FORT MYERS, FL – Amherst College senior pitcher Chris Edgar (Massapequa, NY) put in yet another great performance on the Lord Jeffs' Spring Break trip, this time coming out on the winning end of a 6-2 result against the Saints of Saint Lawrence University. Amherst (5-2) continues to improve but has little time to rest before Thursday's game with Scranton College at 9:30 a.m.
Amherst jumped on the Saints early when a Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) two-out double was followed by RBI-singles from senior co-captain Neal Allar (Floyds Knobs, IN) and junior Mike Neff (New York, NY) to give the Lord Jeffs a 2-0 advantage. Amherst picked up another run in the top of the third when senior co-captain Josh Card (North Adams, MA) doubled to left field and was driven in by Allar's second RBI-single in as many plate appearances.
Edgar looked sharp in the early going, striking out five batters in the first three innings to keep the Saints off the board. The Jeffs continued to provide run support for their senior right-hander, who was the tough luck loser in Amherst's season opener, bumping their lead to 4-0 with another run in the fourth inning. Junior Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) hit a single through the left side of the infield and stole second base, allowing first-year Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) to drive him in with a single to left field for his seventh RBI of the year.
Saint Lawrence led off the bottom of the fourth with a double down the left field line before loading the bases with one out, but Edgar was able to escape the situation unharmed when a grounder to second base allowed Neff to tag a runner and throw to Allar at first to complete the timely double play, as the Jeffs headed into the fifth with their 4-0 lead in tact.
Amherst continued to chip away and got another run in the fifth when first-year designated hitter Alex Coburn (Brookline, MA) ripped a single up the middle to score Allar, who had reached on a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Trailing 5-0, the Saints led off the bottom of the sixth with a pair of singles but once again could not provide the timely hits. A grounder to third base allowed Powers to step on the bag to get the lead runner, which was followed by a grounder to first-year shortstop Jose Espinosa (Ridgefield, CT). Espinosa flipped the ball to Neff for the force out at second, but the Jeffs could not complete the double play. Saint Lawrence, however, sent the runner around from second base in an attempt to get its first run of the game, but Allar fired the ball to Card, who applied the tag at the plate to end the inning.
The bottom of the seventh inning featured more stellar play from Amherst's middle-infield. After the Saints led off with a walk, Espinosa was forced deep in the hole on an infield single, but the rookie shortstop caught the runner at second inching too far off the bag, as he rifled the ball to Neff for the inning's second out to keep runners out of scoring position.
However, the heads-up play from Espinosa was followed by what appeared to be a lazy routine fly to left field, but the ball continued to carry and made its way over the fence to put two runs on the board for the Saints. Edgar regained his composure and picked up one last strikeout to end the inning and his day.
The Jeffs struggled at the plate in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and needed some insurance runs to regain momentum, and they got just that. First-year centerfielder Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) led off with a single and was moved to third on a pair of ground outs to the shortstop, allowing Card to bring him home with a single up the middle.
Amherst carried its 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, allowing junior lefthander Mike Landman (Brooklyn, NY) to once again close the door for the Jeffs. Unlike his previous two appearances, Landman's efforts earned him his first save of the season, as the Jeffs hung on for the 6-2 victory.
Merrigan, Card, Allar and Coburn each had two hits on the day to pace the Amherst offense, which totaled 12 hits in the game. Edgar (1-1) allowed two earned runs on nine hits in his seven innings of work, striking out seven and walking two. Landman allowed just two hits in his two-inning save.