Victory eludes Keene State
- Updated: March 11, 2022
TROY, N.Y. – Six combined runs batted in from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute leadoff hitter Jake Defayette and No. 9 hitter George Rainer helped the Engineers roll to a 9-1 win over the Keene State College baseball team in an abruptly scheduled non-conference contest Thursday afternoon at Robison Field/Karl Steffen Ballpark.
- Keene State: 0-4
- RPI: 4-1
How It Happened
Much like Tuesday’s defeat at Salem State University when KSC trailed 7-1 after two innings, the Owls fell into an early deficit and never recovered, missing on a few key chances before seeing RPI blow the game wide open late. However, unlike the other day and the opening three games when KSC made just one error in each contest, the Owl defense became problematic, handing RPI four unearned runs to change the complexion of the game. Two such runs came across in the very first inning, as the hosts built a 2-0 lead without getting a hit. Defayette walked to begin RPI’s day at the plate, and he came around to score thanks to an error on Cole Paquin’s grounder to third and a balk. Paquin then scored himself when Martin Marintchev’s grounder to shortstop was mishandled, putting the hosts up 2-0 quickly without much in the way of offense. The Engineers’ hardest contact of the inning came when Jack Moncur lined out to center, but the Owls were nonetheless facing a deficit after one for the third time in the season’s first four games.
RPI’s lead doubled in the bottom of the second, this time by virtue of one hit, three walks, and a sacrifice fly. Hudson Livesey began the frame with a base hit to right, and then scored when KSC starter Brendan Muhs walked the next three in a row to force in a run. Defayette’s fly ball to right tacked on another and made it a 4-0 game, but reliever Gregory Esposito came in and limited the damage, getting Moncur to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play.
Keene State answered in their half of the third with a two-out rally to keep in touch, as Nathaniel Hudson became the Owls’ first hit, doubling to left with two outs. The next better Colin McKeon hit a grounder to third baseman Moncur, but his throw to first was wild, not ending the inning and getting RPI within 4-1. A walk to Junior Santos brought up Barter representing the tying run, but he fouled to third to end the threat. The Owls were unable to produce many other chances, as three of their five hits were doubles in different innings. Hudson singled and McKeon walked with two outs in the fifth in as they sent five hitters to the plate, but had nothing to show for it and RPI steadily pulled away thereafter. Otherwise the Owls went down in order in three of their first four innings and four times overall.
The Engineers tacked on three runs, two unearned in the seventh, to turn a 6-1 lead into a 9-1 gap as they rolled to their fourth straight win after a season-opening 15-9 loss to St. John Fisher University on February 23.
KSC’s offense on the day wound up being three doubles and two singles. Hudson went 2-for-3 with a two-base hit and a run scored. Trent Mayer and Wyatt Daft (first career plate appearance) also doubled, but a key hit with runners in scoring position remained elusive.
Marintchev had RPI’s lone extra-base hit, going 2-for-4 with a double. Rainer was 2-for-3 out of the nine spot, and Aidan Hicks 2-for-3 with an RBI, walk, and two runs scored out of the seven spot in the Engineers’ lineup. Alex Vallee (1-0) got the win on the mound, allowing just one unearned run and two hits in five innings, walking two and striking out five.
Muhs (0-1) labored in his second start of the season for KSC, allowing four runs (two earned) and one hit while walking four in 1.1 innings.
Around the Horn
- It was just the second all-time meeting between the teams, with the other coming on March 3, 2013 in Farmingdale, N.Y., won by RPI in 11 innings.
- Hudson is 4-for-9 with a pair of doubles to start the season. Santos is 3-for-10.
- Keene State ventures to the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and will take on McDaniel College (6-3) for a doubleheader March 13 starting at 3:00 p.m.
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