Amherst Takes Two from Saint Michael's, 9-1 and 2-1

By Ryan O'Donnell '08

April 29, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College baseball team welcomed St. Michael's College for a pair of non-conference games on Sunday afternoon. The Jeffs pounded the Purple Knights 9-1 in the first game and squeaked out the second, 2-1. The Jeffs improve to 14-12 on the season while St. Michael's drops to 15-21.

Six Amherst College seniors were honored before their final regular season game at Memorial Field: Nick Kehoe (Washington, CT), Brian Donahue (Sudbury, MA), Andy Phillips (Great Neck, NY), Mark Mazzone (Wilmette, IL), Jared Banner (Brooklyn, NY) and Tom Scott (Randolph, NJ).

St. Michael's jumped out to the early advantage on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run that allowed Greg McLaughlin (Rutland, VT) to score all the way from first base. The Jeffs responded with a two-out rally led by Banner, who was hit by a pitch, stole second and then advanced on a throwing error that allowed first baseman Neal Allar (Floyds Knobbs, IN) to hammer him home with his team-leading 33rd RBI of the season.

In the third inning, Scott legged out an infield single and proceeded to swipe second base and snag third on consecutive pitches, allowing Banner to plate him with a sacrifice fly to left field and give Amherst a 3-1 lead.

The Jeffs continued to play small ball in the fourth inning when back-to-back singles were followed by a beautiful sac-bunt from Mazzone that gave the Jeffs two runners in scoring position. Evan Bruno (Williamsburg, VA) hit a sac-fly to center field and a crafty bunt single down the third base line by Josh Card (Drury, MA) plated Will Lawton (Newton, MA). The Jeffs four-run inning concluded when Scott and Andy Thal (McLean, VA) performed a double steal that the St. Michael's catcher tossed into left field, plating Thal.

Amherst grabbed another run in the sixth when Card and Thal roped back-to-back doubles and the Jeffs continued to apply offensive pressure. Phillips grabbed a pinch-hit walk much to the delight of the Amherst senior players.

After giving up an early run, Amherst starter Ryan Platzbecker (Westlake, OH) improved to 4-0 on the season. He settled in and retired 15 of the final 18 batters he faced, including a stretch of eight in a row. He was helped by a couple double plays, including a dazzling backhand stab from Mazzone in the seventh. Colin Dudanake (Northampton, MA) picked up the loss for St. Michael's.

Game two remained scoreless through the first three innings before the Purple Knights finally got to Amherst starter Teddy Blank (Waban, MA). A leadoff walk by Sean Naughton (Goffstown, NH) followed by a Jack Owens (South Boston, MA) sacrifice bunt put him in scoring position. Ed Fennessy (Wilton, CT) lined a single to right field that brought Naughton in from second for the first run of the game.

The Jeffs tied the game up in the bottom of the fifth when Bruno crushed a two-out double to right center that scored Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA). With two on and one out in the sixth inning, Amherst went to the bullpen and rookie John D'Angelo (Woodbridge, CT) got the Jeffs out of a jam. D'Angelo delivered by striking out Hennessy and getting a little help from Powers, who made a diving stop and gunned down the runner at second for the force out.

The bottom half of the inning saw Scott get hit by a pitch and Banner deliver a single to right field on a hit-and-run play that put Jeffs on the corners with one out. Allar continued his stellar season with a clutch sacrifice fly on the first pitch he saw, giving Amherst a 2-1 lead.

D'Angelo picked up his third win on the season while Mike Robert was tagged with the loss. The Jeffs return to action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to meet non-conference foe Westfield State College at 3:30.