Amherst Gets Back on Track with 16-4 Win at Springfield

Courtesy of Springfield College Sports Information

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Amherst College baseball team scored 16 runs on 20 hits while holding host Springfield College to only four runs on nine hits, improving the Lord Jeffs to 16-11 on the season. The Pride fall to 9-25 with the loss. 

Prior to the game, Springfield honored its seven seniors who were playing at home for the final time in their careers. Springfield also briefly honored Amherst's Bill Thurston, who is in the process of closing out his 44-year career as head coach of the Lord Jeffs.

In addition to racking up 20 hits, Amherst took advantage of five Springfield errors. Drew Michael went 3-for-4, but he proved to be the only bright spot for Springfield under sunny skies at Berry-Allen Field.

Amherst got off on the right foot when leadoff hitter John Wagner (Evanston, IL) walloped the first pitch of the game for a home run to left field. The Lord Jeffs added three more runs in the top of the first to take a 4-0 lead. With two outs and a man on first, senior Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) singled in a run. The third run of the inning came home on an error, and sophomore Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) knocked in another with a hard single to right. Overall in the inning, Amherst had five hits and was aided by two Springfield errors.

Springfield cut the margin to 4-1 in the bottom of the second when senior Luke Gabordi tripled to lead off. Moments later, he scored when Michael, a senior centerfielder, doubled down the left field line.

Amherst then put the game away with a six-run top of the third. In that inning, the Lord Jeffs sent 10 men to the plate. The first four men singled, with senior captain Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) knocking in the first run. Sophomore Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) knocked in the inning's sixth run with a sacrifice fly to left, and Amherst suddenly led, 10-1.

The Pride got one back in the fifth when Michael led off with a triple. One out later, sophomore catcher Zach Carhart plated Michael with a single to center.

Amherst scored twice in the seventh after the first two batters walked. First-year Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY), who pitched the first five innings and picked up his first collegiate victory, knocked home the first run with a solid single to center. Later on, first-year catcher Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, MN) drove in another with a sacrifice fly.

Springfield came back with two runs in the seventh, but Amherst then added one more in the eighth and three more in the ninth to salt it away.

Heller allowed five hits, struck out four and walked none while surrendering a pair of earned runs. Shaffer, senior Ryan Platzbecker (Westlake, OH) and sophomore Max McKenna (Lexington, MA) combined to pitch the final four innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits. The Amherst pitchers did not walk a single batter on the day. 

For Springfield, junior Ryan White (1-5) started and took the loss, giving up the first 10 runs in 2.2 innings.

Wagner went 2-for-5 for the Lord Jeffs, including that first inning home run. He also walked twice and had two RBIs overall. In addition, Schaller went 3-for-4, all singles, and added a walk. Senior Nat Pedley (Rye, NY) and sophomore Jose Espinosa (Ridgefield, CT) each had two hits for Amherst, while Powers went 3-for-5. 

Springfield will close its season Thursday when it plays a 4 p.m. tilt at Williams. Amherst will play at Hamilton Saturday in a pivotal NESCAC West matchup.