FORT MYERS, FL – The Amherst College baseball team trailed Scranton College 11-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning but managed to cut its deficit to two runs with runners on base, but the Lord Jeffs' comeback fell just short as the Royals held on for the 11-9 victory in a game that featured seven home runs. Amherst (5-3) will take on the University of Saint Thomas (MN) Friday at 1 p.m.
Amherst first-year Jim Cetkovski (Toronto, ON) allowed just one hit in the first three innings, but it was a home run to center field in the second inning that gave the Royals a 1-0 lead. Fellow rookie Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) responded in kind for the Jeffs by belting a solo shot over the right field fence in the third inning, marking his first collegiate home run and tying the game at 1-1.
Cetkovski got into trouble when he walked the bases loaded in the top of the fourth before surrendering an RBI-single and a Chris Psihoules 3-RBI double. Scranton held a 6-1 lead, but the Jeffs came back to score three runs in the bottom half of the frame when junior Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) and senior co-captains Neal Allar (Floyds Knobs, IN) and Josh Card (North Adams, MA) each picked up singles to load the bases. Allar was driven in by a Shaffer sacrifice fly, while Schaller and Card came around to score on a 2-RBI double off the left field fence by junior Nat Pedley (Rye, NY).
The Jeffs had four runs on nine hits through the first four innings, while Scranton had six runs on only three hits. First-year Max McKenna (Lexington, MA) came in for relief in the top of the fifth and shut the Royals down in order. Junior Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) followed by leading off with a double to right field, but his teammates could not drive him in.
Card led off the bottom of the sixth and attempted to bunt for a hit, but he fouled the pitch off and settled for swinging away. Everything worked out in the end, as Card traded his bunt single for a solo home run to left field that cut his team's deficit to one run.
Amherst and McKenna seemed to be rolling, but Scranton led off the top of the seventh with a single before taking an 8-5 lead on a two-run blast by Justin Champagne. The Royals belted another two-run homer in the eighth before Psihoules followed up with a dinger of his own on the ensuing at-bat, as Scranton suddenly led 11-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
The game's seventh home run was delivered by Card—his second of the day—as the Jeffs trailed 11-6 with one more go-around at the plate remaining. Junior Mike Neff (New York, NY) ripped an RBI-single up the middle and Allar hit a 2-RBI single off the right field fence, but the Jeffs left a pair of runners stranded and could not complete the comeback, ultimately closing out the game with an 11-9 loss.
Cetkovski (1-1) allowed five earned runs on three hits and four walks in four innings to pick up the loss. Card finished the day at 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored to pace the offense, with Powers, Allar, Schaller, Pedley and first-year Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) adding two hits apiece.