Jeffs Cap Regular Season with Sweep of Colby

WATERVILLE, Maine – The Amherst College baseball team snapped a three-game losing streak and ended its regular season on a positive note Saturday, sweeping a NESCAC inter-division doubleheader at Colby College, 5-1 and 8-3.

Bob Cook '13 improved to 4-2 on the year and kept his nation-leading earned run average well below one with a complete game victory in the opener, scattering six hits while striking out five and walking none over seven innings. First-years Dave Cunningham (2 R, RBI) and Andrew Vandini (2 RBI) each went 2-for-3 in the contest.

In the nine-inning nightcap, Amherst pounded out 14 hits in support of Dylan Driscoll '14, who earned the win, climbing to 7-0 on the year as he surrendered three runs in five innings. The Lord Jeff bullpen yielded just one hit over the final four frames to seal the sweep as Amherst improved to 22-11 on the year, dropping the Mules to 11-23. Jonathan Ramirez '16, Taiki Kasuga '14, Alex Hero '14, Mike Odenwaelder '16 and Conner Gunn '16 each had two-hit games for the balanced Amherst offense, while Cook and Ramirez each drove in a pair of runs.

Game One began with the Jeffs plating single runs in the first and second as Hero drove in Ramirez with a grounder to second and Vandini ripped an RBI single to send in Cunningham an inning later. Colby scratched its lone run across in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring hit by John Schroeder, and strong pitching from Cook and the Mules' Mark Nelson kept it a 2-1 contest until the sixth. Amherst finally made it comfortable for its ace, however, as Odenwaelder and Vandini blasted RBI doubles and Cunningham drove in another Jeff run with a single. 

The Jeffs carried momentum into the nightcap, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first on Cook's RBI groundout and another run-scoring double by Odenwaelder. Colby's Nathan Ellis singled in Schroeder in the third to make it a 2-1 game, but Ramirez came up with a clutch two-out two-run double in the fourth off of Mule starter Brady Hesslein. After Colby got one of the runs back on Schroeder's RBI fielder's choice, the Jeffs blew it open with three in the fifth. After a pair of Amherst runs came in on wild pitches, Hesslein departed, but Gunn greeted reliever Greg Ladd with an RBI single to make it 7-2.

Colby notched its final tally off Driscoll in the bottom half on Kevin Galvin's run-scoring knock but Cook singled in Hero in the top of the sixth before Amherst's bullpen took over the contest. After Riley Streit '16 worked around three walks to escape the sixth unharmed, Eric Kotin '14 fanned two in a perfect seventh before Keenan Szulik '16 and Adam Medoff '13 closed out the sweep with a shutout frame each.

The Jeffs now turn their attention to the upcoming NESCAC playoff tournament hosted by Wesleyan May 10-12. Amherst will be the second seed from the West Division and begins double-elimination competition against East No. 1 Trinity at 3 p.m. on Friday. Check back later in the week for site information and a full tournament preview.