FORT MYERS, FL – The Amherst College baseball team recovered from a season-opening loss to Babson College by racking up 23 runs in a win over Nichols College at Terry Park in Fort Myers, Florida. The Lord Jeffs move to 1-1 on the season and will play two against Plymouth State Monday beginning at 4 p.m.
Amherst sophomore Will Lawton (Newton, MA) was hit by a pitch in the first at-bat of the game and moved to third on a double from first-year Jose Espinosa (Ridgefield, CT) to begin a five-run first inning for the Jeffs. Senior co-captains Neal Allar (Floyds Knobs, IN) and Josh Card (North Adams, MA) each had RBI-singles in the top of the first, as did junior Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) and first-year Alex Coburn (Brookline, MA).
The Amherst bats stayed alive in the early innings, as the Jeffs chalked up another two runs in the second and four in the third before putting the game out of reach with a six-run two-out rally in the fourth inning. After five consecutive batters reached safely, Powers muscled a curve ball over the right field fence to drive in Allar and first-year Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) to give Amherst a 17-1 advantage.
After three hours of the back end of a doubleheader for Nichols, the Jeffs had poured on 23 runs while allowing just four. Thirteen Amherst players recorded a hit—including each batter in the starting lineup—and eight players had at least two hits. Espinosa and Allar each scored four times, with Allar providing a two-run blast in a 3-for-6 performance.
Rookies Shaffer, Merrigan, Espinosa and Coburn each had a pair of hits, with Shaffer driving in five runs in addition to scoring three times. Junior Mike Neff (New York, NY) chipped in for Amherst's third home run of the night with a towering solo shot in the eighth inning.
First-year James Cetkovski (Toronto, ON) had some long breaks between innings but lasted through the sixth in his collegiate debut, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking none. Fellow first-year Max McKenna (Lexington, MA) pitched the final three frames and gave up two unearned runs on five hits, striking out four and walking two.