After the first 11 games of their season, the ‘Jackets baseball team seems to be in great shape.
The Yellowjackets have been especially strong offensively, scoring 65 runs. They have benefited from the great hitting of juniors Devin Shane and Ed Kahovec, who lead all players with a minimum of 25 at bats in average, hitting .346 and .343, respectively.
The ‘Jackets have received key contributions from junior Jay Jay Vanderstyne, freshman Andy Cannon, junior Jim Bard and senior Frank Infurna, who lead the team in RBIs with nine, six, five and five, respectively. Also contributing to the team’s run production are Bard, freshman Blayne Fuke, Cannon, sophomore Dan Brien and Infurna, who lead the team in runs scored with ten, eight, eight, eight and eight, respectively.
Also in their 11 games, the ‘Jackets have out-pitched their opponents, with a team ERA of 4.50, compared to their opponents’ combined ERA of 4.53. Of the pitchers who have pitched at least ten innings, junior John Fishback has the best ERA at 0.75. Fishback also leads the team in wins with three and is the co-leader in saves with one.
UR started the season off well, playing in Florida to win two of their first three games before the University Athletic Association Championship Tournament.
The ‘Jackets showed their ability to score multiple runs in each of the three games, losing the one game by a count of 7-6 and winning the other two 19-3 and 8-7, respectively. Kahovec made key offensive contributions, collecting two hits and two RBIs in each of the games. Vanderstyne also made a big contribution of five RBIs in the two wins (four in the first and one in the second).
This success gave the ‘Jackets confidence as they headed into the UAA Championship Tournament. At the tournament, UR went 3-3, but came out with a strong second-place showing in what was a highly competitive tournament.
Four players earned All-Association Honors for their performance at the Tournament (determined by a vote by the coaches of the UAA). Whether it was at the plate, on the base paths or in the field, each of these players played a vital role in the UR’s success. Bard and Kahovec earned first-team honors and Infurna and Shane were named to the second team.
Bard hit a team-high .409 at the tournament. He had nine hits with four runs scored, one home run and four RBIs. Additionally, he stole three bases.
Kahovec also commanded in the field with eight putouts and 19 assists. He hit .300 with six hits and three runs scored. Shane hit .300 as well and also had six hits. He scored two runs and drove in one. He also had 43 putouts, as well as six assists and he threw out two would-be base stealers. Infurna hit .316, scored three runs and tallied four RBIs. The Yellowjackets’ performance at the tournament included two wins against Brandeis University and an upset victory over No. 19 Emory University. In the win over Emory, each of the four players named to all-UAA teams were contributors.
After the tournament, the ‘Jackets came home and were scheduled to play a doubleheader against Skidmore College on Saturday, but the game was postponed due to rain. However, games were played on Sunday. In the first game, a 5-2 loss, Kahovec was a key contributor again, going two for two with two RBIs. After the tough first game, UR won the second game, 7-6, in extra innings.
Fuke, Shane and Cannon all contributed. Fuke had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Shane had two hits and an RBI. Cannon had two hits and scored two runs. The ‘Jackets also were boosted by a strong pitching performance by sophomore Blair Veenema, who went six innings, gave up four hits and four runs, with only three of them earned. Also, UR got a strong relief outing from Fishback, who pitched four and two thirds innings of scoreless baseball to earn the win. The game ended on a walk-off RBI single by Fuke.
The Yellowjackets were scheduled to play Tuesday afternoon, but the game was rescheduled due to wet ground.
The ‘Jackets are 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Liberty League. They will match up against Clarkson University to continue Liberty League play in two doubleheaders on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
Gillenson is a member of the class of 2010.