May 17, 2005

Heartstoppers: comeback, no-hitter; Yeksigian enters record books as baseball sweeps RHIT

With the loss of a remarkable class of fourth-years imminent, the younger Maroons were not going to let them leave on a down note.

The Maroons (18-17) finished a roller-coaster spring with a thrilling Senior Day sweep of Rose-Hulman (23-18) Saturday, coming back from six and five-run deficits to take the first game 13-12 and rolling through the Engineers 6-0 in the second behind third-year starter Dan Yeksigian's (8-3, 3.31) no-hitter. The no-no may have been the first in team history, and it secured a winning record for the Maroons for the third straight year.

"This was the high point of the season, no doubt about it," head coach Brian Baldea said. "To win two with a big comeback and a no-hitter on Senior Day to finish above .500? That's everything you could want."

"We had struggled as a team early in the season, so we wanted to send the senior class off with some great winning memories. Most of these guys will never have the opportunity to play organized baseball again, which makes these last memories even more special to them," Yeksigian said.

The day, however, didn't start out with anything the Maroons wanted, as Rose-Hulman tagged fourth-year starter Matt Altomare for four runs in the top of the first on four hits, a walk, and two errors. The Engineers struck again in the top of the fourth with a two-run double from fourth-year third baseman Scott Tourville, who had five RBI on the game, giving the visitors a 6-0 lead.

The Maroons refused to be intimidated, capitalizing on a trio of Rose-Hulman errors for four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, but the home team looked finished after the Engineers piled on three more off of Altomare and fourth-year righty Dan Harrington in the top of the fifth for a commanding 9-4 lead with just nine outs left.

From there on, it was all Chicago, as fourth-year catcher/third baseman T.J. Rajcevich worked a bases-loaded walk to force in third-year designated hitter Ryan Denton in the fifth. Ten straight Maroons reached after two quick outs in the sixth to score eight runs.

"We started out extremely poorly. It says a lot of about the way this team was playing that they could change from what was really a horrible beginning to that finish," Baldea said.

Fourth-year center fielder Frank Brown struck the critical blow, banging out a bases-clearing triple to center