Even though the weather in Rochester has been sloppy, the Yellowjacket baseball team’s play has not been. This past week saw the ‘Jackets take three out of four games, two from Rochester Institute of Technology and one from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as they improved their records to 14-7 overall and 7-3 in Liberty League competition as well as two ‘Jackets players receiving awards for their stellar play.

UR’s record is good enough for second in the Liberty League standings behind St. Lawrence University. Although the teams share identical league records, league winning percentage for each team is a balanced average of that team’s individual winning percentages against each separate opponent in league play, thus leading to the second place spot for the Yellowjackets. The team has a great chance to take first this coming week with two doubleheaders against last place and winless Vassar College. The ‘Jackets also lead the league in runs scored with 64.

The two award winners are junior Jay Jay Vanderstyne and sophomore Chris Olsen. Vanderstyne was selected as the Rochester Area Colleges Association Male Co-Athlete of the Week and Olsen was named the Liberty League Co-Pitcher of the Week. Vanderstyne batted .357 over last week, driving in five runs and scoring three himself. He had at least one RBI in each of the team’s four games last week. Olsen pitched six innings of two-hit ball in his first start this year for his second career win. He allowed just two walks and struck out five.

In the first game against RIT, Rochester’s pitching was exceptional. Olsen got the start, not surrendering a run. Senior Gabe Chodak continued the shutout, pitching two innings, giving up a lone hit and walk. Junior John Fishback finished off the shutout, pitching a perfect ninth inning.

The pitchers weren’t the only ones who had their game together against the Tigers. The ‘Jackets’ offense compiled 13 runs on nine hits with junior Jim Bard leading the way, going 3-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Juniors Ed Kahovec and Devin Shane and senior Frank Infurna all added two RBIs of their own in the ‘Jacket rout, 13-0. Before playing UR, the Tigers were ranked eighth in the region and had won five in a row.

The offense was not quite as explosive in the next game against RIT, but it did just enough. Infurna got a groundout RBI and a Tiger miscue gave the ‘Jackets another run to give the team all the runs it would need with yet another solid effort by the pitching staff. They posted another shutout with sophomore Michael Park getting the start. Park pitched five innings, allowing only two hits and giving up one walk. Sophomore Blair Veenema and Fishback pitched four scoreless innings to finish the game, surrendering only two hits, with Fishback getting the save on the 2-0 win.

The Yellowjackets closed out their week with a doubleheader against RPI. In the first game, RPI starter Joe Zongol held the ‘Jackets’ bats quiet, throwing a seven-inning complete game, only allowing a scattered five hits and one walk to UR players. Veenema pitched well over six innings, allowing three runs, only two of them earned, but the offense laid dormant for the first game in the twin bill.

It seems that the offense waited to explode until the second game of the doubleheader. Sophomore Dan Brien, Bard and Kahovec all had three RBIs apiece, as the offense put together a 16-hit assault. Cannon, Brien and Infurna each had three of those, and Kahovec and Vanderstyne each added two more of their own.

While the ‘Jackets scored 13 earned runs, they also benefited from bad defense from RPI, which allowed for two unearned runs to score.

The shoddy defense on the Rochester side (four errors) didn’t hurt the ‘Jackets in this game with the 15-run offensive, but it did allow for an unearned run to score and could hurt them as the season moves on. Junior Pete McEneaney, freshman Steven Guzki, Chodak and Fishback combined on a five-hitter, giving up three earned runs and striking out eight batters during the 15-4 shellacking win.

This week will see two doubleheaders (weather permitting) against Vassar and a game against SUNY Brockport, which is at home on Tuesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

Goff is a member of the class of 2008.

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