Jeffs Outlast Wesleyan in 11 innings, 5-3

 

Kasuga4.jpg Contact: Ben Badua

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Taiki Kasuga '14 scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the top of the 11th inning to lift the 24th-ranked Amherst baseball team to a 4-3 victory over Little Three rival Wesleyan University.

Dropping the first two games of the weekend set to the Cardinals, Amherst avoided the sweep with a win in the series finale, improving to 23-7 (9-3 NESCAC West) on the season. Wesleyan fell to 23-7 (10-2 NESCAC West) with the loss.

Scoreless through the first four innings, Amherst plated its first run in the top of the fifth. With two outs and nobody on, Dave Cunningham '16 doubled to right. Coming up with a big base-knock, Anthony Spina '17 ripped a ball into the left centerfield gap to break the scoreless deadlock.

Coming right back, Wesleyan pushed across three runs in the bottom half of the frame. With runners on the corners and one out, Jonathan Dennett '15 stole second. Taking advantage of an errant throw on the play, Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15, who led off the inning with a single, came around to touch home. Guy Davidson '16 kept things going by punching a single through the left side, allowing Dennett to score. With two outs, Andrew Yin '15 drove in Davidson to stake the Cardinals to a 3-1 lead.

Battling back, Yanni Thanopoulos '17 singled up the middle to lead off the top of sixth. Mike Odenwaelder '16 followed by belting a two-run home run over the left field wall to pull Amherst even. With the game still tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the 10th, Wesleyan put two aboard with no outs. Getting Goodwin-Boyd to hit a fielder's choice to third, Keenan Szulik '16 recorded the Cardinals first out before inducing a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Robby Harbison '17 to end the threat.

Getting something going in the top of the 11th, Taiki Kasuga '14 beat out an infield single before advancing to second on a throwing error. With Kasuga on third after a Thanopoulos sacrifice bunt, Wesleyan reliever Sam Elias '15 issued an intentional walk to Odenwaelder.

Misplaying a pitch out, the ball got past Cardinal catcher Eric Jones '16 and rolled to the backstop, allowing Kasuga to score the go-ahead run. After Alex Hero '14 popped up to second, Conner Gunn '16 drew a walk to put runners on the corners. With Gunn caught in a rundown on a steal attempt, Odenwaelder took off for home, tacking on an insurance run.

Odenwaelder paced the Jeffs offensively, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Kasuga also had a pair of hits, while Thanopoulos, Hero, Cunningham and Spina accounted for the rest of Amherst's eight base-knocks. Starter Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 allowed three runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings, while Szulik tossed the final three frames, surrendering just two hits in the win.

Davidson was 3-for-3 for Wesleyan with an RBI and run scored, while Nick Miceli '17 was 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Gavin Pittore '16 gave up three runs on seven hits through the first nine innings, while Elias took the loss after allowing two runs in 1.1 innings.

Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, Apr. 30 against Wheaton.