Amherst Splits Opening Pair of Games in Florida

WINTER HAVEN, FL – The Amherst College baseball team split its first pair of games this season, with play getting underway in Winter Haven, Florida. The Lord Jeffs came up short in an 11-10 comeback effort against Ramapo (N.J.) yesterday, before routing Salem State 19-6 this afternoon.

In the season opener against Ramapo, Amherst jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning when sophomore outfielder Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) led off the inning with a double to the gap in right center, before scoring on an error. Senior second baseman Mike Neff (New York, NY) scored the other run of the inning on a single by rookie Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY). 

Amherst opened up a 3-0 lead riding five shutout innings from starting pitcher Jim Cetkovski (Toronto, Ont). Amherst surrendered that lead when sophomore Max McKenna (Lexington, MA) came on in relief and gave up five runs in the top of the sixth. The Jeffs responded in the bottom of the inning to go back up 6-5, before Ramapo scored six runs in the top of the eighth. 

Trailing 11-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Amherst scored four runs to close the gap to just one run. With two outs, and the tying run on third base, Merrigan grounded out to end the game. McKenna was stuck with the loss in the opener. 

Heller was impressive in his collegiate debut, going 4-for-4 with a triple and three runs-batted-in. Merrigan scored two runs, while going 2-for-5 at the plate.
The Lord Jeffs turned to senior pitcher Ryan Platzbecker (Westlake, OH) against Salem State this afternoon. The hurler responded with six full innings of work on the mound for the win. 

The Amherst offense was led once again by Merrigan, who went 5-for-6 at the dish with three runs scored. Heller had another day for himself, and after two games had reached base in nine straight at-bats, with a 2-for-2 effort against Salem State. Senior co-captain Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) chipped in with a double and a triple in the win. 

With the win over Salem State, Amherst sits at 1-1 on the year, and will take on Worcester State tomorrow at 10 a.m.