GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo junior outfielder Claire VanNewkirk finished the day 2-for-5 with four RBI, a double, and a home run as the Knights split their first two games of the season, downing Coast Guard Academy, 7-1, and falling to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 3-2.
The Knights took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning with a two-out rally. After Persich led off with a single, first-year Maddison Tucker ripped a single through the right side and Persich came around to score on a throwing error. Two batters later, Merante drove in Tucker with a single through the left side and sophomore Danni Napoli came home on a wild pitch.
Coast Guard responded with a run in the bottom of the third, but the Knights plated four in the fifth to increase their lead to 7-1. VanNewkirk laced a pinch-hit two-run double down the right-field line, and sophomore Taylor Moore added a solo home run in the inning.
Throwing all seven innings for the Knights, Moore earned the win with eight hits and four strikeouts, allowing one earned run.
Geneseo fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but limited the Engineers to just a one-run lead until the fifth inning as senior Alexis Kidder worked through the RPI lineup. Kidder finished with six innings pitched, with three earned runs on five hits and five strikeouts.
The Knights took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning when VanNewkirk blasted a two-run home run down the right field line, also plating Persich. RPI responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to regain a one-run lead. Persich drew a walk in the top of the seventh to put the tying run on base, but was left stranded as the squad fell.
Geneseo moves to 1-1 on the year and will take on Susquehanna and Lancaster Bible on Sunday with games scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.