One of the key ingredients for a winning baseball team is timely hitting, and that was in no short supply for the Yellowjackets in their home double-header against the Vassar College Brewers on Friday, April 20. UR had two perfectly clutch performances, ending both games with walk-off hits.
The wins brought UR’s record to 10-18 overall, 6-11 in the conference.
Going into the seventh inning of game one, the ’Jackets had enjoyed an impressive pitching performance from junior starting pitcher Jon Menke. Through the first six, Menke struck out 10 and walked just one, and the Yellowjackets had a one-run lead, with the score 3-2.
Sophomore pitcher Adam Sullivan, who has been solid out of the bullpen this year (his ERA is just 0.77), came in to pitch for UR in the seventh, but he didn’t seem to be at his best. Sullivan surrendered two hits and threw two wild pitches — Vassar scored on both of these, taking the lead, 4-3.
UR tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, however, and the contest went to extra innings. After a shut-down top of the eighth by senior relief pitcher Alex Parker, freshman infielder Tim LeSuer was walked to lead off UR’s half of the inning, and he eventually scored the winning run on a single by sophomore second baseman Ethan Sander that snuck through the infielders on the left side.
In the second game, UR built a more comfortable lead in the early innings. Sophomore first baseman Nick Carlson hit his team-leading third home run of the season in the first — a two run blast — and then senior outfielder Alex Caghan hit UR’s first triple of the year, bringing two more runners home in the second inning.
The Yellowjackets held this lead through the middle innings and went into the seventh riding 7-3. In the top of the final inning, however, things started to unravel for the home team. In the end, Vassar would tie the score on four unearned runs, courtesy of three sloppy UR errors.
Once again channeling their newfound flair for the dramatic, UR would take the game in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore outfielder Sam Slutsky led off the inning with a double to left center, and then Vassar’s pitcher Zander Mrlik intentionally walked sophomore shortstop Nate Mulberg. Slutsky took a sizable lead at second and was nearly picked off.
On the next pitch, senior pinch hitter and outfielder Dominick Caruso squared up to bunt, then pulled back and launched a deep ball down the right field line. It landed fair, and the ’Jackets escaped with another victory.
UR’s second double-header against Vassar, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 21, was postponed, and their game scheduled for Tuesday, April 24 was also cancelled, both due to poor weather conditions. On Saturday, April 28, UR takes on Union College at home at 1 p.m.
Fleming is a member of the class of 2013.