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Clarkson baseball drops playoff opener to UofR

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LOUDONVILLE - Despite sending the go-ahead runner to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, the third-seeded Clarkson University baseball could not rally and fell to the second-seeded University of Rochester Yellowjackets 5-2 in the first round of the Liberty League Tournament on Thursday afternoon.

The Golden Knights drop to 19-12 on the season and will take on the loser of the afternoon’s second game which saw top-seeded Union College beat fourth-seeded Vassar College. Clarkson takes on the Brewers today starting at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and the winner will advance to the loser’s bracket championship game at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening. Clarkson now faces elimination the rest of the way and will have to win a pair of games tomorrow and two more on Saturday to win the tournament. Union takes on UofRo today at 1 p.m.

After falling behind 5-1, the Green and Gold rallied in the top of the final inning. Following a leadoff ground out, senior Dan Lenney (Clifton Park, NY) got hit with a pitch to give the Knights a base runner. Junior Matt Jenack (Massena, NY) would then walk, and classmate Tim Beninati (Schoharie, NY) would take a free pass following a lineout. With the bases now loaded Rochester would go to the bullpen, and sophomore Anthony Padrazo (Setaucket, NY) would get hit with a pitch after working the count full to force in the run. The top of the order would then come up and after falling into an 0-2 hole, senior David Wixted (Ballston Lake, NY) would fly out to left as the left fielder crashed into the fence but hung on to end the game.

Sophomore Greg Jasek (Chittenango, NY) got the start on the mound and pitched eight innings, giving up seven hits and two walks while striking out eight. He would find trouble in the bottom of the second inning after hitting the leadoff batter with a pitch. An error would give the Yellowjackets runners on first and second with no outs, and after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners along, Nate Mulberg singled to center to give Rochester the 2-0 lead.

Clarkson would get a run back in the fifth inning as Padrazo hit a grounder to shortstop and the throw was off target. Jenack came home from second to cut the Rochester lead to 2-1, but they would immediately respond in the bottom of the frame. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out and Josh Ludwig would capitalize, singling up the middle to plate two more runs and stretch the lead to 4-1. The Yellowjackets would add another run in the sixth as Mulberg once again singled to give Rochester the 5-1 lead.

Clarkson only managed two hits against Rochester starter Dan Warren, who pitched eight innings, walking three and striking out four.

The bullpen was shaky in the ninth inning, walking two and hitting a pair of batters, but two pitchers would combine to record the final three outs. Jenack recorded one of Clarkson’s hits and walked three times, while junior John Coleman (Potsdam, NY) tallied the other hit for the Knights.

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