Ephs nail Amherst; split two vs. Trinity

A hot sun and a clear blue sky were on hand to witness Williams baseball dominate NESCAC rival Amherst in a rematch of the first collegiate baseball game ever played with a decisive 9-2 victory at Weston Field on Wednesday. It was Williams’ first win at home against Amherst since beating them 2-1 in 1994. Unsuprisingly, the day was highlighted by timely offensive power, consistent defense, and solid pitching on behalf of the Ephs.

The Lord Jeffs (15-7) got on the board early when Hugh Quattlebaum tallied a solo home run to left early in the first inning against Eph starter Matt Jewell ’98. Williams responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first on David Carillo ’00’s double and a Jeff Russell ’99 follow-up RBI single that tied the game at one apiece. A second Lord Jeff’s homer in the fourth inning put the score at 2-1 before Jewell exited the game, finishing after three and one-third innings and giving up two runs.

Despite the lively Amherst bats, the Eph defense and a deadly Jewell pickoff move helped keep baserunners at bay, even prompting adamant baseball fan Sean Keenan ’00 to remark, “No doubt about it, Jewell has got one of the best moves in the NESCAC.” Replacing Jewell was Sam Landis ’98, who in one of his best outings of the season pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings, yielding only two hits and zero walks.

After the game, Landis commented on his performance by saying, “I just went out there and tried to pitch the best I possibly could, but it was the defensive support and offensive production that helped us be successful. Fortunately, my slider was working and we forced a lot of ground-outs.” After getting the team out of a tough jam in the fourth, Landis went on to systematically silence the Lord Jeff offensive threat by retiring the last 13 batters he faced.

Landis was supported by an effective Eph lineup that utilized the bottom of the fourth inning to open up a lead that Amherst would not threaten for the rest of the day. In wearing down Amherst starter Mike Sweeney, the Williams lineup again demonstrated its unique ability to step up in critical situations. Taking advantage of costly Amherst errors, Russell, Mike Paolercio ’00 and Matt Sigrist ’00 each scored to put the lead at 5-2 heading into the fifth. Norm Liversidge ’00 got the defensive effort rolling in the fifth inning by throwing out Lord Jeff baserunner Jordan Krall when he attempted to steal second.

A series of 1-2-3 innings followed as both teams hit the ball hard to no avail, leading Williams into the bottom of the eighth with a chance to pick up some insurance runs before going home with the win. Singles by Russell and Albright put two men on for a Sigrist (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 Runs) RBI single which preceded a Paolercio bloop single that also scored one run. Two more Amherst errors extended the Williams lead to 9-2, where it would stay as Landis struck out two batters in the ninth to end the game.

After the game Sigrist exuded the Eph’s confidence in remarking, “It was great to beat a team that traditionally plays in the NCAA tournament and to do it in front of our home fans. The rivalry is always big, and the team and coaching staff were really pleased with the effort we gave today.” Sigrist also reflected on the excitement of this season by mentioning that, “Each game we play this season is critical in our fight to make the NCAA tournament.”

In their tune-up for Amherst, Williams destroyed visiting Southern Vermont in a game that was best for revealing the depth of talent available in the Williams baseball program. In a game where everybody played, Williams defeated S.Vermont 13-1 in a lopsided home match-up in which four Eph pitchers combined for a one-hitter.

Chris Riley ’01 started on the mound for the Ephs, and pulled through with a five strikeout, no-hit performance. He gave up one run and was brilliantly followed by a pitcher-trio consisting of Mike Caffrey ’00, John Whalen ’99, and Clint Olsen ’99. They were supported by a error-free Williams defense and the strong bats of Sigrist, Carillo and Paolercio (two hits apiece). New Canaan, CT native David Hodgman ’99 blasted a key two-run double in the fourth inning as part of a four-run rally by the Ephs. The consistent play of freshman Ryan Gunther (3-4, 3 RBIs) and a punishing double by Joe Steinberg ’00 were also bright spots in the Ephs home win as they got a chance to battle some out-of-conference foes.

On Saturday Williams headed to Hartford, CT to do battle with Trinity in afternoon doubleheader. Williams split the doubleheader, wining the first 12-7 and losing the second game 6-3, ending a nine-game winning streak in the process.

A thrilling come-from-behind victory highlighted the first game as Williams scored seven runs in the final inning to push past the pesky Bantams. Ian Macallister ’98 continued a month of hot hitting with a solo home run that was complemented with solo shots by teammates Liversidge and Mike Ostella ’98. Five pitchers contributed with Landis (5-1) picking up the win for the opening game.

The second match-up placed an excellent freshman pitcher from Trinity named Jarrett Bayliss against the Williams squad, resulting in a five-hit, three-run performance by the Ephs that proved insufficient in keeping the winning streak alive.

A chance at a new winning streak starts again today at 3:30 p.m. when the Ephs (21-5) battle Union at home, followed by a game at Castleton State on Thursday and a critical doubleheader at Amherst on Saturday.

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