Men’s baseball falls in Liberty League tournament

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baseball picThe baseball team’s defense of the league championship crown ended in heartbreaking fashion last Friday in a 6-4 extra-inning loss to Clarkson in the Liberty League Tournament. A win would have sent the Dutchmen to the championship game against top-seed RIT, who had defeated Union 6-2 earlier in the day. RIT would go on to beat Clarkson 9-4 to claim their first ever Liberty League Championship. Playing their third game in a little over 24 hours, the Dutchmen gave the ball to Ryan Kuchar ’18, one of the team’s top starting pitchers. Kuchar turned in a strong performance, giving up just two earned runs and seven hits over six and two thirds. With the score tied at one and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Jake Vesling ’18 singled to right field, scoring Nate Olson ’18. The Dutchmen would have to settle for just one, though, as Matt Catalfo ’20 was thrown out at home trying to score from second on Vesling’s hit. Kuchar cruised through six innings, but his throwing error on a sacrifice bunt gave Clarkson runners on first and third with no out the top of the seventh. Kuchar managed to induce a double play out of the next batter, but the tying run crossed the plate. Clarkson kept the inning going, as a walk and two singles brought in another run and knocked Kuchar out of the game. Another base hit off relief pitcher Nick Williams ’18 tacked on another run for Clarkson but Williams would get the next batter to strand two runners and get the Dutchmen out of the inning. Union responded right away in their half of the inning. Back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Vesling and Kent Curran ’17 scored Sam Kirschenbaum ’18 and Anthony Amoroso ’19. A fielder’s choice by Amoroso had set up first and third for the Dutchmen after Kirschenbaum, pinch-hitting for Olson, walked, and Catalfo singled. Andy Labeck ’18 lined out to third to end Union’s rally. Williams was excellent in relief, escaping a bases loaded jam in the eleventh and matching zeroes with Clarkson relief pitcher Ryan Riley until the top of the twelfth. After leading off the inning with a single, Clarkson center fielder Dom Pirro advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout. Williams got the next batter to pop up, but left fielder Ben Knauf came through with two outs, poking a hit through the infield to score Pirro. Knauf would come around to score as well, courtesy of two errors by the Dutchmen. Riley shut down Union 1-2-3 in the bottom of the twelfth, ending Union’s season. Union had defeated Clarkson in the first game of the tournament on Thursday. Labeck (4.2 IP) and Josh Garber ’20 (1.1 IP) limited Clarkson to three runs before Williams shut the door, striking out five over three hitless innings. Joe Ganim ’19 had two RBI, while Colin Kelly ’20 and Curran each had one. Curran would also score twice in the 5-3 victory. The Dutchmen finished the regular season 21-15 overall and 14-7 in league, the second-best record in the Liberty League.

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