Jeffs Hold Off Springfield in Slugfest, 19-14

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College baseball team's 20th victory of the season didn't come easily, but the Lord Jeffs did enough to come out on the winning end of a 19-14 slugfest against Springfield College Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Field.

Not even Springfield's 12 runs in the final five innings could overtake the Lord Jeffs (20-7), who built a 12-2 lead and didn't let up down the stretch. Amherst batted around the order in the first, third and sixth innings to remain unbeaten at home (10-0), having outscored opponents 102-32 at Memorial Field. 

Amherst's Nolan Stewart '13 (3-for-3) and Bob Cook '13 (3-for-3) combined for seven runs and seven RBIs, while Mike Samela '12 went 4-for-5 and scored four times. Cook bumped his season average to .400, but it was Stewart who provided the biggest spark with the game's lone home run.

Springfield (18-13) snapped its six-game win streak and has now lost six in a row to Amherst. Five players recorded multiple hits for the Pride, with Sean Smith (2-for-5) and Frank Calabrese (2-for-4) driving in three runs apiece and Karl Quist going 3-for-6 with a pair of RBIs.

Dylan Driscoll '14 picked up the win (4-0) by allowing four runs on eight hits in the first five frames. Amherst struggled defensively in the later innings, but Charles Nutter '15 got the Jeffs out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth before pitching a perfect ninth. 

Tuesday's game exceeded three hours thanks to 33 runs on 35 hits, five walks, six hit batsmen and eight errors. The Lord Jeffs will begin a three-game series with Wesleyan this Friday at 4 p.m. in Amherst, while Springfield will host Elms tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

Springfield scored twice in the top of the first after RBI doubles by Calabrese and Quist, but Amherst answered with four runs in the home half of the frame and never relinquished the lead. The Lord Jeffs added six runs in the third and seemingly put the game out of reach when Stewart belted his team-leading third homer of the season to make it 12-2 after four innings.

The visitors got back on track with two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to bring the score to 12-6, but Cook and Stewart each had an RBI double during a four-run sixth to return the lead to double digits at 16-6. 

After each team scored twice in the seventh, Springfield took advantage of three Amherst errors in the eighth and tacked on six runs. The Pride threatened to do more damage with the bags juiced and nobody out, but Nutter entered the game and induced a fielder's choice and a lineout before recording a big strikeout that sent the Jeffs back to their bench with an 18-14 lead intact.

John Wagner '12 led off the bottom of the eighth with a double and came around to score Amherst's 19th run on a single to center by Taiki Kasuga '14. Nutter then retired the side in order in the ninth, with Wagner recording the game's final out on a diving catch in center field. 

Eric Chase took the loss after surrendering 10 runs in the first three innings, while Tyler Benoit's 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth marked the only inning in which Amherst did not record a hit. The Pride hit safely in every frame other than the third and ninth.