The Union College baseball team didn’t get a chance to extend its even-year Liberty League tournament title streak when the 2020 season was called off just a few games in because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Union won the championship in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
“We’ve got a running joke among the coaches that we don’t win it in odd years,” Union head coach Paul Mound said. “We’re going to try to change that.”
Union will travel to the University of Rochester Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. one-game title matchup after both teams prevailed in semifinals Wednesday. The winner gets an invite to the Division III World Series.
“It’s one baseball game,” Union College senior catcher Matt Toy said. “Anything can happen.”
Toy played a big role in Wednesday’s 18-9 semifinal win over Ithaca with four hits including a home run and four RBI. That homer came in a five-run first, and the Dutchmen (No. 2 seed, 12-7) later built leads of 8-2 and 12-6.
“We’re going to come out swinging,” said senior second baseman Joey Palko, who had a pair of RBI singles in Union’s 15-hit attack against Ithaca. “We want to take it to them as soon as possible.”
Union scored in each of the first five innings against Ithaca, and Rochester (No. 1, 23-8) scored in each of the first six when it beat Clarkson Wednesday 13-8. Rochester, which won the Liberty tournament in 2019, banged out 17 hits.
“It will be a war,” Mound said of the title tilt.
Rochester sophomore left fielder Aaron Whitley, who, like Toy, graduated from Niskayuna, had four hits with two doubles in Wednesday’s semifinal win.
Union has won five straight games, and Rochester has won three in a row.