Amherst Overpowers Hamilton in Slugfest, 24-13

AMHERST, MA – Sophomore right fielder Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY) went 6-for-7 with a pair of triples to lead the Amherst College baseball team to a 24-13 win over Hamilton College Friday afternoon at Memorial Field. The Lord Jeffs (8-7/2-2 NESCAC West) and Continentals (5-10/0-1 NESCAC West) will begin a doubleheader Saturday at noon in Amherst. 

The teams combined for 37 runs on 38 hits and eight errors, marking Amherst's highest run total since a 24-3 win over Wesleyan University Mar. 31, 2006. Eleven Lord Jeffs recorded at least one RBI and 11 Continentals had at least one hit in the game. Hamilton used seven pitchers and sent 16 players to the plate. 

Heller had two singles, two doubles and a pair of triples, as he hit safely in each of his first five at-bats. The only time Hamilton managed to keep Heller off the base paths was in the bottom of the seventh inning, when he lined out to deep centerfield on a hard-hit ball. 

First-year Nolan Stewart (New Canaan, CT) was 3-for-6 and scored four runs for Amherst, while Brian Merrigan '11 (Holbrook, MA), Mike Samela '12 (Westport, CT), Bryce Einhorn '11 (Scarsdale, NY) and Dan Pillitteri '13 (Ramsey, NJ) each added two hits. 

Five Hamilton players had a multi-hit game, with Grady Vigneau '10 leading the way by going 2-for-4 with six runs driven in. Four of his RBIs came in the top of the seventh inning when he belted a grand slam over the centerfield fence to make it a 13-8 game. 

Hamilton led off the game with a double to center and held a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but sophomore John Wagner (Evanston, IL) led off the bottom of the first by crushing the first pitch he saw over the fence in left field to quickly tie things up. The Jeffs scored six times in the first and never looked back, adding two runs in the second, two in the third, five in the fourth, two in the seventh and seven in the eighth. 

The visitors chalked up three runs in the top of the third to make it a 10-4 game and Vigneau made things interesting with his grand slam, but the Continentals' deficit was too much to overcome despite their 16 hits. Hamilton combined for nine runs in the final three innings. 

Junior Max McKenna (Lexington, MA) improved to 3-0 by pitching the first 6.2 innings for Amherst, surrendering nine runs—six earned—on 12 hits and a pair of walks. McKenna fanned six batters before handing the ball off to Adam Medoff '13 (San Francisco, CA) in the seventh inning. Medoff allowed only one earned run on four hits in 2.1 innings of relief. 

Andrew Perkowski '13 (0-3) took the loss for Hamilton after lasting only one inning. After Michael Caruso '12 pitched the second and third innings, five Continentals pitched one inning apiece. Dan Kroening '11 and Nzaba Fonseca-Sabune '12 each pitched a scoreless frame. 

Stewart belted a two-run home run—his fourth homer of the season—in the first inning and Pillitteri added a two-run shot in the fourth for the first long ball of his collegiate career. The Lord Jeffs increased their team batting average from .332 to .345 with Friday's onslaught. Heller is now batting .650 (13-for-20) with eight runs and seven RBIs in four career games against Hamilton.

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