Knights earn third seed in baseball conference playoffs with second split versus SLU
Sending 26 batters to the plate over its final three at bats, the Clarkson University Baseball team scored nine times in the final three frames to finish a come-from-behind victory against St. Lawrence, taking game one of Sunday's Liberty League doubleheader, 9-6, at Jack Phillips Stadium. In the second game, St. Lawrence for five late runs to break open a tie ballgame, claiming the last conference playoff spot with a 9-5 victory.
The Golden Knights saw their record evened once again at 17-17 while moving to 13-11 overall in conference games, good for the third seed in the Liberty League tournament next weekend at Rensselaer. Clarkson will face second-seeded Skidmore College, which finished percentage points ahead of the Knights. St. Lawrence needed the last victory in the weekend series to reach the conference tournament, gaining the fourth seed with a 18-19 overall mark and a 11-12 conference record. The Saints will face host Rensselaer.In game one, St. Lawrence scored a pair of runs in the top of the third inning, but Clarkson's offense woke up after sending the minimum to the plate through the first three frames. Clarkson batted around in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring seven times combined, and then added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning as eight more men came to the plate. The damage could have been worse, with the Knights stranding eight runners over the final three innings. St. Lawrence rallied for four in the top of the fifth inning, but the Knights' offense kept plugging to take the win.
Clarkson started the fouth inning with a single from David Wixted (Ballston Lake, NY), and David Kinney (Mexico, NY) drove a double to score the freshman from first base. Justin McInerney (Grand Island, NY) then added a single to score Kinney and a two-out bases loaded hit by pitch by Sam Grainger (Bedford, MA) forced home another Clarkson run.
In the fifth, Wixted led off with a walk and Kinney followed with what was initially ruled an error on St. Lawrence third baseman Khifer O'Connor. However, the Kinney liner that could have been caught actually went through the freshman's glove and was changed to a hit. Jerry Coleman (Potsdam, NY) lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Wixted and three batters later Dan Padrazo (Setaucket, NY) plated a pair with a two-run double. Garrett Russell (Lake George, NY) then scored Padrazo with a single through the middle.
Leading by a single run through five innings, Pete Roma (Endicott, NY) came on to close the door for Clarkson over the final two frames. He allowed just a walk in his two innings of work, striking out three batters for his first career save. Bryan Chudy (Goshen, NY) gained the victory, his sixth of the season, working the first five innings. Pat Considine took the loss for St. Lawrence.
Wixted went 1-for-2, but scored three runs for Clarkson, while Kinney came around to score three as well, going 2-for-3. McInerney went 2-for-4 and Russell was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. For St. Lawrence, O'Connor was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Carter Franz went 2-for-3 with two runs scored an a RBI.
The second game continued the offensive push where the opener left off. St. Lawrence and Clarkson traded runs in the second inning and the Saints added two in the top of the third inning. O'Connor doubled to right to plate two with none out in the third, but Clarkson's starter Vince Baldwin (Catskill, NY) got out of the jam to minimize the damage.
Clarkson picked up three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, starting with a solo home run by Pete Lasecki (Stratford, CT) to lead off the inning. Two more came around to give Clarkson the lead as a sacrifice bunt from Grainger led to a run and Kinney drove in another with a single to third base.
St. Lawrence responded quickly with runs in the fifth and sixth to reclaim the lead and then put the game away in the seventh with three more. The Knights scored one in the seventh to pull back to within three runs (8-5), but St. Lawrence added an insurance run in the ninth, and Clarkson went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
Wixted, Kinney and Russell each had two hits for the Knights in the second game, but it was St. Lawrence that opened up offensively. Jeff Kott went 4-for-5 and four other hitters each delivered two hits in the Saints' 16-hit attack.