled to left. A fielding error by the left fielder sent all three men on base home. Two more runs were also acquired in that inning, a huge break for the Engineers. They won the game 8–5.
March 16 marked a double header against the Fitchburg Falcons. The Engineers held the lead for the majority of the game, but the Falcons chipped away at the lead and managed to tie the game 4–4 in the bottom of the ninth. In the battle for the winning runs, Fitchburg emerged the winner in the bottom of the ninth, not giving Rensselaer the chance to rally morale and attempt to tie, or win, the game.
Confident in their ability to defeat the Falcons, the Engineers returned to their second, late-afternoon game with renewed hope. Fitchburg put runs on the board in the first three innings, setting up a comfortable 6–0 lead. One can only imagine that the Engineers chuckled and said “watch this” at the bottom of the third. Bats came alive, and hit after hit after hit sent the Engineers around the bases like a revolving door. The team would add eight runs to the board before the Falcons managed three outs. RPI held onto the lead for the rest of the game, winning 11–10.
Rensselaer’s last game of spring training would be the hardest. The William Paterson Tigers rounded the bases every inning up through the fifth, to give them six runs to the Engineer’s one. By the time the bats came alive in the sixth and seventh, the Tiger’s lead was too great for the Engineers to overcome. They lost the game 11–5.
Baseball is off this coming weekend, but will have its home opener the following weekend on April 1 against Rochester Institute of Technology.