AMHERST, Mass. – Two brilliant defensive plays from the outfield helped preserve a one-run lead on Saturday afternoon as Amherst split their New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) doubleheader against Wesleyan University with a 3-2 win in the second game.
Kai Terada-Herzer '21 made a diving catch in center field in the top of the seventh and Joe Palmo '21 threw out a runner at second base from right field as the Mammoths (7-6, 1-2 NESCAC) got their first conference win of the year after falling 4-2 in the first game of the day.
GAME 2: Amherst 3, Wesleyan 2
Amherst scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to overcome a two-run first inning by the Cardinals.
Daniel Qin, who, like Terada-Herzer went 2-3 with a double, led off the bottom of the fifth with a two-base hit, eventually scored from third base on a throwing error by the pitcher who was attempting a pick-off play at second.
He would eventually be the game-winning run, but not without the help of the outfield, which preserved the win for Andrew Nagel '21, who improves to 3-0 after tossing seven innings and allowing just two runs.
With two outs in the top of the seventh and a runner on second base, Andrew Keith send a laser out to right center field that would have surely tied the game had Terada-Herzer not laid out and made a spectacular catch.
Wesleyan was still looking for the tying run when Nick Valicenti led off the ninth with a single to right field, but Palmo chased down the ball and delivered a pinpoint throw to shortstop Stephen Burke '21, who applied the tag to cut down the Cardinal catcher trying to take an extra base.
That play helped Senior Mike Dow complete an inning and two thirds for his third save of the season.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. With runners on second and third, Danny Rose hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Keith, before a single by Adam Geibel drove in designated hitter Andrew Kauf.
Wesleyan's Peter DeLalio suffered the loss allowing one run in relief of Ryan Earle, who went the first four innings and gave up two runs on five hits.
GAME 1: Wesleyan 4, Amherst 2
Amherst scored twice in the fifth to cut the deficit to 3-2 but couldn't find an equalizer as the dropped a second-straight 4-2 defeat to Wesleyan.
Qin went 2-2 and Burke was 2-3 with a double and an RBI.
Terada-Herzer was 2-4 and he scored on a single up the middle by Burke during a three-hit fifth inning that started with a one-out walk to Qin, a Terada-Herzer single and an RBI base hit by Palmo.
In the top of the third, Wesleyan's Tanner Fulkerson reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, before Alex Cappitelli singled to second base to drive Fulkerson home for the 1-0 early lead.
Amherst threatened in the bottom of the fourth with runners on second and third, but Dan Lombardo struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Lombardo picked up the win on the mound, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out three over four innings. Jake Alonzo recorded the save for Wesleyan, pitching two innings of scoreless relief, while striking out three.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Alonzo, who started the game at shortstop, touched home on a wild pitch, before a sacrifice fly by Keith drove in Johnny Corning.
Wesleyan added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when a single to center field by Keith drove in Corning to make it 4-2.
Davis Brown '19 suffered the loss (1-1), allowing three runs on two hits over four and a third innings of work. Juniors Zach Horwitz and Carson Glazer gave up just one hit over two and two-thirds innings of relief.
Amherst has two non-conference home games next week, on Tuesday against Roger Williams and on Wednesday against WPI. Both games are set for 3:30 PM.
The Cardinals travel to Johnson & Wales on Wednesday for a 4:00 p.m. start.