Jeffs Score Early to Defeat Hamilton, 8-2

Contact: Mike O'BrienHero.jpg

ALBANY, N.Y. – With eight runs through the first four innings, the Amherst College baseball team cruised to an 8-2 win in a make-up game over NESCAC rival Hamilton College Wednesday at the Plumeri Sports Complex.

The Jeffs improved to 22-5 overall and 8-1 in the NESCAC West following their fifth straight win. They also swept the three-game series after defeating Hamilton 3-1 and 9-2 in a twinbill on Mar. 28. With the loss, the Continentals fall to 9-12 on the year and 2-7 in conference play.

Starting pitcher Keenan Szulik '16 threw a gem for the Jeffs. The sophomore went five innings without allowing a run and surrendered just one hit while striking out three. Offensively, the team was led by Alex Hero '14 and Dave Cunningham '16 who both went 2-for-4 from the plate with a run scored. Hero hit two doubles and drove in a run. Yanni Thanopoulos '17 was 1-for-2 with three RBI and Andrew Vandini '16 finished 1-for-3 with two RBI. The Jeffs had nine hits as a team.

Joe Jensen '15 and Andrew Haser '17 each went 2-for-4 to lead Hamilton while Jensen scored twice. Robert Morris '17 went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI. Colin Henneberger '14 started on the mound for the Continentals and picked up the loss, going three innings and giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits.

Amherst scored a run in each of the first four innings Wednesday night. In the bottom of the first, Thanopoulos walked to lead off and stole second to get in scoring position. On the next at-bat, Vandini drove him in with a single to center field.

The Jeffs had a big inning in the second. Cunningham got things started with a single and advanced to second when Anthony Spina '17 was hit by a pitch. Brendon Hardin '15 then singled to load the bases when Thanopoulos reached on an error in the outfield. With the bases still loaded, Vandini walked to bring in Spina and a single to left field from Taiki Kasuga '14 put Amherst ahead, 4-0.

After holding Hamilton scoreless once again, the Jeffs added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Cunningham once again led off with a single but was out on a fielder's choice on the next play. Following a wild pitch and an infield ground out, Tyler Jacobs '15 stood on third with two outs. Hardin was then hit by a pitch and stole second when Thanopoulos singled to left field to bring both runners home.

In the fourth, Conner Gunn '16 singled to center and later advanced on a throwing error. Alex Hero '14 then stepped to the plate and hit a double to center field for the RBI. Hero eventually scored on a wild pitch as the Jeffs held a decisive 8-0 lead.

The Continentals scored their first run of the game in the sixth inning. Jensen singled to left and stole second. He was driven home on a double to right center from Morris. Morris scored Jensen in the top of the eighth as well with an infield groundout, but the deficit was too large to overcome.

Amherst returns to the field Friday, Apr. 25 to host Little Three rival Wesleyan at 4 p.m.