May 4, 2001
AMHERST, MA - Junior starter Jeff Leduc (Pittsfield, MA) allowed just four hits en route to his second complete game shutout of the season as the Amherst College baseball team (16-12/5-4 NESCAC) moved one step closer to a spot in the inaugural NESCAC Championship Tournament with an 8-0 win over visiting West Division rival Middlebury College on Friday.
Amherst sophomore right fielder Jarret Solomon (Simsbury, CT) drove in two runs with a pair of doubles and scored twice, while senior third baseman Ryan Whitmarsh (Dalton, MA) added his team-leading sixth home run of the season-a two run shot in the first inning-to pace the Jeffs offensively. Meanwhile, first-year center fielder Paul Whiting (Mission Viejo, CA) socked a three-run double with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to set the final score at 8-0 and seal the victory for Amherst.
Seven of the Jeffs' eight runs came against junior Middlebury starter Tyler Conrad (Lunenburg, MA), who pitched admirably for the Panthers despite a nagging blister on his pitching hand. After surrendering a two-run homer to Whitmarsh in the opening frame, Conrad (1-4) shut the Jeffs down for the next five innings until Amherst broke through with a pair of insurance runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth. First-year reliever Ben Christensen (Kalispell, MT) finished the eighth inning for Middlebury, which fell to 11-14 overall and 4-6 in divisional play with the loss.
Senior second baseman Jon Cormier (Trumbull, CT) finished with two of Middlebury's four hits on the afternoon, including a leadoff double down the left field line in the sixth inning.
However, the story of the game was LeDuc, who struck out a season-high eight batters without a walk to improve his team-best pitching record to 5-1. It was LeDuc's third conference win and sixth complete game of the season, shrinking his ERA to a miniscule 1.55 overall.
The Jeffs and Panthers will meet again on Saturday for a crucial West Division doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Amherst would clinch a berth in the four-team NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament with a split.
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