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PREVIEW: Union ready for Liberty League tournament

PREVIEW: Union ready for Liberty League tournament

SCHENECTADY, ​​NY – The third-seeded Union College baseball team crosses the river to Troy to take on the second seed, Ithaca College, on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the opening game of the Liberty League tournament on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Robison Field at Karl Steffen Ballpark.

HOW WE GET HERE: Union defeated Rochester Institute of Technology in the best-of-three Liberty League Crossover Series to clinch a spot in the conference tournament. Union finished the regular season 28-10 overall with a 12-5 record in conference play.

FIRST TIME: Union qualified for the Liberty League tournament for the first time since 2021 and the first under head coach Johannes Müller.

LIBERTY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Union is 14-8 in the Liberty League tournament dating back to 2005. Union has reached the championship game five times (2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021) and captured the conference title three times (2014, 2016, 2018).

TOURNAMENT HISTORY VS ITHACA: Union and Ithaca met for the first time in the 2021 conference tournament in the semifinals. Union defeated the visiting Bombers 18-9 in Amsterdam to advance to the title game.

AGAINST THE BOMBERS: The Garnet Chargers have not played Ithaca yet this season. Union is 5-3 overall against Ithaca, dating back to the first meeting in 1946. The last win against Ithaca was a walk-off win last season as the teams split the season series.

REACHING BASE: Senior Thomas Parisi is on a 43-game base streak dating back to last season. Parisi reached base safely in all 37 games he played this season.

GONE REGARD: Parisi currently has the team’s longest active hitting streak at 19 games. Parisi hit .452 in that span with 38 hits, 31 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, 19 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Sophomore Caleb Miller scored a goal in 24 consecutive games this season, but saw his streak broken last Saturday. Miller’s streak was the longest hitting streak for Union dating back to at least 2013.

GO, GO, GO: Sophomore Liam McIlroy has hit 11 home runs this season, the most in the Liberty League. His eleven home runs are tied for second most in Union history, one season shy of the single-season record. He has 13 career home runs, which ranks fifth in the Union record book.

ON THE TOP: Union has the nation’s highest on-base percentage at .457, as well as one of the nation’s top offenses at 10.3 runs per game, which is third in the nation. Union also ranks third with a batting average of .350 and is fifth in runs scored with 393.

TURN THEM: The Garnet Chargers have turned 35 double plays this season to lead the Liberty League and are averaging almost a double play per game. Nationally they are 25e in doubles and 21st in doubles per game.

RUN IT OUT: Senior Kobe Mentzer has drawn 28 walks this season, breaking his own single-season walk record. Mentzer has 79 walks in his career, making him the career record holder for Union.

ROOKIE MAGIC: First year Jack Collins leads the pitching staff with a 6-1 record and two complete games. The rookie has 26 strikeouts in 50.0 innings of work, a 4.14 ERA and is holding opposing hitters to a .254 average.

ANSWER THE CALL: Junior Alex Erikson and oldest Kyle Patlove have been an important part of Union this season. Erickson has 34 strikeouts in just 19 innings, the second-most strikeouts on the team, while holding opponents to a .200 average in his 16 appearances. Patlove is having a career year as a senior with a 4-0 record and a team-best ERA of 2.55. Patlove has played in 15 games and 24.2 innings with 14 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .239 average.

ABOUT THE BOMBERS: Ithaca has claimed the Liberty League title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons. The Bombers enter the weekend at 28-9. Collin Feeney leads the way offensively for Ithaca with a .355 batting average, 37 runs, 28 walks, 17 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .490.

WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of the Union-Ithaca game will face the winner RPI and Rochester in the double-elimination tournament.