AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Taiki Kasuga '14 tallied seven hits on the day while Conner Gunn '16 and Eric West '15 combined to drive in 11 runs as the Amherst College baseball team slugged its way to a sweep of Western Connecticut State University on its final day of play at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational Sunday. Finishing the trip with a 7-4 record, the Lord Jeffs took the opener, 12-9, before an 8-5 triumph in the nightcap as they dropped the Colonials to 3-5 on the year.
Charles Nutter '15 got the nod in Game One, and Amherst staked him to a lead with five runs in the fourth. Western came back to tie in the fifth, however, chasing Nutter before John Cook '15 came on to stem the tide. The sophomore lefty would wind up the winner as the Jeffs plated three in the bottom half and held the lead thanks to 1.1 innings of relief from Adam Medoff '13 and a two-out save from Eric Kotin '14.
Gunn led the offense as the rookie catcher continued a strong trip with his best game yet, going 3-for-4 with 6 RBI. Kasuga also enjoyed a 3-for-4 opener, while Nolan Stewart '13 was 2-for-4 with a double and two-run single. David Cunningham '16 (2-for-3) and Alex Hero '14 (2-for-5, RBI) also enjoyed multi-hit games for the Jeffs.
Carrying over momentum, Amherst grabbed an early lead in Game Two with a pair of runs in the first, but Western came right back with four of their own to knock out Jeff starter Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14. Kotin came on and retired one Colonial before giving way to Dylan Driscoll '14 who would go on to earn the win with 3.2 innings of solid long relief. Trailing 4-2, the Jeffs pulled ahead to stay with four in the third as West delivered the biggest hit of the day, ripping a three-run double with two outs. With Amherst adding an insurance tally in the sixth, Cam Windham '14 came on for the seventh and picked up the save.
West finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI while Kasuga was a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI and a double to complete his brilliant 7-for-8 day sparking the Amherst lineup. Stewart (1-for-2, 2 BB, RBI) reached base three times while Brendon Hardin '15 went 2-for-3 and showed off his speed as he touched all four bases when his long fly ball was misplayed by the Colonial left fielder. Gunn chipped in a run-scoring single to finish his big day with 7 RBI.
The Jeffs return home to New England and open their home schedule against Keene State, with a non-conference nine-inning tilt slated for Wednesday, March 27 at 3:30 p.m.
BOX SCORE - GAME 1
BOX SCORE - GAME 2