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Franz’s homer powers Saints in Liberty League tourney

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CANTON — An eight-run fifth inning helped the St. Lawrence University baseball team to an 11-7 win over Rensselaer on Friday and put the Saints one win away from claiming the Liberty League championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

SLU (28-12 overall), the tournament’s top seed, defeated Rochester 10-8 earlier in the day, picking up a game that was stopped by rain Thursday after five innings with Rochester leading 8-7.

Rochester went on to lose 6-3 to Skidmore in an elimination game and the Thoroughbreds will play RPI in another elimination game at noon today, with the winner advancing to play SLU at 4:30 p.m. If SLU wins. the tournament will end. If the Saints lose, they will play the same opponent at noon Sunday in a winner-take-all game.

The hero in SLU’s win over Rochester (18-21) was Saints center fielder Carter Franz, who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to break an 8-8 tie and give the Saints the win.

Joe Riley pitched four innings of scoreless relief for the Saints.

RPI (23-19) took a 3-0 lead in the winner’s bracket game before the Saints struck for eight runs in the fifth. SLU produced five hits and took advantage of one Engineer error in the inning.

Jeff Kott hit a three-run home run while Matt D’Auteuil and Ethan Braddock each drove in two runs with doubles.

Franz went 2-for-4 in the Rochester game and was 2-for-5 against RPI.

Former Immaculate Heart Central star Brian Magovney went 2-for-3 against Rochester, including a home run, and drove in three runs. Khifer O’Connor went 2-for-3 with two RBI’s against the Engineers and Kott finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

Jonny Rio went 4-for-5 for RPI, while Andrew Kalish, Kyle LaVigne and Art Levenson each produced two hits.

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