Amherst Falls to Top-Ranked Eastern Connecticut, 9-6

WILLIMANTIC, CT – The Amherst College baseball team suffered a 9-6 loss to top-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University Wednesday evening in non-conference action. The Lord Jeffs fall to 8-7 on the season, while the Warriors improve to 16-1 as the No. 1 team in Division III. 

Amherst jumped out to an early lead when sophomore Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) led off the game with a walk and was driven in by a two-out single from first-year Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY). The host Warriors responded with five runs in the home half of the first inning and chalked up three more in the next two frames to take a commanding 8-1 lead. 

The Jeffs scored a combined five runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to pull within three, but neither team scored in the final three innings and ECSU held on for the 9-6 win. First-year Dylan Joyce (South Orange, NJ) ripped a two-RBI double in the fourth, senior co-captain Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) belted a two-run homer in the fifth, and Merrigan and sophomore Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) each had an RBI-single in the sixth. 

Senior Mike Neff (New York, NY) went 2-for-3, senior co-captain Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) and first-year Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, MN) were each 1-for-2 with a double, and first-year Will Godwin (Swarthmore, PA) had a single to round out the Amherst players with base hits. The Jeffs' 10 hits were bested by 12 from ECSU, while the Jeffs committed three errors compared to the Warriors' one. 

First-year Hayden Metz (Ridgefield, CT) picked up the loss on the mound to fall to 2-1 in his debut season. Sophomores Jeff Keenan (West Hartford, CT) and Pat Harris (Rochester, NY) and junior Teddy Blank (Waban, MA) combined to allow only three hits in 7.0 innings of relief. Harris accounted for four of those innings, surrendering only one hit and one earned run in an impressive appearance. 

The Lord Jeffs return to action Friday, Apr. 3 when they head to Hamilton College to open a three-game NESCAC West series with the Continentals. Friday's game is set for 4 p.m., with Saturday's doubleheader set to begin at noon.