Contact: Mike O'Brien
NEWARK, N.Y. – John Cook '15 allowed just one run in a complete game effort as the 23rd-ranked Amherst College baseball team won a decisive 7-1 victory over No. 18 Kean in NCAA Regional action at the Colburn Park, hosted by Ithaca College.
For the first time in program history, the Jeffs reached the 30-win plateau as they improved to 30-9 on the year. They have now won their first two regional games for the second consecutive season, after not winning a regional game until 1999 prior to the 2013 campaign. With the win, the Jeffs advance to face No. 8 SUNY Cortland tomorrow, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. Last season, the Jeffs defeated the Red Dragons in their first match-up but SUNY Cortland retaliated in the rematch to eliminate Amherst from postseason contention. With the loss today, Kean is now 32-13 and will play Rutgers-Camden tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. in an elimination game.
Sophomores Conner Gunn and Andrew Vandini led the Jeffs with two hits and two RBI a piece. Gunn went 2-for-4 with a run scored while Vandini finished 2-for-2 with a walk. Alex Hero '14, Tyler Jacobs '15, Mike Odenwaelder '16 and Yanni Thanopoulos '17 all recorded a hit to give Amherst eight for the game. Thanopoulos was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, a stolen base, and was hit by a pitch twice, and Jacobs recorded a RBI double. Cook, a First Team All-NESCAC selection, was once again terrific on the mound. The junior southpaw allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking one.
Five different Cougars recorded a hit while Joe O'Connor '14 drove in the only Kean run. Matt Mantione '15 tossed a complete game and allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Mantione struggled to open the game, walking Taiki Kasuga '14 and Alex Hero '14 to lead off the bottom of the first. After Kasuga stole third, the senior reached home following a throwing error by Kean to give the Jeffs an early 1-0 lead.
The Cougars retaliated the following inning with a RBI single by O'Connor to drive in D.J. Ross '16, but Amherst scored six runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull away. The Jeffs regained a lead when Jacobs doubled to left field to bring in Thanopoulos before a single by Vandini on the next at-bat brought in Gunn as the Purple & White took a 3-1 lead after four.
A four-run fifth inning put the game out of reach. Hero and Odenwaelder singled to start the frame and a Cougar blunder led to the first score of the inning. Shortly after, Gunn hit a two-RBI single to center field while Vandini brought home Dave Cunningham '16 with a sacrifice fly to right field as Amherst held on for the 7-1 win.