Contact: Ben Badua
NEWARK, N.Y. – Behind some timely hitting and four shutout innings from the bullpen, the third-seeded Amherst baseball team opened its 2014 NCAA championship run with a hard-fought victory over No. 6 Stevens Institute of Technology at Colburn Park, 4-3.
Improving to 29-9 on the season, Amherst will face No. 2 Kean on Thursday, May 15 at 7:45 p.m.
Scoreless in the bottom of the second, Conner Gunn '16 singled down the left field line. Tyler Jacobs '15 followed with a single to left before a walk to Dave Cunningham '16 loaded the bases. Hitting a grounder to short, Andrew Vandini '16 allowed Gunn to score. Moments later with Vandini trying to swipe second, Jacobs came around to double the Jeff margin.
Trying to mount a rally in the top half of the third, Marc Calleo '15 dumped a single into left. With two outs and runners on first and second, Dan Allen '14 found a hole through the left side, driving in Calleo. Jayson Yano '16 then tied things up with a clutch base-knock to center, plating Brian Hennelly '15.
Still even in the fifth, Calleo hammered a lead-off double to left. Moving to third on a balk, Calleo later scored on a Jonathan Toro '16 ground out to short. Coming right back, the Jeffs pushed two across in the bottom half of the frame. With one out, Taiki Kasuga '14 got things started by beating out an infield single and stealing second. Putting runners on second and third with two out, Yanni Thanopoulos '17 came through, ripping a two RBI double down the left field line.
Retired in order the next two innings, Stevens threatened to knot things up in the eighth. Getting runners on first and second thanks to a lead-off walk and single, the Ducks successfully pulled off a double steal. With one out and both runners in scoring position, Eric Kotin '14 struck out Nicholas Sieber '16 before getting Zeph Walters '17 to ground out to second to get Amherst out of a jam. Stevens put the tying run on in ninth thanks to Jeff error, but Dylan Driscoll '14 shut the door, inducing a ground out to third before getting Toro to fly out to left.
Jacobs finished 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Gunn was 2-for-3. Kasuga, Alex Hero '14, Mike Odenwaelder '16, Thanopolous and Cunningham accounted for the rest of the Purple & White's 10 hits. Tossing 5.0 innings, Amherst starter Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 allowed three runs on five hits. Keenan Szulik '16, Kotin and Driscoll combined to pitch the final four, surrendering just one hit while striking out five.
Yano and Calleo were each 2-for-4, with Hennelly and Allen finishing as the only other Ducks to record a base-knock. Starter Greg Jakusik '16 lasted five innings, giving up all four runs on seven hits, while Gary Boardman '15 pitched the final three frames, allowing three base-knocks.