RIT sweep doubleheader behind strong performances

Courtesy of RITathletics.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Stevie Branche (New Paltz, NY/New Paltz) pitched a two-hit shutout in game one and RIT used a five-run rally in the top of the eighth inning in game, as the baseball squad (14-13, 9-5 Liberty League) won a pair of league contests at Skidmore College (16-11, 6-8 Liberty League) from Castle Diamond on Friday afternoon. RIT won game one, 3-0 and took game two, 8-6.

Branche was dominant on the hill in game one for the Tigers, allowing just two hits, while striking out nine batters for his for second shutout in two weeks and fourth complete game of the 2019 season. He improved to 3-2 with a 1.59 earned run average and 46 strikeouts in 51 innings on the season.

RIT scored a pair of runs to give Branche a 2-0 lead to work with before he took the mound. Patrick Blackall (Hershey, PA/Hershey) drove in a run on a fielder’s choice groundout, scoring Navada Waterman(Coudersport, PA/Coudersport), who led off the game with a single and moved to third on an error. After a double by Daniel Zeglen (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) put runners at second and third with one out, Luke McNamara (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin) drove in the second run with a groundout to make it 2-0.

Skidmore threatened with runners on second and third with two outs in the opening inning, but Branche got a big strikeout to get out of the jam. From there, Branche would allow just an infield hit in the second inning and single to center in the fourth before retiring the final eight batters of the game.

Jay Gamboa went the distance on the mound for the Thoroughbreds, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned), while striking out four batters.

In game two, RIT trailed 5-3 in the top of the eighth before scoring five times to take the lead for good. Joey Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) led off the inning with a walk before twin brother Patrick Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) ripped a double down the left field line, giving RIT runners on second and third with nobody out. Jason Schulz (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool) would follow with a single to center that plated one runner to make it a 5-4 lead. After back-to-back strikeouts, Daniel Capra(North Salem, NY/North Salem) doubled to left field, scoring both runners to put RIT back out in front, 6-5. Blackall would follow with a towering two-run home run to left field, his team-best fifth of the season to give the Tigers an 8-5 lead.

From there, freshmen relievers Jon Opalewski (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Knolls) and Matt Vitro (Carmel, NY/Carmel) held the lead, allowing RIT to earn the sweep. Opalweski pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while Vitro recorded his first save, working around a two-out solo homer.

Opalewski, who also pitched the seventh inning, picked up his fourth win of the season. John Mikolaicyk(Oneonta, NY/Oneonta) started on the mound for RIT, allowing four hits and four runs (three earned), while walking five batters and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings.

RIT out-hit Skidmore, 13-9. Patrick Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Capra and Blackall added two hits and two RBI each, while Ian Libby(Melrose, MA/Malden Catholic) drove in a pair of runs with a sixth inning single that gave RIT a 3-1 lead.

Sam Browning hit two solo homers for Skidmore. Spencer Meyer started on the mound, allowing seven hits and two runs in five innings. RIT scored six runs off the Thoroughbreds bullpen.

RIT and Skidmore will wrap up the weekend series on Saturday with a second doubleheader that is scheduled to begin at noon.

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