U of R walks off with sweep of Ithaca

Courtesy of UofRAthletics.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The University of Rochester baseball team won two nailbiters in walk-off fashion against Ithaca College in a non-league doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Towers Field.

The Yellowjackets (5-2) captured game one in 11 innings, winning 9-8, and followed that up with a 7-6 victory in the 7-inning nightcap. Luke Piontek was the hero in game one, driving in John Moses for the winning run on a sacrifice fly. Brian McKinsey completed the doubleheader sweep, lacing an RBI single to left center in the bottom of the seventh in game two, plating Steve Pickering with the winning run.

The losses were the Bombers first two of the season, as Ithaca drops to 4-2.

Game one started out with Ithaca jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. Harper Sy singled in Pickering to cut the lead in half in the second and Jacob Matzat doubled in two runs in the next inning to give UR a 3-2 lead after three.

Ithaca scored five runs in the top of the fourth, two coming on a Louis Fabbo single up the middle, and the other three off the bat of Garrett Callaghan who clubbed a three-run homer to left center.

The Yellowjackets battled right back though, scoring five runs of their own in the fifth to regain the lead 8-7. Sy had a ground rule double to left to score Pickering. Jackson Reed walked with the bases loaded and Aaron Whitley legged out an infield single with two outs, scoring another run. Joseph Rende then laced a single to left for another run and Reed then scampered home on a wild pitch.

Ithaca responded by evening the score in the top of the next inning after Callaghan doubled in Fabbo.

The pitching held the teams in check until the 11th inning. Moses led off the inning with a single through the right side and was immediately sacrificed to second by Pickering. Matzat then singled him to third before Piontek lifted a fly ball to right, deep enough to score the run in walk-off fashion.

On the mound for UR, Jon Turk started and struck out five in four innings of work. Dan Agate pitched the next three and gave up one run. Thomas Karpishin and Alex Muchnick combined for an inning and Luke Boylan tossed three scoreless. Muchnick earned the win.

For Ithaca, Buzz Shirley got the start and yielded eight runs in 4.2 innings. Garrett Bell relieved and held UR off the scoreboard until the 11th, getting tagged with the tough luck loss. He went six innings and struck out five, giving up only four hits.

Matzat went 3-for-6 at the plate with a double and two RBI. Sy was 2-for-5, also with a double and two RBI. Pickering scored three times and was 2-for-4.

In game two, the Bombers capitalized on a UR error in the first inning, getting three runs after Jack Lynch smacked a three-run homer to left. Rochester got two back right away though, scoring when Pickering reached on a fielders choice and Moses doubled to left.

After two the score was tied at 3-3, following Whitley’s ground rule double to center.

Ithaca’s Callaghan kept his strong day at the plate going in game two, clearing the center field fence for his second home run of the doubleheader, regaining Ithaca’s lead, 5-3. The senior ended up hitting for the cycle in game two following a single which put the Bombers up 6-4 in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ithaca’s starter Kyle Lambert was pulled in favor of Dom Trippi. He battled control issues, hitting Whitley to lead off the inning and uncorking two wild pitches to quickly put a runner at third with no outs.

Rende then walked and Matzat drove in Whitley on a fielders choice groundout to make it a one run game, 6-5. After a Pickering walk, Trippi was removed for Nate Scott. Scott also had trouble controlling his pitches as his first two batters faced were hit batters, the second of which was Piontek who scored Matzat in the process.

That set the stage for McKinsey to line his base hit to left, ending the game in walk-off fashion.

Moses was 3-for-3 in game two for the Yellowjackets, adding a double, RBI and run. Piontek drove in two while Whitley added a 2-for-3 game with two runs and two stolen bases.

Nolan Sparks got the start and went three innings, giving up five runs (two earned) while striking out five. Jason Cobert surrendered one run while striking out three in 3.1 innings, with Hank Powers finishing off the last two-thirds of an inning. Powers earned the win, his second of the season.

For Ithaca, Lambert went six, giving up seven hits and four runs while striking out three. Trippi picked up the loss, yielding three runs in one-third of an inning.

The same two teams are set to play tomorrow at Ithaca’s Freeman Field.

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