|Karl Steffen became just the seventh coach in Division III history to reach 800 wins.
RPI athletics photo
ASHLAND, Va. - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) 31st-year head coach Karl Steffen earned his 800th career victory on Saturday as the Engineers opened their 2016 season with a 6-4 victory over Alvernia University at Randolph-Macon College.
Steffen becomes the just the seventh coach in Division III history to reach 800 wins, joining George Valesente of Ithaca College (1,041 victories), Tim Pettorini from Wooster College (1,035), Tom Austin of Methodist College (1,027), Bob Babb from Johns Hopkins (990), John Ostrowski of Benedictine University (948) and Edward Flaherty Southern Maine University (843).
Through 1,204 games - all at Rensselaer - Steffen has compiled an 800-401-3 record, which includes seven 30-win season and 18 NCAA Regional appearances. His .666 winning percentage ranks 33rd all-time.
RPI broke onto the board first in the top of the 3rd inning, when junior Jahriel Jimenez drove in a run a with a ground ball back to the pitcher with the bases loaded.
Alvernia struck back with a two-run bottom of the inning, capped off by a two-run single to center by sophomore Vinny Case.
The Crusaders added their advantage in the to bottom of the 6th, thanks to a run-scoring single off the bat of senior Chris Burns. He plated freshman Nathan Sides for a 3-1 lead.
The Engineers then broke out the bats in the top of the 7th, scoring four runs on four hits. Sophomore J.T. Sawyer singled following a Jeff Sitarski walk. Christian Spaguola then dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving runners to second and third. Matt Lawrence brought Sitarski home and an Alvernia error allowed the tying run to score. Jimenez then came through with an RBI-single to right, ahead of an infield single by pinch hitter Sam Lawrence that made it 5-3.
Spagnuola added an insurance run in the 8th, doubling home Sawyer. Alvernia then got one back in the bottom of the inning to draw within 6-4.
Senior captain Stephen Schiavone pitched the final 3.2 innings to earn the win on the hill. He surrendered a run on one hit, while striking out six and walking three. Fellow senior and captain Greg Echeverria went 4.0 innings as the starter, allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
The Engineers are back in action tomorrow morning, when they take on Randolph-Macon in a doubleheader. First of game one is scheduled for 10am.