Courtesy of UofRathletics.com
PRINCE ATHLETIC COMPLEX – The University of Rochester baseball team split a pair of contests on day two of the Liberty League Tournament, keeping its 2019 season alive.
Rochester (26-15) was dropped 16-9 in its winners bracket game against #2 seeded Clarkson before winning a thrilling 2-1 nailbiter over RIT in an elimination game to close out the day.
Junior outfielder Jake Hertz was the hero in the elimination game, lacing a 2-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Rochester the lead.
Hertz’s base hit was one of just four on the game for the Yellowjackets, but proved to be enough as the pitching duo of Jon Turk and Brendan Shamieh combined to scatter seven hits but would allow only one run.
Turk (6-2) went seven strong for Rochester, allowing five hits and one run, walking two and striking out five. Shamieh notched his seventh save of the year with two innings of work, allowing two hits while striking out three.
Rochester eliminated the Tigers (22-18) for the second straight year in the second elimination game on day two of the Liberty League Tournament. In 2018’s game, Rochester earned an 8-4 win, propelling the Yellowjackets into Saturday’s championship round.
On the mound for RIT, Collin Reformat took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, just a day after Rochester’s Garrett Renslow fired a no-hitter in UR’s tournament opening win over RPI. The Tiger lefty ended up going seven innings, allowing three hits, two runs and two walks with four strikeouts.
RIT’s lone run of the contest came in the third inning when Patrick Blackall singled through the left side with two outs, driving in Kyle Terzini. Turk wriggled out of trouble in the inning though, stranding the bases loaded after getting a popup following the base hit.
Blackall nearly got the Tigers on the board in the first inning, lining a triple to the right centerfield gap with two outs, but Turk escaped with a strikeout of the next batter.
Rochester’s first baserunner of the contest came in the bottom of the third when Joseph Rende drew a two out walk. He then stole second to reach scoring position, but a fly out from David Rieth kept the score 1-0 RIT.
The Yellowjackets used the momentum of Turk escaping another jam in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead in the bottom half of the frame.
After a fly out and ground out, Kyle Trombley drew a walk to reach base. Harper Sy followed with a line drive back to the pitcher which deflected off Reformat’s glove and wasn’t corralled by the defense for a single. Hertz then tripled, with his slicing opposite field hit landing two feet in fair territory down the right field line to put Rochester on top.
RIT got the leadoff man on in the eighth against Shamieh, but UR’s closer struck out the next three hitters to get out of it.
It was more of the same in the ninth with the leadoff hitter reaching base, but three straight outs closed out the Yellowjacket win.
In the opening loss to Clarkson (23-15), the visiting Golden Knights hit the cover off the ball, smacking 21 hits in the 16-9 win.
The 25 combined runs between the two teams was more runs than the entire four-game series played between them earlier this season. On April 6-7, Clarkson took three of four games versus Rochester at Towers Field, with a total of 20 runs scored in the series.
Every Clarkson starter had a hit in the game, with five players recording three or more hits. Nolan Duda finished a home run shy of the cycle, going 4-5 at the plate. Michael Mieczkowski was 3-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Vincent Granuzzo and Tommy Bianchi each had three hits and three RBI.
Not lost in the defeat though was strong offensive performances from five UR hitters who each had multiple hits. Aiden Finch, Zach Miraz, Sy and Hertz all finished with three base hits, while Rieth added two. Miraz had three doubles, while Finch had two. The pair combined to drive in five of UR’s nine runs.
The high scoring affair started right from the get-go, as Clarkson scored three times in the top of the first inning off UR’s Jack Denzer.
Rochester responded with four runs of their own in the bottom half to take the lead. Finch drove in two with a double, Miraz added an RBI double and Hertz an RBI single.
Duda singled in a run to tie the score for Clarkson in the third.
In the fifth, the floodgates opened for the Golden Knights as 13 batters came to the plate, with seven runners crossing home as CU took an 11-4 lead. The first six batters of the inning all reached base, including three straight hits coming on the first pitch of an at-bat.
Clarkson added two more runs in the sixth inning to increase the lead to 13-4, with the nine run deficit being too much for Rochester to overcome despite getting three runs back in the bottom of the inning.
With the win in the nightcap, Rochester gets to square off with Clarkson in the championship round on Saturday afternoon. The Yellowjackets must win twice to claim their first Liberty League Tournament title.
UR was in a similar situation last season, needed to sweep two games from #2 seeded Union College to earn the title. Rochester would wind up winning 7-6 in 13 innings in the elimination game one, but ultimately dropped the winner-take-all contest for the championship.