FORT MYERS, FL – The Amherst College baseball team edged Fredonia State University, 3-2, to wrap up its Spring Break trip with a 6-4 record. The Lord Jeffs jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings and battled through the pouring rain to hold on for the win. Amherst returns to action Wednesday, Mar. 26 to host Westfield State in its home opener.
Sophomore Will Lawton (Newton, MA) reached on an error in the bottom of the first inning and stole second base, allowing junior Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) to drive him in with an RBI-double. The Jeffs scored again in the third inning when Lawton led off with a single, stole second and was driven in by yet another Powers RBI-double, as Fredonia State felt a sense of déjà vu.
Lawton and Powers played vital roles in the Jeffs' third run as well. First-year Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and was moved to second base by a Lawton sacrifice bunt. Powers then did his part and moved Merrigan over to third base with a groundout before senior co-captain Neal Allar (Floyds Knobs, IN) ripped an RBI-double that proved to be the game-winning hit.
The Blue Devils loaded the bases with only one out in the top of the fourth, but first-year starting pitcher Jeff Keenan (West Hartford, CT) got the next batter to fly out to center field and then picked up a big strikeout to close out the frame and close the books on his four-inning performance. Fredonia State picked up unearned runs in each of the sixth and eighth innings, but junior Ryan Platzbecker (Westlake, OH) struck out the side in the ninth to secure the 3-2 win.
Keenan walked two and allowed just two hits in 4.0 innings of work, striking out four along the way to move to 2-0 on the season. Fellow first-year Pat Harris (Rochester, NY) and junior Mike Landman (Brooklyn, NY) combined to pick up three strikeouts and allow four hits in four innings of relief before Platzbecker came in to earn his first save of the year.