Jeffs Open Northern Schedule with 8-5 Loss at Westfield

Courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information

WESTFIELD, MA – The Amherst College baseball team committed six errors during an 8-5 loss at Westfield State College, dropping the Lord Jeffs to 7-4 (0-0 NESCAC) on the season. Senior Mike Neff (New York, NY) went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead Amherst, which returns to action Friday, Mar. 27 to open conference play with a 3:30 p.m. game at Wesleyan University.  

First-year third baseman Matt Kelly was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and first-year outfielder Alex Xiarhos was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead Westfield State. It was the home opener for the Owls, who improved to 7-5.

Westfield was out-hit, 11-9, but Amherst committed six errors, including three in the Owls' four-run seventh inning. Westfield committed no errors and received solid performances from six pitchers in the nine-inning game. Senior captain Josh Perches pitched the first three innings and first-year Aaron Messier threw the fourth and fifth frames.

The Owls opened the scoring with two first-inning runs. Xiarhos doubled down the left field line, advanced to third on a single by Ben Wagner, and scored on a wild pitch. Ben Campbell reached safely on an error by the second baseman and Kelly ripped an RBI-single off the foot of Amherst junior pitcher Teddy Blank (Waban, MA).

Sophomore Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) rapped a run-scoring single in the third inning for the Lord Jeffs, but the Owls countered with an RBI-single by Xiarhos in the fourth to make the score 3-1.

Amherst closed within a run again, 3-2, in the seventh on a two-out RBI double by Neff. In the home half of the seventh, however, Westfield crossed the plate four times on only one hit. Mike Trachtenberg led off with a single, then the Owls took advantage of three Amherst miscues, stole a base, drew a walk, and executed two sacrifice bunts.

Westfield scored its final run in the eighth on two more Amherst errors to take an 8-2 lead. Amherst scored three runs on three hits in its final at bats, including a two-run double by Neff. Shaffer went 2-for-4 with an RBI, sophomore Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, MA) scored two runs, and first-year Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY) accounted for the Jeffs' fifth RBI. 

Blank (1-1) allowed one earned run on four hits in 2.0 innings of work to pick up the loss. Sophomore Jeff Keenan (West Hartford, CT) pitched the next three innings for Amherst, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk. Sophomore Pat Harris (Rochester, NY) surrendered four unearned runs in 1.1 innings of relief, while first-year Dylan Joyce (South Orange, NJ) closed out the game and allowed one unearned run and one hit in 1.2 innings.