Courtesy of RITathletics.com
ROCHESTER, NY – The No. 3 RIT baseball team (21-17) suffered a 6-5 loss to No. 2 seed Clarkson University (22-15) in opening round action of the double elimination Liberty League Championship Tournament from Towers Field on the campus of the University of Rochester Thursday afternoon.
With the game tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Clarkson’s Tommy Bianchi lifted a ball to the gap in left center field with two outs, scoring Mike Messier from first base for the walk-off win.
RIT will face No. 4 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 12 p.m. on Friday in an elimination game. Clarkson plays No. 1 Rochester in the winner’s bracket at 2 p.m. Friday. Rensselaer opened the tournament by defeating No. 5 Union College, 6-4 in the single elimination wild card game Thursday morning. Rochester knocked off Rensselaer, 10-0 in game two Thursday evening.
RIT out-hit Clarkson, 13-10, but left 12 runners on base to six for the Golden Knights.
Senior captain Daniel Zeglen (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and two runs batted in. Joey Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) homered and drove in a pair of runs, while Kyle Watson (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool), Kyle Terzini (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool) and Patrick Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) added two hits apiece.
Stevie Branche (New Paltz, NY/New Paltz) started on the mound and went a season-high eight innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (four earned), while striking out six batters. Liam Barry (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) took the loss, allowing the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Joe Stockman, Mike Nee and Bianchi had two hits apiece for Clarkson. Michael Mieczkowski hit a solo home run, while Vincent Granuzzo and Stockman both drove in a pair of runs.
Ryan Riley allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings for the Golden Knights. Nate Burns threw four innings in relief, scattering six hits and allowing a run in the ninth inning. Jake Scurrah would get out of a ninth inning jam and eventually earn the win.
Clarkson scored twice in the bottom half of the second inning, before RT roared back with four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Zeglen got RIT on the board with a towering home run to left center field. Patrick Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) singled and scored on a triple to right center field by Jason Schulz (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool), tying the game at 2-2. Joey Mylott (Aurora, OH/Western Reserve Academy) would follow with a homer to left field, a two-run shot that gave RIT a 4-2 lead.
Clarkson would answer with a run in the bottom of the fourth and one in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Granuzzo laced a two-out single with a runner on third in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Clarkson a 5-4 lead.
RIT would answer right back in the top of the ninth, as Patrick Blackall (Hershey, PA/Hershey) led off with a single and scored from first on a double down the left field line by Zeglen, which tied the game. RIT would eventually put runners on the corner with one out, but could not get the go-ahead run across.
Clarkson has now three of five games this season against RIT. The Tigers lead the all-time series between the two schools, 58-40-1. The two teams split a pair of doubleheaders at Clarkson on April 13-14.
The Tigers are looking for their second Liberty League Championship in three seasons.