POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar College baseball team clinched their fourth overall and second consecutive Liberty League Tournament berth Sunday afternoon thanks to a doubleheader sweep of Bard College on Senior Day in play from Prentiss Field. Vassar took the opening game 4-2 before rolling past the Raptors 14-6 in game two.
With the victories, Vassar earned the No. 3 seed in the Liberty League Tournament, which starts Thursday afternoon at the University of Rochester. VC will take on No. 2 seed Union College at Towers Field on the campus of Rochester at a time to be announced. The Brewers claimed the No. 3 seed thanks to winning percentage, as VC had a .524 conference percentage, just edging RIT (.523) and RPI (.522).
Game 1 – Vassar 4, Bard 2
The Brewers got three outstanding innings of relief from sophomore Max Spencer, and posted two runs in the bottom of the first to propel them to the win.
In the bottom of the first, senior Bobby Kinne doubled to right field to start the rally with one out, and came around a batter later as Matt Schwartz singled to right-center to make the score 1-0. Two batters later, senior Matt Hernandez punched a single to right-field to score Schwartz, followed by a single from freshman Matt McGannon. VC nearly had two more runs, but Jake Doyle’s hard-hit ground ball that was destined for right field hit McGannon to end the frame.
Vassar added another run in the bottom half of the third, as Doyle doubled in Hernandez, who previously reached on an error. Bard didn’t go away though, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth but senior John Madsen came in out of the ‘pen and got out of a jam as the Raptors left the bases loaded.
The Brewers got a big insurance run in the bottom of the fifth, as freshman Jason Salerno pinch hit and scored McGannon on a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-2. That was all of the advantage that Spencer would need, as the lefty came in and allowed just three hits over three innings to earn the save. A big play for Spencer came in the top half of the sixth, as he picked off pinch runner Michael Uhle at second base. That proved key, as the Raptors’ Lee Perry singled the next pitch, which would have brought Uhle around to score.
McGannon finished 2-for-2 with a walk and run scored, while Doyle was also 2-for-2 with a double and sacrifice bunt. Schwartz posted a 1-for-2 day with an RBI and run scored, walking once as well. Jordan Myers and Jeff Goldrosen each had two hits for the Raptors, while starter Kyle Zigner went the distance, allowing nine hits and three earned runs.
Game 2 – Vassar 14, Bard 6
The Brewers posted six runs over the first three innings, and tallied eight over their last three innings to seal the sweep. VC put three runs on the board in the bottom of the first, getting two right away on a double by sophomore Evan Trausch. Two batters later, McGannon singled to center field to plate Trausch and make the score 3-0.
An inning later, VC made the score 4-0 on a strange play, as freshman Tanner Blough doubled to right field and the relay throw from the outfield missed everyone, which allowed senior Eric Strickland to come around from first. Blough scored two batters later, as Schwartz lined a single to left field to give the Brewers a five-run lead.
VC pushed its lead to six with a single run in the third inning, but Bard rallied back with three runs in the fifth inning, two coming on a single from David Schlosser. The Raptors threatened again in the top of the sixth, collecting three hits, but Myers grounded out to end the inning while leaving the tying run at first.
Vassar extended its lead back out to six at 9-3 in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs on no hits and two errors from Bard. In the inning, Vassar ran a planned base running play, as Kinne leaked off second base and drew a throw at second base which allowed sophomore Connor Levchuck to scamper home.
In the seventh inning, Vassar chalked up three more runs, as Levchuck singled in a run while Kinne drew a bases-loaded walk to score senior Chris Lee, who singled earlier in the inning. Bard tallied three runs in the eighth, but the Brewers grew their lead back up to eight at 14-6 as Bryan Rubin and Levchuck each collected RBI singles.
Rubin finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs, adding a double and stolen base, while Hernandez was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Levchuck entered the game off the bench and was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, stealing two bases as well. Blough was 2-for-4 with a double and two walks, and Kinne was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, two hit by pitches and a walk.
Junior Joe Conti allowed three earned runs over six innings, scattering nine hits, and Alex Hartnett worked a scoreless frame out of the bullpen. Rubin came in to close the game, and struck out three of the four batters he faced.