LAKELAND, Fla. – Sophomore lefty John Cook struck out nine over seven strong innings and first-year catcher Conner Gunn blasted a two-run home run to power the Amherst College baseball team to a 5-2 win over previously-undefeated Endicott College at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Thursday.
With Cook keeping the Gulls (4-1) in check, the Lord Jeffs (5-2) never trailed, scoring three runs in the sixth inning as Gunn popped his first collegiate homer and the team's first round-tripper of the season. After Cook's seven quality frames, Eric Kotin '14 continued his reliable work out of the Jeff bullpen, striking out a pair over two shutout innings for the save.
In addition to Gunn's big fly, Dan Pillitteri '14 starred at the plate for Amherst with a 3-for-4 day. Rookie outfielder Mike Odenwaelder continued his strong spring as well, going 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI, and stolen base, while Nolan Stewart '13 added an RBI single to the Jeff cause.
Cook's impressive outing was an important one for the sophomore southpaw, as he rebounded from a rough start against No. 15 Western New England in Amherst's season opener to stymie a Gull lineup that had entered the day averaging 11 runs per contest. After winning 29 games in 2012, Endicott entered Thursday's game fresh off of an 11-3 win over Bowdoin on Tuesday.
Amherst will look to carry momentum from the victory into tomorrow's big doubleheader with 13th-ranked Ramapo College. Game One from Chain of Lakes Field in Winter Haven is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.