Blank Pitches Amherst to 7-3 Win Over Springfield

AMHERST, MA – Senior co-captain Teddy Blank (Waban, MA) allowed only two hits in six innings and Kevin Heller '12 (Brooklyn, NY) belted a three-run homer in the third inning to lead the Amherst College baseball team to a 7-3 win over Springfield College Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Field. The Lord Jeffs improve to 16-10 overall and are 9-3 in their past 12 games, while the Pride drop to 12-19. 

Amherst honored Blank and fellow seniors John D'Angelo (Woodbridge, CT) and Will Lawton (Newton, MA) prior to the game. Blank struck out six and surrendered only one earned run to pick up the win (1-1), D'Angelo struck out two and allowed only one hit in an impressive inning of relief, and Lawton went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. The Class of 2010 improved to 76-49-1 as a group. 

Jeff Keenan '11 (West Hartford, CT) relieved Blank with a runner on first in the seventh inning and surrendered one unearned run, D'Angelo pitched the eighth, and Pat Harris '11 (Rochester, NY) closed things out by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth. Springfield totaled only five hits on the day, with John Schmaltz '11 going 2-for-3 with a walk to lead the visitors. 

Scott Shaffer '11 (Boulder, CO) and Bob Cook '13 (Winnetka, IL) each had three hits for Amherst, with six other players finishing with one hit apiece. Mike Samela '12 (Westport, CT) scored two runs and swiped three bases, making him a perfect 12-for-12 on steal attempts this season. 

Springfield took a 1-0 lead in the first when Mike Corletta '12 reached on a two-base throwing error, advanced to third on a Schmaltz single to left field and scored on a fielder's choice. Blank went into cruise control from there, quickly extinguishing any momentum the Pride gathered until the seventh inning. Springfield reached on a leadoff walk in the fifth but followed by lining into a double play and striking out, while a first-and-third situation in the sixth inning was thwarted when Blank picked up his final K of the afternoon. 

Amherst tied things at 1-1 in the bottom of the second when Nolan Stewart '13 (New Canaan, CT) and Lawton strung together ground rule doubles. Designated hitter Will Godwin '12 (Swarthmore, PA) made it a 2-1 game when his single to right drove in Lawton. 

Heller's opposite-field shot in the third inning gave the hosts a 5-1 lead, moving the sophomore slugger into a tie with Samela and Stewart for the team lead in homers (5). 

Springfield made things interesting by plating a pair of runs in the seventh, as Mike Robilotto '11 led off with a walk and later scored on a single to right by senior co-captain Joe Kropa. Kropa would come around to score when a single up the middle by Schmaltz was compounded by an Amherst error, making it a 5-3 game. 

The Lord Jeffs got one back in the home half of the seventh when first baseman Alex Coburn '11 (Brookline, MA) executed a squeeze bunt that scored Lawton from third. Amherst added its final run in the eighth when, after the Jeffs pulled off a double steal, Stewart took the team lead in RBIs (23) with a sacrifice fly to left field. 

Steve Forbes '11 (1-6) took the loss for Springfield after surrendering six runs—five earned—on 10 hits in 6.1 innings. Forbes struck out three and walked five on the afternoon. Adam DeFelice '12 allowed only one hit in one inning of relief, while Mike Cole '10 pitched the final two-thirds of the eighth inning, giving up one earned run on one hit and one walk. 

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Friday, Apr. 30, when they kick off a pivotal three-game series with Middlebury College. The Pride will host Williams College tomorrow at 4 p.m.