U of R completes weekend sweep of RIT

Courtesy of UofRAthletics.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The University of Rochester mounted a furious comeback in game one and earned its second doubleheader sweep in as many days over RIT in a Liberty League baseball matchup on Saturday afternoon at Towers Field.

Rochester (10-3, 4-0 Liberty League) scored nine runs over the final two innings in the opener, storming back from a 7-0 deficit to stun RIT 9-8 in walk-off fashion and followed that up with a strong offensive output in game two, winning the nightcap 13-6 to complete the weekend sweep of the Tigers (4-9, 0-4 Liberty League).

In game one, RIT starting pitcher Daniel Capra was nearly unhittable through five innings on the mound, holding UR to just two hits and faced just one over the minimum over that span. In the meantime, his offense had built him a 7-0 lead with two runs in the second, three in the third and two in the sixth.

Capra retired the first batter in the sixth but then was tagged for six runs and Rochester was right back in the game with one inning to play. Josh Leadem was the spark, launching a home run to left field to get Rochester on the board.

After Aaron Whitley walked, Joseph Rende doubled to center and the score was 7-2. Jacob Matzat was the next batter and he smacked a home to left center for four straight runs.

Steve Pickering laced a single to right to continue the streak and Harper Sy walked to bring the tying run to the plate. John Moses nearly tied the score with a long blast to right, but it fell just short of the wall and the sophomore had to settle for a 2-run triple.

That was all that UR could muster in the sixth, but the momentum had shifted with RIT now only ahead by one, 7-6.

The Tigers pushed across an insurance run in the top of the frame, to make it 8-6 heading into UR’s last at bat.

RIT decided to leave Capra in on the mound to start the seventh, despite Rochester’s big output the previous inning. Leadem again led off the rally with a single to center and Whitley reached after getting hit by a pitch, putting the tying runs on base with nobody out.

After a Rende popout, Matzat singled to center to drive in a run forcing the Tigers to their bullpen. Trevor Povlock relieved and was faced with the tying and go-ahead runs on base with just one out.

Pickering, the first hitter Povlock faced stepped up and singled into right field, tying the game and moved pinch-runner Dan Tirabassi to third. After Sy was intentionally walked, John Moses stepped up to the plate and lifted a deep fly ball to center which plated the winning run.

The walk-off win is the fourth in five home games for Rochester this season, with two coming against Ithaca on March 27th and one coming this past Wednesday against Alfred State.

Leadem finished 3-for-3 in the opener with the solo home run. Matzat had a home run, three RBI and was 2-for-4 while Pickering finished 2-for-3.

On the mound for Rochester, Trevor Van Allen started and went five innings, yielding 7 hits, 7 runs (5 earned) with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Magnus Sivertson gave up one run in 1.1 innings in his collegiate debut and Dan Agate tossed two-thirds of an inning and earned the victory in relief.

In game two, Rochester simply outslugged the Tigers, pounding out 14 hits en route to the 13-run output.

Pickering was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the nightcap while Whitley reached five times, was 2-for-2 and scored three runs. He added two hit by pitches and made a couple of remarkable plays in left field as well.

Leadem drove in three runs in game two and was 2-for-4, finishing all four games in the series with multiple hits. Rende meanwhile was 2-for-5 at the plate with a double and three driven in. Luke Piontek added two doubles while Brian McKinsey ended up scoring three runs.

RIT started the contest with a 2-0 lead after scoring twice in the top of the second. Rochester answered with two runs in each of the next two innings and was ahead 4-2. Rende provided a 2-run single in the third, while Leadem and Piontek had RBI hits in the fourth.

The Tigers Patrick Blackall smashed a solo home run in the fifth to cut the lead to one, but that is as close as a the visitors would get.

Rochester added five runs in the sixth and four runs in the seventh to blow the game open, batting around in each inning. UR capitalized on some RIT miscues for the big inning in the sixth, with the bats waking back up for the seventh.

Rende had a ground-rule double, Matzat drove in a run with a groundout and Pickering and Leadem each had RBI singles to complete UR’s scoring.

Jason Cobert was UR’s starter and earned the victory, going five innings while giving up 5 hits, 3 runs and 3 walks while striking out 2. Alex Muchnick and Agate each went two innings of relief for the Yellowjackets.

UR’s next scheduled games are set for Wednesday against SUNY Cortland.

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