Baseball Downs Bates, 5-3, Drops NESCAC Elimination Game to Tufts, 2-1

Baseball Downs Bates, 5-3, Drops NESCAC Elimination Game to Tufts, 2-1

WATERVILLE, Maine – The Amherst College baseball team battled past Bates, 5-3 in an elimination game to earn a rematch against Tufts, however the Jumbos won the pitching duel to post a 2-1 win and eliminate the Mammoths from the 2017 NESCAC Championship.

With the split, Amherst closes the 2017 season with an overall record of 20-16.

GAME ONE HIGHLIGHTS: Amherst 5, Bates 3
Tallying five runs in the first four innings, the Mammoths staved off elimination in game three of the NESCAC Championship, downing Bates, 5-3 to earn the right to play Tufts in game five action. 

Jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead, Yanni Thanopolous '17 capitalized on a Max Steinhorn '18 walk and a Harry Roberson '18 double and sent a hard hit ground ball to the second baseman to plate Steinhorn and tally an RBI in the top of the first inning.

Doubling their lead in the third, Roberson singled to left field to start off the inning and stole second base before Thanopoulous was hit by a pitch and Anthony Spina '17 grounded out to third to move the runners over a bag. Taking to the dish, Ariel Kenney came through for the Mammoths, launching a sacrifice fly to left to score Roberson and make it a 2-0 contest. 

What stood as the game's difference maker, a big fourth inning proved crucial for the Mammoths as Amherst notched four hits and three runs with two outs to extend its lead to 5-0. Following back-to-back ground outs, Ryan Hardin '18 recorded the first of four singles for Amherst, powering a line drive to right field. Steinhorn singled to right center to move Hardin to third before Roberson drew a walk to load the bases and set up the scoring plays. Stepping up to the plate, Thanopolous ripped a ball to left to drive in two runs before Spina sent Roberson home on a single to left center.

Getting on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, the Bobcats reduced their deficit to 5-1 after Jack Arend led off with a hit to left center and moved over to third on a wild pitch. Asher MacDonald logged an RBI for Bates after a Brendon Canavan strikeout, blasting a triple into the gap in left center to score Arend.

Both sides registered 1-2-3 outings in the fifth and got a runner to third in the sixth, but neither team was able to take advantage of the opportunity as the score remained 5-1 in favor of the Mammoths entering the final three innings. 

Attempting to claw back into the ballgame in the bottom of the seventh, Bates rattled off three hits to plate two runs and set the score at 5-3. Will Sylvia and Ryan McCarthy notched back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning, with McCarthy earning an RBI, before Arend singled up the middle to score McCarthy two batters later.

Needing just six hitters to record the final six outs, the Mammoths made quick work of the final two innings, as Amherst clinched the 5-3 victory to eliminate Bates from the 2017 NESCAC Championship.

Tossing 6.0 innings in the start, Drew Fischer '18 (2-0) earned the win for Amherst, allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out eight. Entering in relief, Mike Castiglie '17 threw 1.0 innings before George Long '17 closed out the game and earned the save, going hitless and whiffing two in 2.0 innings on the mound.

Pitching 3.2 innings, Connor Speed (1-7) took the loss for Bates, allowing seven hits and five earned runs while striking out one. Connor Russell tossed the final 5.1 innings in relief, giving up three hits, no runs and striking out two.

GAME TWO HIGHLIGHTS: Amherst 1, Tufts 2
A fielding error that allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base proved costly for the Mammoths, as Tufts tallied two scores with two outs in the top of the third to break the deadlock and take a 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded following a walk and hit by pitch, Tommy O'Hara came through in the clutch, powering a double down the right field line to plate Will Shackelford and Tom Petry. 

Responding in the bottom of the eighth, Amherst made it a one run game following singles by Steinhorn and Roberson to start the inning. With runners on the corners, Thanopoulos drove a hard hit fielder's choice to the shortstop to send Steinhorn home. 

The Mammoth aimed to even the score in their final at bat, but a strong defensive effort by Jumbos sealed a 1-2-3 inning as Tufts secured the 2-1 victory. 

Amherst owned a dominative 8-3 edge in hits in the matchup, including a three hit day by Steinhorn.

Starting on the mound for Amherst, Sam Schneider '18 (2-2) allowed two hits, no earned runs and struck out five in 8.0 innings, while Zach Horwitz '20 and Wilson Taylor '19 closed out the final inning of he contest. 

R.J. Hall (3-3) tossed 7.0 innings in the winning effort for Tufts, allowing six hits, no earned runs and striking out three. Entering in the eighth, Brad Marchetti was credited with the save, giving up two hits, one earned run and whiffing one.