The Yellowjackets had a productive week on the baseball diamond, improving their record to 11-14 overall while sweeping doubleheaders against Vassar and Hartwick Colleges and dropping a pair of games Saturday afternoon to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The highlight of the week, according to head coach Joe Reina, was the two game sweep of conference rival Vassar.

“Beating Vassar puts us in fourth place [in the conference] and the top four teams in the conference make the post-season tournament,” Reina explained. “One reason that the victory over Vassar was so sweet was because we left very early in the morning, got lost on the bus, and stepped off the bus in Poughkeepsie at 1:50 for a 2 p.m. game. We took the field without any batting or infield practice and just started hitting baseballs.”

The Yellowjackets, under the competent wing of sophomore righthander Mike Zollweg, won the first game 9-3. UR continued the momentum in the second game of the afternoon, squeaking past Vassar 5-4. Junior righthander Justin Sansone started the game and was relieved by sophomore Joe Ullman, who went on to earn the save.

Zollweg threw a three-hitter versus Hartwick, propelling UR to shut out the Hawks 12-0 in the opening game of Tuesday’s twin bill. He threw 63 pitches in a complete seven-inning game improved his record to 3-4. Zollweg is among the team leaders in strikeouts and ERA.

Standing out offensively for the Yellowjackets was sophomore infielder Adam Braveman, a Syracuse native, who went 2-4 against the Hawks including a three-run homer while recording four RBIs in the contest. Senior outfielder Ryan Hanley was 3-4 in the first game and drove in a run.

The Yellowjackets poured on the offense in the nightcap of the doubleheader, posting an impressive 24 hits. Each UR hitter recorded at least two.

Hanley continued to swing the bat effectively, going 5-6 at the plate and producing four RBIs to contribute to the 23-13 victory.

UR had a challenge waiting for them in the guise of RPI as the squad traveled to Troy, N.Y. on Saturday to take on the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association leaders and No. 30 team in the nation.

Freshman southpaw Steve Foley started the game for the Yellowjackets on the mound and pitched six strong innings, giving up a pair of runs.

In the sixth inning, senior third baseman Bob Johnsen blasted a three-run homerun to centerfield that put the Yellowjackets up 3-2. UR tacked on another run in the seventh and it looked as if they would pull of the upset.

But RPI rebounded and took the game into extra innings. The Yellowjackets grabbed an advantage over the home team 5-4 in the ninth frame, but the Engineers capitalized on some miscues and won the first game 6-5 in a heartbreaker for UR.

The effects carried over to the second game of the day as RPI easily defeated the Yellowjackets. UR scored two runs in the top of the first, but the Engineers wasted no time in pulling out the big guns, scoring 21 runs, nine of which were unearned.

The Yellowjackets have four more regular season games, two against Skidmore College on D-Day and two on Sunday versus Union College.

“Skidmore is a very good team,” Reina said. “They are very scrappy and have a lot of guys who don’t quit.” Union also poses a threat to the Yellowjackets with some young talent at the plate and a solid bullpen. “This coming weekend is not go to be a cakewalk by any means.”

Schloss can be reached at aschloss@campustimes.org.



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