KEENE, N.H. - The Amherst baseball team loaded the bases in the top of the ninth but could not complete their comeback bid, falling to Keene State, 4-1, at the Owl Athletic Complex.
Going 2-for-4 on the afternoon, Alex Hero '14 (New York, N.Y.) extended his hit-streak to 16 games, while Nolan Stewart '13 (New Canaan, Conn.) had a pair of base knocks for a Jeff lineup that recorded eight hits.
Six different Owls had a hit in the win, led by Matt Boulay '14, who had a 2-for-2 day with a run scored, while Greg Bates '13 went 1-for-4 with two RBI.
Hayden Metz '12 (Ridgefield, Conn.) lasted four innings in the loss, surrendering four runs on seven hits. Charles Nutter '15 (Newburyport, Mass.), Dylan Joyce '12 (South Orange, N.J.) and Cam Windham '14 (Washington, D.C.) helped keep the Jeffs within striking distance, combining for four hitless innings in relief.
Keene starter Nick Winn '12 earned his first victory of the year, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings of work, while Pat Tempone '14 and Kyle O'Brien '12 tossed four shutout innings to preserve the lead.
Scoreless through the first two innings, Amherst broke through in the top half of the third when Taiki Kasuga '14 (New York, N.Y.) ripped a two-out single to right center that plated Tyler Jacobs '15 (Westport, Conn.), who had reached on an error.
Tying things up in the fourth when Nick Vita '14 scored on a wild pitch, Keene took the lead the following frame, pushing across three runs on three hits. Tanner Chase '15 got the rally started by drawing a lead-off walk before a Boulay single coupled with an error put runners on second and third with nobody out.
After Bates promptly doubled down the right field line to make it 3-1, Kyle Morrill '12 watched ball four go by before Erik Bergstrom '12 laced an RBI single to extend the Owl cushion to three.
Relieving Tempone who entered the game in the sixth, O'Brien quickly got two outs in the top of the ninth while still up 4-1, inducing a pop-up to third and a groundout to short. Hoping to keep Amherst alive, Cook drew a walk before Hardin found a hole on the left side to put two aboard. Stewart kept things rolling with a single to left, loading the bases, but O'Brien bore down, striking out pinch-hitter Thomas Wheeler '12 (Minnetonka, Minn.) to earn the save.
The Lord Jeffs are back in action on Wednesday, Apr. 4 against Westfield State.