Jeffs Sweep Bates in East-West Doubleheader

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College baseball team avenged last year's 12-0 loss to Bates by outscoring the Bobcats 25-6 (W 5-1, W 20-5) during Sunday's NESCAC inter-division doubleheader at Memorial Field. 

Fifteen players recorded a hit for Amherst (17-5), which won its seventh consecutive game and improved to 10-1 in its past 11. Mike Samela '12 came up with the biggest defensive play of the opener and drove in four runs in the nightcap, while Nolan Stewart '13 belted his second home run of the season and extended his hitting streak to a team-best 11 games. 

Fred Shepard '14 improved to 5-0 after striking out four and allowing one run on four hits in the first six innings of the opener. John Cook '15 also maintained a perfect record (4-0) by giving up only one run in five innings of game two. 

Griff Tewksbury and Mekae Hyde each had three hits and an RBI to lead the Bobcats (14-12) at the plate. Tom Baroni went the distance and allowed only one earned run on 12 hits during the front end of the doubleheader, but Bates would end up using seven pitchers in the second game. 

The Lord Jeffs improved to 9-0 at home, where they are hitting .338 with a 1.85 ERA this season. Sunday marked their highest-scoring game since they earned a 24-5 win over Hamilton on Apr. 2, 2010.  

After Shepard cruised through a four-pitch second inning, Amherst gave its starting pitcher some run support when Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 ripped a single by the first baseman to score Bob Cook '13. The Bobcats got that run back in the top of the third when Hyde ignited a two-out rally with a double and came around to score on a Tewksbury single to center. 

Amherst regained the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the third when Kevin Heller '12 singled and eventually scored on a fielding error. Bates nearly found the tying run in the seventh when Steve Burke tried to tag up from third base, but Samela fired a bullet to catcher Thomas Wheeler '12, who made a great play and applied the tag for a big third out.

The Jeffs then tacked on their final three runs in the bottom of the seventh, first catching a break on a fielding error that scored a pair and brought the score to 4-1. Stewart then doubled to score Samela for the fifth run, as Adam Medoff '13 and Dylan Joyce '12 combined for three innings of hitless relief to preserve the win for Shepard. 

The second game was never in doubt for the Jeffs, who batted around during a six-run first inning and held a 13-0 lead after three. John Wagner '12 got everything going by leading off with a double to right, while Samela drove in two runs in the second and another pair in the third. Stewart capped off the three-inning outburst by lacing a two-run homer to left, marking the 10th long ball of his career. 

Bates got on the board in the fifth with an RBI single from Hyde, while Alex Parker and Mike Ciummei plated one run apiece in the seventh to make it a 13-3 game. Amherst batted around again in the eighth to take a 20-4 lead, as Eric West '15 drove in a pair with a double to left before J.J. Hoffstein '14 hit an RBI single in his first collegiate plate appearance. 

Michael Spinosa took the loss after surrendering six runs in the first inning, and six Bates pitchers would split up the remainder of the game. Cook was once again stellar for Amherst, striking out five and giving up only three hits to lower his ERA to 1.48. 

Brendon Hardin '15 and Dan Pillitteri '13 each had three hits, two runs and an RBI in the second game, with Samela, West and Stewart combining to drive in 10 runs. Wagner finished the day at 3-for-6 with four runs scored, while Kevin Heller '12 moved into a tie for second place on Amherst's career hits list (163) by going 3-for-7. 

Both teams will return to action on Tuesday, with Amherst traveling to Brandeis and Bates scheduled to host Curry.