Jeffs Drop Non-Conference Showdown With MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Amherst baseball team fell to 8-5 on the young season with a 6-2 non-conference loss to Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Briggs Field in Cambridge, Mass.

Committing a pair of costly errors that lead to three runs in the bottom of the first, the Jeffs were never able to recover, plating just two runners on five hits. With the Engineers committing three miscues of their own to start the game, pitcher Aric Dama '13 limited the damage, tossing 7.1 solid innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits with six strikeouts.

Amherst's Fred Shepard '14 last six innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits with seven strikeouts, while Charles Nutter '15 and Eric Kotin '14 combined to pitch the last two innings, giving up three hits and a pair of scores.

Taiki Kasuga '14, Conner Gunn '15 and Dan Pillitteri '13 each went 1-for-2 for the Jeffs, while Louis Hunt '15 and Nolan Stewart '13 accounted for the Purple & White's other two hits. Hayden Cornwell '15 went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored to pace the MIT lineup, while Parker Tew '15 and K.J. Parent '15 each finished 1-for-2 with an RBI.

With two on in the top of the first, Gunn laid down a bunt to advance the runners. Making an error on the play, Dama settled for throwing out Gunn after Alex Hero '14 came around to score. Bouncing back, the senior struck out Eric West '15 before getting Dave Cunningham '16 to ground into an inning ending double play.

Taking advantage of an Amherst error to start the bottom of the frame, James McKinney '13 and Creed Mangrum '14 recorded back-to-back singles to load the bases. Cornwell then reached on another Jeff miscue that allowed Eben Bitonte '15 to come home before a Ricardo Perez '13 fielder's choice gave the Engineers the lead. Lining a single to left field, Parent drove in Mangrum to extend the margin to two before Shepard closed the door by retiring Tew and fanning Karl Sorensen '15. 

Still 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, MIT put a runner on third with just one out. Lifting a sacrifice to left, Mangrum brought in Patrick Dayton '14 to give the Engineers some insurance. Hoping to get something going in the Amherst eighth, Nic Meyer '16 led off with a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch. After Hunt singled to left, Amherst put on a double steal, with Meyer swiping home to cut the margin to 4-2.

With Cornwell notching a base hit to lead off the home half, Perez followed suit, with the duo taking an extra base on the throw. Making a heads-up play on an errant toss, Cornwell continued home to get the run back and once again up the cushion to three. On third thanks to a Reid Bishop '15 sacrifice, Perez later came home, touching the plate on a Tew single down the right field line to cap off the scoring.

Amherst returns to action on Friday, Mar. 29 against Brandeis.