Pair of Early Runs Stand as Engineers Edge Giants 2-0 at NCAA Regionals

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Auburn, NY – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scored a pair of first inning runs and made them stand to defeat Keystone College 2-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Regional Tournament on Wednesday night at Falcon Park.  The Engineers, seeded sixth in the field, improve to 27-15 and will play in a winner's bracket game on Thursday night while the third-seeded Giants slip to 31-13 and will play in an elimination game on Thursday afternoon. 
Keystone, who scored 42 runs in their three Colonial States Athletic Conference playoffs game last week, came in averaging more than eight runs a game this season, but was shut out for the first time since the final game of the 2014 campaign at the NCAA Regionals.  The Giants held a slim, 7-6 edge in hits against RPI while both teams left six runners on base in the contest.   
RPI, the Liberty League champions, jumped out to the 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Wednesday evening as Tyler Listing scored when Nick Palmiero hit into a double play before Thomas Desmond hit an RBI single to centerfield that plated Jared Jensen with the second run of the game.  That would prove to be all the scoring in the game despite threats from both clubs throughout the rest of the contest.    
Keystone put runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, but the Engineers threw out the runner attempting to steal from first to escape the jam and maintain their two-run advantage. 
RPI loaded the bases with two outs in the home fourth, but Keystone starting pitcher Jesse Arnold (Port St. Lucie, FL/Treasure Coast) induced a pop out just in front of the plate to escape the jam.  In the home half of the frame, Kevin Luciano (Everett, MA/Cambridge Rindge and Latin School) laced a one-out double to the centerfield fence and advanced to third on a groundout by Louis Reyes (Port St. Lucie, FL/Treasure Coast), but Jensen, who also started on the mound for the Engineers, got an inning-ending strikeout to persevere the shutout. 
In the top of the eighth, RPI put their leadoff man on, but a strikeout, throw-out double play by Arnold with Alex Herceg (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) throwing out the runner, followed by a lineout got Keystone into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing by two runs. 
Jensen (7-2) earned the win for the Engineers after scattering seven hits in 7.2 innings while striking out nine batters before turning the ball over to Sean Conroy, who picked up his first save of the season after fanning three batters and allowing one walk in the final 1.1 innings on the hill.  RPI got their six hits from six different players on the day with Jason Ramos's double marking the Engineers only extra-base hit of the contest.
Arnold (5-3) suffered the hard-luck loss for Keystone as the junior right-hander tossed a complete game six-hitter with seven strikeouts. 
Luciano went 2-3 with a walk to lead the Giants offensively while Reyes, Julian Lanfranco (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian), Chris Bzozowski (Westampton, NJ/Bishop Eustace), Anthony Muccio (Tarrytown, NY/Archbishop Stepinac), and Joe Angelucci (Commack, NY/Commack) also added hits in the loss. 
Keystone will play the loser of Wednesday night's game between #2 Baldwin Wallace (31-10, ranked 11th in the country) and #7 Old Westbury (25-11) in an elimination game that is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. at Falcon Park.
In other action on Wednesday, #5 Amherst defeated #4 Oswego State, 7-5 in 11 innings while #1 Cortland State rallied late to top #8 Oberlin, 6-4.  Oswego State and Oberlin will play an elimination game at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday while Amherst and Cortland will meet Amherst in a winner's bracket contest at 4:30 p.m.