Jeffs Clinch NESCAC Tournament Berth With Doubleheader Sweep of Middlebury

May 5, 2001

AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College baseball team earned one of four slots in the inaugural NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament with a doubleheader sweep of visiting West Division rival Middlebury College on Saturday. Three Amherst pitchers combined to top the Panthers 5-2 in the opener before sophomore right-hander Jonah Ansell (Oak Park, IL) tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout for a 9-0 win in the nightcap. 

With the pair of wins and an 8-0 victory over Middlebury on Friday, Amherst completed a three-game sweep over the Panthers and improved to 18-12 overall and 7-4 in divisional play, while Middlebury fell to 11-16 and 4-8. 

Amherst jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the opener when Middlebury senior starter Devon O'Neil (St. John, Virgin Islands) walked Amherst first baseman Brett Nicol (Orinda, CA) with the bases loaded and senior shortstop Jordan Krall (Encino, CA) plated left fielder Dave Siegle (Falmouth, ME) with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Jeffs added another run in the second on another sacrifice fly by Siegle and stretched the lead to 5-0 in the third on a two-run double by junior catcher J.R. Drabick (Lebanon, NH) and an RBI single by junior second baseman John Brody (Baltimore, MD). 

Meanwhile, Amherst starter Dave Krauser (Short Hills, NJ) cruised through the first four innings, allowing just two hits and no runs with six strikeouts before giving way to first-year reliever Duncan Webb (Lynn, MA) in the fifth. Webb surrendered an unearned run in the fifth and an RBI double to O'Neil before loading the bases in the seventh, when senior closer Kevin Downes (Pound Ridge, NY) entered the game and retired the next three batters for his second save of the season. 

Krauser improved to 3-5 with the win, while O'Neil-who went the distance for Middlebury-fell to 2-4. Drabick, Brody and sophomore right fielder Jarret Solomon (Simbsury, CT) each finished with two hits for the Jeffs. 

Amherst senior first baseman Ryan Whitmarsh (Dalton, MA) went hitless for the first time this season, ending his school-record hitting streak at 28 games. It was the longest Amherst hitting streak since former Jeffs' standout Tom Kelly hit safely in 21 straight games in 1969. 

However, Whitmarsh rebounded with four hits in the nightcap, including an RBI single in the third inning and his team-leading 12th double of the season in the sixth. Drabick also went two for five with a double, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, while Siegle drove in a run with his second triple of the season. 

Ansell (1-0) was nearly unhittable with a career-high eight strikeouts and no walks in nine innings of work-by far his longest and best outing of the season. First-year Ben Christensen (Kalispell, MT), who also pitched an inning for Middlebury on Friday, gave up seven runs-four of which were unearned-in 4.2 innings to fall to 1-1. 

After a road game against NESCAC West Division rival Hamilton College at Utica College Sunday at 1 p.m., the Jeffs will set their sights on the inaugural NESAC Championship Tournament, held May 11-13 at Williams College. Tufts University and Trinity College will represent the NESCAC East Division at the first-ever postseason tournament, with Williams and Amherst qualifying from the West.

Game One Box Score and Play-by-Play 
Game Two Box Score and Play-by-Play