The baseball team split contests with Upstate Collegiate Athletic Assocation opponents this week, securing a victory from each doubleheader while dropping the other game. St. Lawrence University routed the Yellowjackets in the opening game of a Sunday home doubleheader. En route to a 13-0 shutout, St. Lawrence pitcher Jon Hollis kept the home team to five hits in the convincing victory. It was a humbling loss for the Yellowjackets, who were unable to put a man in scoring position over the course of seven innings.
UR rallied back in the bottom in the nightcap to top St. Lawrence 10-8 in a seesaw competition that featured several lead changes. The Saints scored three early runs, giving them the quick advantage. Freshmen centerfielder Brian Wolf and first baseman Chris Rosenbaum rounded the bases for UR in the bottom of the first inning to put the home team on the board 3-2.
In the fifth, the Saints tacked on two more runs and increased their lead to three at 5-2.
The Yellowjackets made their big comeback in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to take their first lead of the day. Senior third baseman R.J. Johnsen lead off with a walk, and moved into scoring position after a single from sophomore catcher Cody Martinez. Junior designated hitter Mike Lesczinski hit a fly to right field, batting in Johnsen and advancing Martinez to second. Martinez scored on a pop fly by senior Ryan Hanley. Senior Matt Davison hit a big double to bring home Lesczinksi and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Saints responded to the big UR rally with two runs of their own, but the Yellowjackets landed another big punch in the bottom of the sixth, packing in four more runs to seal the game in UR’s favor. Wolf, Hanley, Martinez and Johnson all touched home plate to finish off the Saints.
The doubleheader with St. Lawrence was followed by another round of games the following day against Clarkson University at home. The Yellowjackets squeezed a narrow 3-2 victory over the visitors in the first of the two scheduled games. UR scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the second inning with a three-run homer by freshman shortstop Dan Pfohl that brought home Johnsen, Lesczinski and Pfohl, who was 2 for 2 at the plate the first game. Clarkson made an attempt at a comeback in the fourth, but UR was able to hold off the No. 23 team in the nation.
Clarkson struck back with a vengeance in the second game of the doubleheader, shutting out UR 3-0. Hurler Andy Noonan pitched a complete game for the visitors, striking out six and allowing six hits. Centerfielder Stewart Swayze singled for the Yellowjackets in the third inning and advanced to second after a hit by Martinez. But the bid to break up the shutout was foiled when Swayze was caught stealing third to end the inning.
The Yellowjackets lost Tuesday’s game to national powerhouse SUNY Cortland 10-1. UR’s lone run came courtsey of an RBI-single by Pfohl.
Head coach Joe Reina and the Yellowjackets are keeping their heads high as they embark on the critical portion of their season tied for third place in the UCAA. In order to qualify for the postseason, the Yellowjackets will have to win their conference tournament, to which only the top four schools are invited. The UCAA Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament. “Our goals are simple,” Reina said. “We want to get into the conference tournament, win those three games and earn the bid to the NCAA Tournament. We have a pitching staff that is able to do that and our chances are good.”
Schloss can be reached at aschloss at campustimes.org.