UR closes regular season with sweep of Ithaca

Courtesy of UofRAthletics.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -– It was two low scoring affairs, as the University of Rochester baseball team closed the regular season with a Liberty League doubleheader sweep over Ithaca College on Sunday afternoon at Towers Field.

UR took game one 2-1 and hung on for a 3-2 victory in game two. Rochester earned its third straight Liberty League regular season Liberty League title, finishing with a 16-2 conference mark. Rochester is 22-8 overall. The losses bumped Ithaca to 16-11-1 overall and 11-6-1 in the conference.

Rochester as the top seed in the conference will host a Wednesday first round Liberty League tournament game against Clarkson who finished as the number four seed after the conclusion of Sunday’s league slate. This years conference tournament is a single-elimination four-team bracket with the winners from Wednesday’s semifinals facing one another for the conference crown on Saturday at the highest remaining seed. The other semifinal is number three Ithaca playing at second seeded Union.

In game one Sunday, the Bombers got on the board first when Garrett Callaghan launched his team-leading ninth home run of the season over the left field wall, putting the visitors up 2-1. For Callaghan, it was his third homer at Towers Field this season, as the right fielder launched one in each of the two games back in late March, which Rochester won in walk-off fashion.

Ithaca threatened in the top of the second as well, getting two runners on with nobody out, but starter Trevor Van Allen was able to escape the jam, recording the next three outs in succession.

Rochester completed the game one scoring in the third. Brian McKinsey led off and singled to right and followed by promptly stealing second base. After a foul out, Aaron Whitley hit a deep fly ball to center field for a triple, tying the score. Joseph Rende, UR’s next batter, then lifted a fly ball to right, scoring Whitley on the sacrifice fly.

The Bombers threatened again with two runners on in the fourth against reliever Nolan Sparks, but the first-year righty escaped, getting a strikeout and line out to end the inning.

After a strong 1-2-3 sixth from UR reliever Thomas Karpishin, the Yellowjackets turned to Spencer Rojahn for the seventh and final inning on the mound.

Rojahn earned the save, his second, pitching around a one out single and a wild pitch, to close out the 2-1 win.

Sparks (2-1) earned the win in relief for Rochester, striking out three in his two innings. Van Allen started and went three innings, allowing five hits and one run, fanning two.

Ithaca’s Kyle Lambert took the loss, pitching five innings while allowing six hits and two runs, striking out three.

At the plate, Whitley was the lone Yellowjacket with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with the RBI triple and a run scored. He also had one of three stolen bases for the Yellowjackets.

For Ithaca, both Callaghan and Gil Merod were 2-for-3 in the opener.

Game two was another low scoring affair, with both teams being held off the scoreboard through five innings.
Ithaca had golden opportunities to score early, getting the bases loaded on two occasions in the first and fourth inning, but were unable to push a run across.

As the rain started to fall at Towers Field midway through the contest, the Bombers were able to scrape the first run across in the sixth on a Louis Fabbo RBI single to center, scoring pinch runner Evan McDonough.

Rochester responded in the bottom half of the inning, tying the score at one when sophomore John Moses launched his third home run of the season onto Wilson Boulevard beyond the left field fence.

UR’s Hank Powers tossed a scoreless seventh inning out of the bullpen against the meat of the Bomber lineup and his offense responded with two runs which proved the difference in the bottom of the frame. Powers earned the win, moving to 3-1 on the season.

Drew Bankovich led off with a walk for Rochester and Rende followed by getting hit by a pitch. The next batter Harper Sy sacrificed the runners up a base to put the go-ahead run at third. Moses was intentionally walked to load the bases for first-year Dan Tirabassi.

Tirabassi took a 2-2 pitch deep to right field scoring two runs, with Moses getting thrown out at the plate trying to score from first. However, the damage was done, with Rochester now ahead 3-1.

The Bombers had the tying run to the plate in the eighth against Dan Agate, but the senior reliever retired the side with a fly out, sending the game to the ninth, where UR once again called upon Rojahn for the save.

In the ninth, the rain had been steadily falling for a few innings and a slippery ball must have rattled Rojahn a bit as the right-hander yielded a triple and wild pitch to score Ithaca’s second run following a leadoff strikeout.

After the run scored, Rojahn issued two walks before striking out Merod for the second out of the inning. Another wild throw hit Ethan Rothstein to load the bases, but McDonough grounded into a fielders choice to leave the bases loaded of Bombers for the third time in the game.

The Bomber pitchers held UR to just four hits in the nightcap, with Tirabassi and Moses providing the big hits, each finishing 1-for-2. Dylan Stezzi and Rende were the other UR players to record hits.

On the mound Rochester used six pitchers. Dillon Bevan started and went three innings, allowing one hit. Jason Cobert scattered five hits but did not allow a run in two innings, striking out two. Nathan Slenska yielded the one Ithaca run before Powers, Agate and Rojahn closed out the victory.

For Ithaca, Nate Scott tossed six innings of one run ball, striking out four. Garrett Bell gave up two runs and took the loss, while Dom Trippi fanned two in a scoreless inning on the mound.

Colin Shashaty was the only player in game two with multiple hits, going 2-for-3, while adding a stolen base.

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