AUBURN, N.Y. – Senior Sam Schneider fired seven-innings of one-run ball and Amherst College led University of Southern Maine 2-1 from the third inning through the middle of the eighth, but the Huskies scored twice and escaped with a 3-2 victory in Day 1 of play at the NCAA Division III New York Baseball Regional at Falcon Park.
Amherst (24-13) falls into the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament, and they will play an elimination game at 1:15 PM on Friday against the loser of tonight's final game between Salisbury and Saint Joseph's (LI). Southern Maine (28-13) will face the winner of that contest later tomorrow.
The game was played in just over two hours and featured stellar performances by both starting pitchers. Schneider settled down after giving up a run in the top of the first inning and eventually allowed just six hits and one walk while striking out six batters.
Southern Maine hurler Dalton Rice went eight innings, striking out eight batters and allowing two earned runs on six hits.
Amherst was barreling up Rice and making good contact in the early innings, and they were finally rewarded in the top of the third. A leadoff single by Kai Terada-Herzer '21 and a walk by Severino Simeonoe '20 put Amherst in business. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Terada-Herzer tied the game on an RBI single to left field by Max Steinhorn '18.
Simeone gave Amherst the lead on a sacrifice fly by Ariel Kenney '18, which the Mammoths elected to keep on the board despite a call of catcher's interference, one of two such calls on Huskie's backstop Kyle Heath.
Schneider gave up only two hits over the next five innings before giving way to the Amherst bullpen in the eighth.
Zach Horwitz '20 struck out the lead batter of the inning, but Jake Dexter hit a one-out double and eventually scored on a single to left field by Andrew Olszak.
Mike Dow '19 induced a pop-up for the second out of the inning, but the Huskies grabbed the eventual winning run on the play when Dylan Hapworth scored from third on a throwing error as Amherst tried to cut down Olszak tagging up on the play.
Kenney had had a chance to extend the lead in the eighth when he tried to score from second on a single by Sam Ellinwood '18, but was gunned down at home by Southern Maine right fielder Zach Quintal.
Quintal also made a fantastic catch in the seventh, robbing Simeone of extra bases when he raced back to track a ball and ended up climbing the right field wall after making the snag.
Back to back doubles by Dexter and Hapworth in the first inning accounted for the opening run of the game for the Huskies, who outhit Amherst 8-6.
Amherst senior Harry Roberson was 1-3 with a walk and has now reached base safely in 21 straight games.