Amherst Drops NESCAC West Opener at Wesleyan, 3-1

Courtesy of Wesleyan University Sports Information

MIDDLETOWN, CT – Sophomore Ryan Healy (Westport, CT) allowed only four hits and struck out eight batters in 7.0 innings of work, but he picked up the tough loss as the Amherst College baseball team was held scoreless through the first eight innings of a 3-1 setback at Wesleyan University. The Lord Jeffs fall to 7-5 overall and 0-1 in NESCAC West play, while the Cardinals improve to 7-7 (1-0 NESCAC West). 

Amherst and Wesleyan will play two on Saturday, with game one of the conference doubleheader beginning at noon on Amherst's Memorial Field. 

Senior left-hander Dusty Mones had one of his finest career outings in holding Amherst to five hits while picking up nine strikeouts to go with only one walk. Mones got out of two jams early in the contest as Amherst sophomore Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) led off the game with a sharp liner to center which was misjudged by Cardinal first-year outfielder Brandyn Cooper, going over his head for a triple. Mones then retired the next Lord Jeff batters on a bunt with no advance, a strikeout and a grounder to third. 

In the second inning, Amherst got successive singles through the infield from senior Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA), junior Will Lawton (Newton, MA) and senior Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) to load the bases. Again, Mones clamped down and struck out two of the next three batters while getting another on a short pop foul. 

In between the Amherst at-bats, Cooper redeemed himself by reaching on a walk, moving to second on a passed ball and scoring the first Cardinal run on a ground single to right by sophomore Julian Sonnenfeld for a 1-0 Wesleyan lead in the first inning. 

Sonnenfeld led off the fourth with a sharp double to the gap in left-center and scored on a double to right-center by senior Garrett Lamborn. Lamborn was responsible for bringing in the final Wesleyan run in the eighth when he grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded. Cooper again scored the run.

While Wesleyan managed three runs from its seven hits, Mones, who allowed four hits in the first two innings, faced the next 22 Amherst batters without permitting a hit, taking a four-hit shutout into the ninth inning. Sophomore Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) led off the last frame with the best hit of the game for the Lord Jeffs, sending a ball deep into the right-centerfield gap for a triple. First-year Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY) then sent a towering drive into left that Wesleyan first-year Kyle Weiss raced to catch with a tremendous diving effort. Shaffer easily tagged and scored the lone Amherst run on the play. 

Mones then got the final two outs on a routine fly to left and a grounder to second, finishing the game with nine strikeouts. The Cardinals got their final three hits and last run off first-year reliever Hayden Metz (Ridgefield, CT). Wesleyan (.339 team batting average) and Amherst (.347 team batting average) went into the game averaging 11.6 and 12.5 hits per contest, respectively.