From University of Rochester Athletics
Rochester made good use of the home run on Sunday, hitting three over the fence in a doubleheader sweep of Rensselaer at Southside Field. The Yellowjackets won the opener, 4-0, on a grand slam by Lauren Muni. Brittany Grage and Eleni Wechsler hit home runs in game two, a 4-2 decision over the Engineers.
With the doubleheader sweep, Rochester improved to 14-7 overall, 4-0 in the Liberty League. RPI is 14-6 overall, 4-2 in the Liberty League. The Engineers came to Southside Field after sweeping a doubleheader at RIT on Saturday, 4-2 and 12-1. RPI had won 10 of its last 12 heading into Saturday. Rochester is ranked No. 20 in this week's poll by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Grage and Wechsler threw complete game victories to get the wins for the Yellowjackets.
Rochester's home runs ruined two strong pitching performances by Kristina Weltzin and Stephanie Caudle of RPI. Weltzin allowed four hits, four runs (three earned), walked four, and struck out six in six innings. Grage threw a four-hitter to get the game one win for Rochester. She did not walk a batter and struck out five.
In the nitecap, Caudle gave up eight hits, four earned runs, walked one and struck out four. Wechsler scattered seven hits for Rochester, allowed two first-inning runs (one earned), walked two, and struck out nine.
Both games were marked by veteran pitchers working themselves out of trouble. Rochester posed its first serious threat in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Sarah Wayson walked and Laurelle Byrne-Cody ran for her. Grage forced her at second. Wechsler doubled to left center, putting runners on second and third. Weltzin fanned Muni on three pitches to end the inning.
RPI had a chance to break the scoreless deadlock in the sixth. With one down, Kathleen Baker bunted for a hit. Danielle Balestrini bunted and beat the throw to first for another single. Morgan Kohlmeier grounded out to Muni at first base with both runners advancing. That brought Caudle to the plate. She hit two long flyball outs previously – in the first and fourth innings. Grage retired her on a grounder to short.
Leading off the sixth, Kayla Kibling singled to right center. Wayson bunted and the throw sailed down the right field line, moving runners to second and third. Grage struck out. Weltzin worked carefully to Wechsler and wound up issuing a four-pitch walk that loaded the bases. Muni hit the first pitch she saw over the left field fence. Grage retired RPI in order in the seventh.
In game two, RPI jumped in front in the top of the first. Balestrini bunted for a hit and was bunted to second. She took third on a passed ball with Caudle at bat. Caudle hit a full-count double to left, scoring her. After a groundout, Morgan Ten Eyck's fly ball was dropped and Caudle scored.
Rochester got one back in its half of the first. Grage hit her eighth home run of the season to left center. In the third with two down, Grage walked and Wechsler hit an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence, putting Rochester ahead, 3-2. The Yellowjackets added a final run in the fourth. Julia Liberto singled. After a strikeout and a foulout on a bunt attempt, Corning tripled to deep right scoring Liberto.
RPI had runners aboard in every inning, but Wechsler kept them off the scoreboard. Caudle doubled with one down in the third (with RPI up, 2-1). Wechsler struck out the next two hitters. The strikeout proved to be her crucial weapon. With two on and two out in the fourth, she fanned Balestrini. Grage turned a nifty double play in the fifth. Caudle walked with one out and was replaced by a pinch-runner. Cleanup hitter Jena Servidone hit a sharp line drive that Grage speared and threw to first doubling off the runner.
In the Engineer sixth, Wechsler retired the first two hitters. Devan Puhl and Victoria Greco singled. Christine White pinch-hit for Baker and ran the count to 3-0. Wechsler struck her out.
Caudle showed the ability to get out of tough spots as well. Liberto and pinch-hitter Jocelyn Blackshear singled for Rochester in the sixth. Tiffany White bunted them over. Corning, who had lined to short and tripled in her first two at-bats, hit a hard grounder back to the mound. Caudle looked Liberto back to third, then threw out Corning. She retired Kibling on a fly to center to keep the deficit at two runs.
Wechsler got the first two hitters in the seventh, Balestrini on a popup and Morgan Kollmeier on a fingertip catch by Kibling of a line drive. Caudle singled and was run for. Servidone hit the first pitch on a line that Wechsler speared to end the game.