Amherst Avoids Sweep with Pivotal 10-4 Win at Williams

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Amherst College baseball team earned a pivotal 10-4 win at archrival Williams College's Bobby Combs Field Sunday afternoon. The Lord Jeffs improved to 12-9 (5-4 NESCAC West) and kept their playoff hopes alive, while the Ephs dropped to 11-9-1 (4-2 NESCAC West). 

Ryan Healy '11 (Westport, CT) put Amherst in a position to win the game by keeping the Ephs off the scoreboard until the sixth inning. Three of the five hits Healy allowed came in the bottom of the sixth, when Williams scored twice to make it a 5-2 game. Healy struck out three and walked three to improve to 3-3 on the season.

Scott Shaffer '11 (Boulder, CO) capped off an outstanding weekend by going 2-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. Shaffer went 5-for-8 against Williams on the weekend, with his lead-off double in the fourth inning of Sunday's game giving him 100 hits for his career. 

Also getting a pair of hits for Amherst on Sunday were Bob Cook '13 (Winnetka, IL), Mike Samela '12 (Westport, CT), Thomas Wheeler '12 (Minnetonka, MN) and senior co-captain Will Lawton (Newton, MA). Lawton had four RBIs and hit the ball sharply all day.  

The Jeffs got on the board in the top of the third when Nolan Stewart '13 (New Canaan, CT) reached on an error that scored Cook, who had doubled. Shaffer's first double led to the team's second run in the fourth inning, as he was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lawton. 

Lawton made it a 3-0 game when he singled to bring home Wheeler in the sixth, and Cook tripled to bring in another two runs. The Ephs got two runs back in the home half of the sixth, but Amherst responded with two of its own in the seventh, with Lawton matching Cook by ripping a two-run triple. 

Senior co-captain Teddy Blank (Waban, MA), who relieved Healy in the sixth, gave up a run in the seventh when the Ephs strung together a single and a double to bring the score to 7-3. Amherst again responded well by scoring three times in the top of the eighth, with a Shaffer RBI-double and a two-run double by Alex Coburn '11 (Brookline, MA) leading the charge. 

The hosts got one run in the eighth off of Hayden Metz '12 (Ridgefield, CT) but would not get any closer, as Metz pitched a perfect ninth inning to wrap up the 10-4 win. 

With Wesleyan University cruising along at 7-2 in conference play, the Jeffs and Ephs are in position to battle for the final playoff spot in the West. Amherst will begin a crucial three-game series at Middlebury (5-10, 2-4 NESCAC West) Friday, Apr. 16. The Ephs still have to play three against Wesleyan and three versus Hamilton. 

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Tuesday, Apr. 13, when they host Castleton State College at 4 p.m. in a non-conference game.