Contact: Ben Badua
BEVERLY, Mass. – Taking a break from conference action, the Amherst baseball team improved to 17-4 (4-1 NESCAC) on the season after sweeping a doubleheader with regional rival Endicott College on Saturday afternoon.
Having now won 10 of its last 11 games, the Jeffs took the first game of the twinbill, 3-1, before erupting for a 12-0 victory in the nightcap. Amherst returns to action on Monday, Apr. 14 against perennial power Eastern Connecticut State University.
GAME 1: AMHERST 3, ENDICOTT 1 (7 Inn.)
Behind another solid start from Dylan Driscoll '14, the Purple & White took the first game of the doubleheader, 3-1. Tossing all seven innings, the senior righthander surrendered just one run on six hits. Striking out six batters, Driscoll did not allow a walk while upping his season record to 5-0.
Taking advantage of one of the few mistakes the Amherst starter made, Brett Holmgren '14 launched a one-out home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth to push across the game's first run. Rallying in the top of the sixth, the visitors plated two runs on two hits.
Conner Gunn '16 got the Jeffs started by drawing a lead-off walk. Advancing to second on an Alex Hero '14 sacrifice bunt, Gunn soon scored on sophomore Mike Odenwaelder's double down the left field line. With two outs and Odenwaelder on third after a Yanni Thanopoulos '17 groundout, Tyler Jacobs '15 came up with a big base-knock, finding a hole on the left side of the infield.
Needing an insurance run, the Jeffs made it 3-1 in the top of the seventh on a Taiki Kasuga '14 sacrifice fly to left. Protecting the lead, Driscoll responded by striking out Josh Drew '16 before getting pinch-hitter Taylor English '14 to ground out to second. After a Corbin Hyde '16 single to left center, Driscoll shut the door, retiring Matthew Paola '16 on a grounder to first.
Odenwaelder and Jacobs each finished 2-for-3 for the Jeffs, while Paola, Holmgren, Drew, Hyde, Mike Kochiss '17 and EJ Martinez '14 accounted for the Gulls' six hits. Endicott starter JJ Branch '16 suffered his first loss of the season after giving up all three runs (two earned) on five hits.
GAME 2: AMHERST 12, ENDICOTT 0
After grinding out a victory in game one, Amherst's bats came alive in the nightcap, pounding out 19 hits in a 12-0 win. Spotted a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Jeff starter John Cook '15 pitched seven strong shutout innings, scattering four hits while fanning 11 Gull batters. Riley Streit '16, Eric Kotin '14 and Jackson Volle '17 combined to toss the final three frames, allowing just three base-knocks.
Eight different batters recorded a hit for the Jeffs, led by Andrew Vandini '16, who went a perfect 5-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. Gunn and Hero each went 3-for-5, while Kasuga, Odenwaelder and Dave Cunningham '16 had two hits apiece.
Leading off the game with an infield single, Vandini advanced to second on a passed ball. Kasuga then punched a base-hit through the right side to put runners on the corners for Gunn, who dumped an RBI single into right. After a Hero base-knock loaded the bases, Odenwaelder singled home Kasuga. Gunn scored on a Thanopolous grounder to make it 3-0 before Jacobs drove in two more with a single through the left side.
Plating Amherst's sixth run by notching the Jeffs' seventh hit of the inning, Eric West '15 advanced to third on an Anthony Spina '17 groundout to second. With the lineup turning over, Vandini recorded his second hit of the inning, dropping a single into left that allowed West to come home.
With Cook retiring nine of the first 11 batters he faced, Amherst tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth on a Kasuga homer to left. After Vandini came around on a Gunn single in the top of the sixth, the Jeffs closed out the scoring with two runs in the eighth.
Paola finished 2-for-4 for the Gulls, with Holmgren, Drew, Kochkiss, Tad Gold '14 and Conor Ressel '14 accounting for the other five Endicott hits. Giving up nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 3.1 innings, Luke Morse '17 took the loss, falling to 3-2 on the season.