AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst baseball team wrapped up its conference slate by splitting a doubleheader with NESCAC West rival Wesleyan. Dropping the first game of the twinbill, 3-0, the Jeffs held off a late Cardinal charge in the nightcap, grinding out a 6-5 walk-off win.
While finishing tied with Wesleyan (21-13-1) atop the West division standings with a 9-3 mark, Amherst (20-8) squandered its opportunity lock up home field advantage in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament by dropping two of three to its rivals this weekend. Earning the right to host the championship on May 10-12 by virtue of its head-to-head victory over the Jeffs, Wesleyan also lay claim to this season's Little Three title. Amherst will enter the four-team NESCAC tournament as the second seed out of the West Division and will open the double-elimination event against the East's top seed, Trinity, on Friday, May 10 at 3 p.m. Wesleyan will host the East's second seed, Bowdoin (see full schedule below).
In the menatime, Amherst returns to action on Tuesday, Apr. 30 for a 3 p.m. single game at Division I Dartmouth.
GAME 1: Wesleyan 3, Amherst 0 (7 inn.)
Behind junior starter Jeff Blout's six strong shutout innings, Wesleyan took the first game of the twinbill, 3-0. Scoreless through the first three innings, the Cardinals plated the game's first run in the top half of the fourth. Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 got the rally started with a single before advancing to second on a wild pitch. An Amherst error on sophomore Jonathan Dennett's bunt allowed Goodwin-Boyd to come home, putting the visitors on the board.
Keeping the pressure on, Wesleyan plated two more runs the following frame on three hits. Ben Hoynes '15 led things off by beating out a grounder to third. Going to second on first-year Eric Jones' sacrifice bunt, he crossed the plate on a Chris Bonti '13 single to center. With two-out and Bonti on third, Donnie Cimino '15 made it 3-0 with a base-knock to left.
Hoping to jumpstart a two-out rally for Amherst in the sixth, Bob Cook '13 drew a walk. Conner Gunn '16 then singled to right before Blout hit Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 to load the bases. Getting out of the jam, the junior got Mike Odenwaelder '16 to ground out to short. Replacing Blout in the ninth, Sam Elias '15 retired the side in order to seal the Cardinal victory.
Cook finished 2-for-2 to lead the Jeffs offensively, while Jonathan Ramirez '16, Taiki Kasuga '14, Gunn, Andrew Vandini '16 and Danny Pillitteri '13 each went 1-for-3. Goodwin-Boyd went 2-for-3 for Wesleyan with a run scored, while Cimino and Bonti both notched a hit and RBI.
Blout scattered seven hits in his six shutout innings, striking out two, while Amherst starter Fred Shepard '14 gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits in 4.1 innings.
GAME 2: Amherst 6, Wesleyan 5 (9 inn.)
Wasting no time getting on the board, Amherst jumped on Wesleyan in nightcap, pushing across three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kasuga got things started with a one-out single to left field before Hero dumped a base-knock into right center. After Cook walked to load the bases, Gunn singled home Kasuga. Nic Meyer '16 kept things rolling with a two-RBI single before a fielder's choice and Pillitteri ground out ended the inning.
Leading off the second with a triple into the right centerfield gap, Ramirez made it 4-0 on a Kasuga sacrifice fly. Tacking on another run in the fourth, Kasuga brought in Vandini with a base-hit to left. Hoping to spark the Wesleyan offense, Cimino brought in Yin, who reached on a fielder's choice. Going to second on the throw, Cimino put himself into scoring position, but starter Dylan Driscoll '14, bore down, inducing Goodwin-Boyd to ground out to second to end the threat.
Getting to reliever Cam Windham '14 with two out in the eighth, Yin singled to center. Cimino promptly doubled in a run before going to third on a wild pitch. Goodwin-Boyd plated Cimino with a single to center before a Dennett base-knock put runners on the corners, spelling the end of Windham's day. Steve Moran '13 greeted lefthander Adam Medoff '13 with an RBI single to right before the senior struck out Jordan Farber '16 to limit the damage.
Still down a run in the top of the ninth, pinch-hitter Matt Sorkin '15 drew a one-out walk. Medoff struck out Bonti for the second out, but Yin drew another walk to put two on. Cimino then singled to center to load the bases before Medoff hit Goodwin-Boyd to bring in the tying run.
Answering in the bottom of the inning, Kasuga led off with a single through the left side. Unable to get down a bunt, Hero ripped a double into the right centerfield gap with two strikes to put the winning run 90 feet away. Wesleyan intentionally walked Cook to load the bases. Facing a 1-2 hole, Gunn delivered, pulling a seeing-eye single through the right side for the walk-off win.
Kasuga and Hero each finished with three hits to pace the Jeffs, with Kasuga also notching a pair of RBI. Ramirez and Gunn continued to shine in game two, each going 2-for-4, while combining for two RBI and a run scored. Cimino went 4-for-5 with two RBI to pace Wesleyan, while Dennett and Moran had a pair of hits apiece.
Driscoll gave up one run on five hits in 7.0 innings, striking out six without issuing a walk. Medoff surrendered one run on two hits in the win, while Elias tossed 3.0 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Gavin Pittore '16 and Rantz combined to pitch the final five innings for the Cardinals, giving up a pair of runs on nine hits.
GAME 1 BOXSCORE
GAME 2 BOXSCORE
2013 nescac baseball championship
(hosted by Wesleyan)
Day 1 - Friday, May 10
Game 1: Wesleyan (W1) vs. Bowdoin (E2) - 3:00 p.m. - Field 1
Game 2: Trinity (E1) vs. Amherst (W2) - 3:00 p.m. - Field 2
Day 2 - Saturday, May 11
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 (10:30 a.m. - Field 2)
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (10:30 a.m. - Field 1)
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 (2:30 p.m. - Field 1)
Day 3 - Sunday, May 12
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 (10:00 a.m. - Field 1)