Jeffs Sweep Wesleyan, Earn Top Seed

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Amherst College baseball team wrapped up its conference schedule by completing a three-game sweep of Wesleyan University, winning Saturday's opener by a score of 10-3 before taking the nightcap, 10-6. 

The Lord Jeffs (23-7, 10-2) clinched the top seed in the NESCAC's West Division, while the Cardinals (18-17, 6-6) were eliminated from postseason contention. Williams College earned the No. 2 seed in the West by sweeping Hamilton in a doubleheader today.

With a 6-0 record against Williams and Wesleyan this season, Amherst ran away with the Little Three title for the second consecutive year. This is also the second time in as many seasons the Jeffs have won the NESCAC West title with a 10-2 conference record.

Amherst will take on Bowdoin College—the No. 2 seed out of the East Division—next Friday at Trinity College in the conference tournament's opening round. Bowdoin ended Amherst's 2011 season, but the Lord Jeffs swept the Polar Bears in a doubleheader earlier this year. 

John Wagner '12 led Amherst at the plate by going 4-for-7 with three runs scored and five RBIs on Saturday, giving him a .500 batting average in the three-game series. Amherst capitalized on 11 Wesleyan errors today, as only six of the 18 runs it scored were earned. The Jeffs played an error-free first game before committing only one in the nightcap. 

Bob Cook '13 improved to 5-0 on the hill by leading the Jeffs in Saturday's opener, striking out three and allowing three earned runs on only four hits in seven innings. It was the second consecutive complete-game victory for Cook, who defeated Middlebury last weekend. 

Wesleyan took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the opener, but Amherst tied things up in the third and broke the game open with a four-run fourth. Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 led the charge with a two-RBI triple that chased starting pitcher Brett Yarusi after only three innings.

The Cardinals got two back in the bottom of the fourth when Cook hit two batters and gave up a pair of singles. Amherst responded with three runs in the fifth, as Wagner brought the score to 8-3 with a two-RBI single to left. The Jeffs tacked on another two in the sixth when they capitalized on Wesleyan's fourth and fifth errors of the game, with Nolan Stewart '13 driving in the final run on a single to left. 

Stewart was 2-for-4 with three RBis in the opener, while Mike Samela '12 went 2-for-3 and scored three times. Andrew Yin finished at 2-for-2 as a bright spot for the Cardinals, whose five pitchers combined to hit four batters and walk three others. 

Wesleyan held a 5-2 lead after two innings in the second game, but Wagner ignited a rally that led to two runs in the fifth and then drove in the tying run in the sixth. Wagner would also score one of Amherst's three runs in the eighth before completing the comeback with a two-RBI double in the ninth, as he was the highlight of the Jeffs' 10-6 win. 

Wagner finished the second game at 3-for-4, while Tyler Jacobs '15 went 2-for-5 and scored three runs. Taiki Kasuga '14 matched Wagner's three RBIs, notably driving in a pair of key insurance runs with a single in the eighth. 

Adam Medoff '13 (W, 2-0) got Amherst out of a jam by retiring the only two batters he faced in the seventh, while Dylan Joyce '12 recorded the final six outs without surrendering a hit or walk. Fred Shepard '14 tossed the first five innings for the Jeffs, allowing five earned runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and a walk. 

More information about the NESCAC Championship will be posted next week. The Lord Jeffs will close their regular season on Wednesday, May 2, when they host nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State at 4 p.m.