AMHERST, Mass. – Hitting the diamond for Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day, the Amherst College baseball team split its twinbill with Wesleyan University, falling 7-6 in a tough game one matchup before rallying in the eighth to edge their Little III rival, 5-3 in game two Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field.
With the split, Amherst moves to 16-12 overall and to 8-4 in NESCAC West action, while Wesleyan moves to 17-13 on the year and to 5-6 in league play. Amherst returns to action on Tuesday, May 2, when they travel to Brandeis for a non-conference matchup beginning at 5 p.m.
GAME ONE HIGHLIGHTS: Amherst 6, Wesleyan 7
Amherst jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second behind four hits. Nick Nardone '19 tallied the first RBI of the game, powering a single to left field to plate Ariel Kenney '18 from second. Ryan Hardin '18 followed Nardone with a single of his own and moved over to second on the throw to put runners on second and third. Next at the dish, Chase Henley '19 recorded the Mammoths third consecutive single to score Nardone, before a hard hit ground ball by Severino Tocci '20 gave Amherst a 3-0 edge.
Responding in the fourth, the Cardinals deadlocked the game at 3-3. Leading off the inning with a double, Ellis Shafer crossed home a hitter later following an Amherst throwing error. Matt Jeye and Ryan Earle then notched back-to-back doubles as Will O'Sullivan and Jeye scored.
Taking their first lead of the outing in the fifth, O'Sullivan registered a bunt single with runners on second and third to score Tanner Fulkerson, before a fielder's choice by Jeye plated Jonny Corning.
The Mammoths brought their deficit to 5-4 in the bottom of the inning, as Anthony Spina '17 doubled to left field to score Tocci from third, before retaking the lead in the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, Harry Roberson '18 ripped a single to left to make it a 6-5 game in favor of the home team.
Ryan Earle proved clutch for Wesleyan in the top of the seventh, sending a two-run homer over the right field fence with two outs to tally what stood as the game-tying and game-winning runs.
Amherst threatened to even the game in their final at bat, loading the bases with just one out, however Corning made an athletic play to lift the Cardinals to the 7-6 win, knocking down a ball just right of the second base bag to record the out and hold the game-tying run at third.
On the mound, Jackson Volle '17 (5-1) allowed 10 hits, six earned runs and struck out three in 7.0 innings in the losing effort for the Mammoths.
Tasked with the start, Ethan Rode tossed 4.2 innings, allowing eight hits, four earned runs and fanning two for Wesleyan. Earle (5-0) claimed the win on the hill, giving up three hits and two earned runs in 2.1 innings.
GAME TWO HIGHLIGHTS: Amherst 5, Wesleyan 3
The Mammoths started game two strong at the dish, claiming a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Following a ground ball out, Roberson powered a triple to right center to move into scoring position before Yanni Thanopoulos '17 drove a single down the left field line to plate Roberson. Capitalizing on a single by Spina and a Cardinal error, Thanopoulos crossed home a batter later to extend Amherst's lead to two.
Getting on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth, Wesleyan racked up four hits to make it a 3-2 contest. Earle took advantage of a leadoff hit by O'Sullivan, sending a single to left to plate the Cardinals first score of the outing, before a two out double by Nick Miceli sent Danny Rose and Earle home.
After solid defense kept the sides scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh, Amherst rallied to log three runs in the bottom of the eight to earn the 5-3 victory.
Roberson started the two out rally for the Mammoths, singling through the left side to put runners on first and second. Next to the dish, Thanopoulos rose to the occasion and hammered a doublet o left field to plate Tocci and even the contest at 3-3. Spina proved to be the difference maker for Amherst, as he blasted a single to deep right field to score Thanopoulos and Roberson and give the home team a 5-3 advantage.
Sam Schneider '18 (1-1) tossed 4.0 innings in the start for Amherst, allowing five hits, three earned runs and whiffing two, while Wilson Taylor '19 (2-2) entered in relief and pitching 5.0 innings, allow just two hits and fanning five in the winning effort.
Starting on the mound for Wesleyan, Alec Olmstead allowed nine hits, one earned run and struck out seven in 6.0 innings. Rode (3-3) took the loss for the Cardinals, giving up three hits, three earned runs and whiffing one in 1.2 innings, while Asher Young entered to throw 0.1 innings.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Today's game marks Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate six seniors following the 2017 season including: captain and centerfielder Yanni Thanopoulos, right-handed pitcher Jackson Volle, outfielder Anthony Spina, captain and left-handed pitcher Mike Castiglie, right-handed pitcher George Long and right-handed pitcher Chris Baldi. Together, this year's seniors have amassed an overall mark of 95-50 (.655 winning percentage), including a 23-13 record at Memorial Field and a 23-13 ledger against NESCAC West opponents. During that time, Amherst has made three NESCAC Championship berths, including an appearance in the Game 7 Finals, earned two NCAA national postseason at-large bids and clinched a program single-season record 30 wins in 2014. Congratulations seniors!