No. 24 Jeffs Rally but Fall Short to Wesleyan, 8-6

Contact: Mike O'BrienOdenwaelder2.jpg

AMHERST, Mass. – Trailing 5-0 early, the 24th-ranked Amherst College baseball team rallied against NESCAC West rival Wesleyan at Memorial Field but fell short, 8-6, despite outhitting its opponent.

With both teams sitting at 8-1 in conference play entering today's matchup, the Cardinals temporarily took the lead in the league standings and sit atop the NESCAC West. Amherst and Wesleyan are now both 22-6 overall this year as the Little Three rivals conclude the three-game series tomorrow, Apr. 26 for a doubleheader at Wesleyan beginning at 1 p.m.

Amherst recorded 11 hits as a team and were led by four multiple hit games from Taiki Kasuga '14, Mike Odenwaelder '16, Anthony Spina '17 and Yanni Thanopoulos '17. Odenwaelder went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Kasuga, Spina and Thanopoulos all drove in a run and scored once. Dylan Driscoll '14 started on the mound and tossed 5.1 innings, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. Eric Kotin '14 and Jackson Volle '17 combined for two hits and one run (earned) with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of relief.

The Cardinals received four multiple hit games as well and totaled 10 as a team. Guy Davidson '16 and Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 each went 2-for-4 with two RBI while Jonathan Dennett '15 finished 1-for-3 with a three-run homer and also scored three times. Nick Cooney '15 started for Wesleyan and threw 4.1 innings while surrendering five earned runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Sam Elias '15 entered in relief and picked up the win, tossing 3.2 innings with one earned run on five hits and four strikeouts. Goodwin-Boyd picked up the save and struck out the final two batters to seal the win.

After a scoreless first, the Cardinals got on the board in the top of the second. Leading off was Goodwin-Boyd with a single through the left side. Robby Harbison '17 then doubled to put runners on second and third. With zero outs, Dennett homered to left field as the visitors took a 3-0 lead.

Wesleyan tacked on two more in the fourth. Dennett walked and was driven home on the next at-bat as Davidson blasted one to left field in the identical spot as Dennett's second-inning home run. However, Amherst responded in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to four when Odenwaelder hit a solo home run deep to left center.

In the top of the fifth, Donnie Cimino '15 started off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield. On the very next at-bat, Goodwin-Boyd hit the fourth home run of the game and the third for the Cardinals as the ball lifted over the left center fence to give the visiting team a six-run advantage.

The Jeffs pieced together a strong rally in the bottom half of the inning and cut the deficit to two. Thanopoulos started off with a single to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Andrew Vandini '16 then walked to put two on with zero outs. Kasuga then singled to shortstop to bring in Thanopoulos. Odenwaelder hit a RBI single on the next at-bat with a low line drive to center field. Dave Cunningham '16 walked to load the bases and Tyler Jacobs '15 walked a batter later to bring in a run. With two outs, Spina singled up the middle to drive across Jacobs. Cunningham attempted to score on the play but was narrowely thrown out at the plate.

Wesleyan added a run in the top of the seventh when Dennett reached on a hit-by-pitch and Davidson then doubled to left center. With runners on second and third, Will O'Sullivan '17 hit an infield groundout that scored Dennett.

In the bottom of the eighth, Amherst added a run when Spina doubled down the right field line to get in scoring position with one out. Thanopoulos then stepped to bat and singled to bring in Spina and cut the deficit to two, 8-6.

Amherst loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth when Cunningham reached on a fielder's choice, Jacobs singled to right field and Brendon Hardin '15 walked. However, with one out and the bases stacked, Goodwin-Boyd struck out the last two Jeff batters to pick up the save.