By Kirti Chakote
Looking to rebound after a disappointing season last year (14-19 overall), the Union Baseball team started its season in Winter Haven, Florida at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The team finished the invitational with a 4-3 record, playing against Allegheny College, Sewanee University, Hamilton College, Benedictine University, and UMass Dartmouth.
The Dutchmen are a relatively young team with only 10 upperclassmen in a roster comprised of 34 players. Captains Phillip Kemp ‘13, Dylan Katz-Wicks ‘13, John Moore ‘13, and Nicholas Ranalli ‘12 lead the team.
Notable returning players are Vincent Esposito ‘14, who was named to the Liberty League Second team, David Peretti ‘14 and Tyler Heck ‘13, who both received Liberty League Honorable Mention.
In the 10 games since the invitational, Union has been inconsistent with six wins and four losses for an overall record of 10-7. Impressive wins did come against Clarkson, last year’s conference champion, in the first league games of the season. The Dutchmen, however, suffered close losses against Rochester Institute of Technology and Utica College, losing by one run in games against both teams.
During the past weekend, Union played against St. Lawrence University in doubleheaders on both days. St. Lawrence has been off to a great start with a 12-4 record this season, leading the Liberty League conference. Unfortunately, the Saints dominance continued against Union in all four games.
On Saturday, both games were close losses for Union. In game one, Union took an early lead in the top of the third with a homerun by Esposito, but the Saints came back to score four runs off of starting pitcher Dane O’Neil ‘14 in the bottom of the inning. The Dutchmen came back to tie it in the top of the fifth, but St. Lawrence had its winning rally in the bottom of the seventh and Union had no answer.
In game two, the Saints carried a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, where Union loaded the bases.
Unfortunately, the Dutchmen could not take advantage of the situation and lost its second nail-biter of the day.
The Saints’ momentum against Union carried into Sunday as they had a strong hitting performance in both games. In the first game Union could not keep up with St. Lawrence’s offense as they lost a blowout 8-3.
In the second game, Union took an early 5-3 lead into the top of the fifth, where it then collapsed.
The Saints scored six runs off of starter Seth Roberts ‘13 to take a 9-5 lead. The Saints never looked back for a 14-6 win.
Currently with a 10-11 overall record and a 5-7 league record, Union is in fifth place in the conference.
In order to make sure the season does not end up like last year, Union has to find its rhythm in its upcoming games. The team plays the fourth place league opponent, Vassar College (7-11 overall, 5-5 league), this coming Saturday.