Jeffs Fall to Bowdoin in 11 Innings, 3-2

Courtesy of Wesleyan Sports Information

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- The Amherst baseball team opened its 2012 NESCAC Championship run with a tough 3-2, 11-inning loss to Bowdoin on Wesleyan's University's Andrus Field. 

Tying the game in the top of the ninth, the Polar Bears (24-16) pushed across the go-ahead run with two outs in the 11th to notch their third-consecutive postseason victory over the Jeffs. Bowdoin now advances to play Trinity College in Game 4 of the tournament, while Amherst (23-9) will take on Williams College in an elimination game. The first pitch in both games is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.

Bob Cook '13 (Winnetka, Ill.) turned in a quality start for Amherst, throwing 8.2 innings while scattering eight hits, striking out five, and throwing 64 of his 89 pitches for strikes. Junior counterpart Oliver Van Zant had an equally strong effort for Bowdoin, going eight innings while allowing five hits and racking up seven strikeouts, the last of which coming on his 123rd and final pitch of the afternoon to strand a runner at third. First year Henry Van Zant picked up the win for Bowdoin after shutting down the Jeff offense over the final three innings, allowing just a two-out infield single in the ninth.

Bowdoin's Aaron Rosen '15 struck the decisive blow in the 11th with a single through the right side that brought home junior Tim McGarry, who finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Luke Regan '13 added a pair of hits and an RBI, while John Lefeber '14 and Dan Findley '13 each went 1-for-4.

Taiki Kasuga '14 (New York, N.Y.) was the only Jeff to record multiple hits, going 2-for-3, while Mike Samela '12 (Westport, N.Y.), Nolan Stewart '13 (New Canaan, Conn.), Dan Pillitteri '13 (New City, N.Y.) and Brendon Hardin '15 (Riverside, Conn.) accounted for the rest of Amherst's six base-knocks.

With Bowdoin jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth on a McGarry single just inside the right field line, Amherst came right back in the bottom of the frame, tying things up on Pillitteri's solo blast to left on a 2-0 count.

Continuing to go on the offensive, Amherst plated another score the following inning to take a 2-1 edge after five. Hardin led off the frame with a full-count walk before advancing to second on a groundout. Following a foul pop-up, senior Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was intentionally walked to bring up Samela, whose grounder through the left side brought home Hardin. Sophomore Quinn Saunders-Kolberg (Charlottesville, Va.) followed with a fly ball to left that nearly dropped in, but McGarry made a terrific diving catch to save two runs.

Still trailing 2-1 in the top of the ninth, McGarry looked to get something going with a lead-off single. Findley followed with a base-hit through the right side. With runners now on first and second, Regan ripped a hard grounder that took a bad hop and sailed over the head of the Amherst second baseman and into right field, allowing McGarry to scamper home and knot the score at 2-2.

Once again jumpstarting the Bowdoin attack in the 11th, McGarry drew a full-count walk before advancing to second on a grounder. Moving to third on a deep fly ball to right center, he soon came around on Rosen's game winning single through the right side to seal the Bowdoin win.