Jeffs Rally to Defeat MIT in 13 Innings, 6-5

Contact: Mike O'BrienHero.jpg

AMHERST, Mass. – Nic Meyer '16 laid down a RBI bunt in the bottom of the 13th to give the Amherst College baseball team a walk-off, come-from-behind win at Memorial Field Wednesday against MIT, 6-5.

Tyler Jacobs '15 forced extra innings with a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth as the Jeffs (15-4) eventually prevailed after three hours and 15 minutes. MIT (10-7) scored five runs in two innings including a four-run top of the third but couldn't hold on for the win.

Yanni Thanopolous '17 had a big day for Amherst in the designated hitter spot. The first-year went 3-for-3 with a RBI, a triple and a stolen base. Classmate Anthony Spina added three more hits for the Jeffs (3-for-6) with a crucial stolen base in the eighth, which eventually led to the game-tying run. Alex Hero '14, Jacobs and Andrew Vandini '16 all went 2-for-6 from the plate as Amherst totaled 16 hits on the day.

MIT recorded 13 hits from five batters. Leading the way was Sean Karson '14 with a game-high four hits in six at-bats. He also recorded two RBI. Creed Mangrum '14 and Hayden Cornwell '15 went 3-for-5 and 3-for-6, respectively, while both driving in a run. Patrick Dayton '14 was 2-for-6 with a RBI and run scored while John Drago '17 added a hit to round out the top offensive performers for the Engineers.

Amherst got on the board in the bottom of the second. Eric West '15 started things off with a single to left field followed by consecutive singles from Spina and Jacobs to load the bases for Vandini. However, a double play left runners on first and third when the sophomore hit a line drive to left field, bringing in West. Thanopolous stepped to the plate on the next at-bat and hit another liner to centerfield to bring in Jacobs as the Jeffs held a 2-0 lead.

MIT retaliated in the top of the third. A deep double from Drago towards the left field wall led off the inning. Two batters later he crossed home on a grounder by Mangrum down the first base line. Cornwell then hit a single through the middle to put runners on first and third. On the next at-bat, Dayton lined one to right field to even the score at 2-2. However, the Engineers quickly took a two-run lead with a two-RBI single up the middle from Sean Karson '14.

The following inning, the Engineers tacked on another run when Mangrum put himself in scoring position with a two-out double. Cornwell brought him in on the next at-bat as the visitors took a 5-2 lead.

Amherst cut into the deficit in the bottom half of the inning. Thanopolous recorded his third hit of the game to lead off the inning and eventually reached third base after stealing second and advancing on a fly out. Jonathan Ramirez '16 entered as a pinch runner and was quickly brought home as Alex Hero '14 hit a two-run homer over the right field fence.

In the bottom of the eighth, Spina hit a two-out single to put the tying run on base. Spina then stole second to get in scoring position as Jacobs stepped to the plate. The junior hit a liner to centerfield as Spina came all the way from second to tie the game at 5-5.

After a quick one-two-three ninth inning from both teams, the game would head to extra-innings. The final four innings featured a pitcher's duel that saw just three Amherst hits. Mike Odenwaelder '16 was terrific on the mound for the Jeffs in a relief effort, throwing four scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out three .

The impressive performance from the sophomore allowed the home to come to bat once again in the bottom of the 13th. With two outs and the bases empty, Brendon Hardin '15 walked to put the game-winning run on base. Hardin stole second and reached third on the next at-bat when the third baseman attempted to tag him out but missed. Vandini stole second with ease to put runners on second and third when Meyer stepped to bat. The sophomore outfielder laid down a perfect bunt that the MIT pitcher could not make a play on as Hardin crossed home plate for the walk-off.

Keenan Szulik '16 relieved starter Quinn Saunders-Kolber '14 in the fourth inning and allowed one run on five hits while fanning five in four innings of work. Eric Kotin '14 entered in the eighth and tossed two innings without allowing a run, hit or walk, and struck out three before Odenwaelder relieved him in the 10th.

Alan Wang '16 started for MIT and tossed six innings on the mound. He allowed four runs on 10 hits. Rob Bertucci '14 pitched the final 3.2 innings and struck out a team-high four batters but allowed one run on three hits.

The Jeffs return to action Saturday, April 12 for a doubleheader at Endicott. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.