Rensselaer Captures Liberty League Tournament

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TROY, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) recorded 27 hits in two games to win the 2015 Liberty League Championship over Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), today at Robison Field. With victories of 13-9 and 10-5, the Engineers (26-15) have now won two league titles in the last three years. The Tigers conclude their season at 23-15.

RPI becomes the first team in league history win the conference tournament after falling in its first game.

In game one, senior third baseman Tyler Listing (West Sand Lake, NY/Averill Park) broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run homer - the first of his collegiate career - which capped a four-run frame. A two-run single off the bat of classmate Shane Matthews (Ballston Spa, NY/Saratoga Catholic) made it 7-2 in the fifth.

Freshman righthander Aaron Kalish (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) gave RPI a much needed 5.2 innings as the starter, leaving with a 7-4 lead in the sixth inning. Matthews capped a five-run bottom of the sixth with a two-run home run to left that gave RPI a 12-4 cushion.

The Tigers did not go away quietly, mounting three straight two-run rallies to draw within 13-8 after eight innings. Junior second baseman Zach Zabel (Clarence, NY/Clarence) hit his first homer as a Tiger in the eighth, before classmate Brett Kajganich (North Royalton, OH/Holy Name) doubled in a RIT's eighth run.

Sophomore Phil Sammon (Ridgefield, CT/Ridgefield) brought the visitors within 13-9 by roping an RBI-single to left, but senior righthander Sean Conroy (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) came on to shut the door with his first of two relief appearances of the day.

Game two saw both teams plate a pair of runs in the first inning. Three RIT hits, including a two-run single from sophomore Will Gorman (Nassua, NY/Columbia), got the Tigers off to a fast start, but RPI answered, thanks to a passed ball and a run-scoring base hit by sophomore Thomas Desmond (Alamo, CA/De LaSalle) in the bottom half of the frame.

A Zabel groundout gave RIT a brief 3-2 advantage in the second, but the Engineers roared back with a four-run bottom half of the inning. Listing drove in a pair with a single to left, before a throwing error on a Jared Jensen (Kingston, NY/Kingston) bunt allowed two more runs ro come across.

RIT cut Rensselaer's 6-3 lead to just a single run in the fourth, when Zabel scored on a throwing error and Kajganich singled home senior Chris Barr (North Wales, PA/North Penn).

After two empty frames, the Engineers broke through in the seventh, scoring four runs on three hits and an error. A bases-loaded single by junior catcher Chris Holomakoff (Norwalk, CT/Brien McMahon) skipped by the RIT right fielder allowing all three baserunners to score. Holomakoff then came home on a passed ball to make it 10-5.

RPI starter Greg Echeverria (Longmeadow, MA/Longmeadow) gutted out 7.1 innings after throwing 109 pitches on Thursday. He allowed five runs (4 earned) on 10 hits in 7.1 innings, striking out five, while walking only one. Conroy once again came on in relief, surrendering one hit, while striking out two in 1.2 innings.

Freshman Brian Reed (Rochester, NY/Penfield) turned in a stellar relief appearances for the Tigers, giving up three runs (2 earned) on five hits in 5.0 innings.

The Engineers await their seeding and placement in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, which will be announced on Sunday night.

Senior second baseman Tim LeSuer was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He hit .545 (12 for 22) with a double, a home run, five runs scored and seven runs batted in. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team were Jensen, Holomakoff and sophomore Jason Ramos (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian). Jensen went 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his only start, while batting .300 (6 for 20) with four doubles, six runs and three RBI. Holomakoff batted .556 (5 for 9) with a home run - the first of his collegiate career - four runs and eight RBI. Ramos hit .583 (7 for 12) with five runs, four RBI and six walks.

All-Tournament Team:
Greg Jasek (Clarkson)
Brendan Garry (Rochester)
Brett Kajganich (RIT)
Will Gorman (RIT)
Zach Zabel (RIT)
Jared Jensen (RPI)
Chris Holomakoff (RPI)
Jason Ramos (RPI)

Most Outstanding Player:
Tim LeSuer (RPI)