AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Amherst baseball team fell to 6-3 on the season with a tough 12-11 loss to Grinnell College in 11 innings at the RussMatt Invitational. The Lord Jeffs wrap up their Spring Trip against Southern Maine on Sunday, Mar. 25.
Wasting no time getting on the board, Amherst pushed six across in the top of the first to take an early edge. Alex Hero '14 (New York, N.Y.) got things started with a lead-off triple before scoring on an error.
After a Bob Cook '13 (Winnetka, Ill.) single put runners on the corners, Thomas Wheeler '12 (Minnetonka, Minn.) belted a one-out, two RBI double before a Nolan Stewart '13 (New Canaan, Conn.) single once again put runners on first and third.
Tyler Jacobs '15 (Westport, Conn.) then doubled, scoring Wheeler, before Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 (Charlottesville, Va.) ripped a two-run base-knock to close out the frame.
Scoring a run in the second, fourth and fifth innings, Grinnell trimmed its deficit to 6-3, but Amherst answered with three of its own in the seventh, rebuilding its six-run cushion on a Stewart RBI single, a bases-loaded groundout and a Brendon Hardin '15 (Riverside, Conn.) two-out base-hit.
Undaunted, the Pioneers erupted for seven runs on four hits in the bottom of the eighth to take a 10-9 lead. Having already pushed across three runs on three hits to trim the Jeff lead to 9-6, Grinnell notched its seventh and eighth scores on consecutive bases-loaded walks before getting a big two-run single from Mike Nodzenski '12.
Looking to get Amherst back on track, Samela led off the ninth with a triple before Kevin Heller '12 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) lifted a pinch-hit, sacrifice fly to pull the Jeffs even.
Inducing an inning-ending groundball to get Amherst out of the eighth, Robert Cahill '14 (Wellesley, Mass.) retired the side in order in the Grinnell half of the ninth to help force extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth, Taiki Kasuga '14 (New York, N.Y.) led off the 11th with a double, but was later thrown out at third on a Cook grounder to short. Reaching on a fielder's choice, Samela stole second with two outs, before Heller again game through, ripping an RBI single to help the Jeffs regain the lead.
However, Nodzenski wasted little time tying things up in the bottom of the frame, leading off with a home run, before Matt Blumenreich '13 doubled to put the game-winning run in scoring position with no outs. After an errant throw on a bunt attempt and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Amherst reliever Hayden Metz '12 (Ridgefield, Conn.) hit a batter to bring home Blumenreich, sealing the Pioneers' comeback victory.
Heller went 1-for-1 with two RBI, while Cook finished 3-for-6. Hardin was 3-for-5 on the afternoon, while Samela and Nolan each recorded a pair of base hits.
Amherst starter Dylan Driscoll '14 (Mount Airy, Md.) lasted six innings, surrendering three runs on eight hits, while Cahill did not allow a hit in one and a third innings of relief. Metz took the loss, surrendering a pair of runs on two hits.