Saints erupt in 8th, advance to Liberty League title game
St. Lawrence University's baseball team put up eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to overcome a 3-0 RPI lead and went on to a 11-7 win over the Engineers in game four of the 2012 Liberty League Championship tournament advancing to a potential championship game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Saints, now 28-12 on the season, are bidding to become the first team to win both the Liberty League regular season title and the tournament title after winning their first two games in the double-elimination tournament. Skidmore, a 5-3 winner over Rochester in an elimination game on Friday will meet RPI in an elimination game at noon Sunday. The winner of that game will take on the Saints Saturday afternoon and will need to beat SLU twice to take the title. If a second championship game is necessary, it will be played at noon on Sunday.Matt Skelly earned his sixth win of the year and Kyle Donaldson picked up his fourth save as both teams had their hitting shoes on in Friday's winner's bracket game.
RPI scored two in the top of the first on a two out single, an error and a two-run bloop single to left by Art Levenson. The Engineers added another run in the top of the third on Kyle LaVigne's run-scoring single.
A dropped fly ball opened the door in the SLU fifth and the Saints charged their way to an 8-3 lead. Matt D'Auteuil reached second on the outfield error and Ethan Braddock walked. RPI starter Jared Jensen then got two big fly ball outs, but Khifer O'Connor singled to left to score D'Auteuil and then the roof fell in on Jensen. Jeff Kott lashed a homer to left to score three more runs and make it a 4-3 Saint lead. Paul Piatelli then greeted relief pitcher Jason Griffith with a single to right and the Saints loaded the bases when Matt DeLuca was hit by a pitch and Brian Magovney walked. D'Auteuil then delivered a two-run single in his second at bat of the inning and Ethan Braddock followed with a two-run double to the fence in left center to make it an 8-3 lead.
RPI scored two unearned runs in the top of the sixth on a double play grounder and Jonny Rio's double with Donaldson coming in to finish off the inning with the Saints up 8-5.
RPI chipped away at the Saint lead, getting two more runs in the top of the seventh on Chuck Erickson's homer to right and Tanner Boucher's run scoring single to make it 8-7, but Donaldson kept it there through the top of the eighth and the Saints added some insurance in the bottom of the inning.
Bryan Palermo singled to center off RPI senior Dan Duval and Carter Franz hit a double to left center to score Palermo. Duval was forced to leave the game when he was hit in the face with a throw after losing the ball in the sun and Reid Roberge, the seventh RPI pitcher of the game saw Franz move to third on a passed ball and score when O'Connor's sacrifice fly was dropped in center. O'Connor ended up on second on the two-base error and came around to score when Jeff Kott reached on an infield hit and the ball got away at first.
Donaldson got a fly ball and then struck out the final two RPI batters in the top of the ninth to end the game.
Franz, O'Connnor and Kott had two hits each at the top of the Saint order while Rio was four for five for RPI.