Bringing in a record of 8-0 over the past week, the baseball team dominated and advanced to 18-3 overall. In addition to the team’s 11-game win streak, three players earned Liberty League honors for their performances against Keuka College and Union College.
The week’s streak began last Thursday afternoon at Towers Field when the ‘Jackets played a doubleheader against the Keuka Storm. Though the first game proved to be a tough battle, UR quickly turned around for the nightcap, putting the mercy rule into effect to end the game in the seventh inning due to a 20-run lead.
In the opener, the Storm were the first to put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. The Yellowjackets responded quickly, however, when senior center fielder Dave Kloc hit a two-out home run to left center in the bottom of the inning. Keuka then regained the lead in the third, but UR took it right back in the fourth. When junior starting pitcher Chris Olsen left the game, Keuka had tied it up with three runs after 4.2 innings. The ‘Jackets went on to score four more to win the game, 7-3. A three-run fifth inning was highlighted by a home run from senior shortstop Ed Kahovec, a double and three singles. The team sealed the deal with a final run off a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning.
This was the beginning of the end for Keuka, as UR batted around in the second, fourth and sixth innings of the second game. The team had seven errors and 16 unearned runs throughout the seven-inning game. The Yellowjackets scored early and, led by the starting pitching of sophomore Luke Brocks, held their opponents scoreless through 3.2 innings. Brocks ran into some trouble late in the fourth, allowing three runs, and freshman Charles Chanatry came in for the relief.
The rest was all downhill, as UR racked in the runs, finally taking the game, 23-3. Sophomore right fielder Andy Cannon had five runs batted in and scored five times in the game, featuring a home run in the sixth inning. Junior first baseman Dan Brien went 3-5, and freshman catcher Steve Just was 2-4. In addition, sophomore pinch hitter Patrick Locke went 2-3.
The Yellowjackets carried the momentum into Saturday’s doubleheader at home against the Union Dutchmen. Sophomore southpaw Steve Guzski took the mound and pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits and two runs, and walking only two batters. Guzski held Union scoreless through 5.2 innings .UR easily took the first game, 15-2.
Both Kahovec and sophomore second baseman Nate Stein hit homeruns, and junior catcher Ryan Sullivan went three for three with a walk. With UR ahead 7-0 with one out in the fourth, Union put in reliever Jeremy LeFebvre. This was little help, as Kahovec hit a home run off LeFebvre’s first pitch from the bullpen. Sullivan doubled in the next at bat. It was not until LeFebvre faced his fourth batter that he was able to show that he had any control on the game. The Yellowjackets continued to rock the Dutchmen pitchers throughout the rest of the game.
In the nightcap, the destruction continued as the ‘Jackets won the game, 8-1. Junior lefthander Mike Park took the mound and held Union scoreless through 6.2 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out nine. UR slowly built a lead, earning single runs in four of the first six innings. The Dutchmen made an attempt at a comeback in the top of the seventh, scoring one run with two outs on the board, but their work was stopped quickly when Toland came in again for relief and got the final out. From there on out, the Yellowjackets consistently scored runs to solidify the lead. Kloc had a strong outing, going 3-4 with two RBIs, and Cannon went 2-3 with two RBIs. In addition, senior left fielder Jim Bard went 2-3 for the day. In addition to Toland, senior pitcher John Fishback came in for one inning of scoreless relief.
Both teams hit the road and met up the following day in Schenectady. Union had promise of avenging its losses from the previous day when it pulled ahead 2-0 early in the first game. However, Kahovec hit a two-out double in the top of the third to start the ball rolling. By the time the Dutchmen got out of the inning, the ‘Jackets were ahead, 3-2. In the middle of the seventh, the Yellowjackets had a 7-2 lead, and it looked as though they were going to take their third win against Union. Their opponents didn’t back down, however, making a three-run comeback attempt in the bottom of the last inning. Fishback worked himself out of the inning, though, and managed to thwart the Dutchman threat. The ‘Jackets won the game, 7-5.
Junior starting pitcher Blair Veenema pitched six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out six. Sullivan had yet another impressive game, going 2-3 with a walk, and Brien went 2-4.
In game two, the Dutchmen had no chance of a win. The Yellowjackets scored 11 runs in the first three innings and shut-out Union 13-0 in just seven innings due to the mercy rule. Senior starting pitcher Pete McEneaney pitched six innings, allowing only three hits, striking out six and walking none. Chanatry came in for a one-hit inning of relief. Cannon continued his weekend of success, going 3-4 with one RBI and three runs, and Vanderstyne went 4-5 with five RBIs.
For their accomplishments in league play, Brien, Veenema and Just earned Liberty League honors. Brien was named Co-Performer of the Week, hitting .500 for the week of March 31 to April 6. Veenema earned the title of Pitcher of the Week for an ERA of 1.38 for the week. Finally, Just was named Rookie of the Week, hitting .385 over five games.
Yesterday, the Yellowjackets faced off against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers at RIT in yet another doubleheader. UR took the first game 11-2 and the second 5-4. In the first game, Brocks took the mound first and pitched five scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Yellowjackets racked up all 11 runs. In the bottom of the sixth, RIT finally scored a run. Brocks kept it to just two, however, and UR came away relatively unscathed.
Sullivan, carrying over from his award-winning week, went 3-3 with five RBIs and three runs. Fuke went 2-4 with three RBIs, and Cannon was 2-4 with one RBI.
In the final game of the week, it looked as though the ‘Jackets wouldn’t be able to come away undefeated. The Tigers took the lead early, scoring three runs in the first inning against Toland. In the second inning, Guzski replaced Toland, and he went 4.1 innings allowing only one additional run.
At that point, UR was down 4-0. However, it picked up its pace in the top of the fourth and pulled away with the win. Kloc hit a two-RBI triple and got the Yellowjackets on the scoreboard. They scored two more in the fifth to tie it up, and they finally attained the lead in the top of the seventh when Just hit an RBI single to bring Brien home. Veenema closed the game, pitching 1.1 innings, striking out one and allowing one hit.
The ‘Jackets will face off against Vassar College this weekend to continue Liberty League play. Currently, UR is 10-0 in the league and tied for first with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Philbrick is a member ofthe class of 2009.