“Holy Purple Cows!” That could have been the response from Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto on witnessing the Williams baseball team’s impressive play this weekend. The Ephs defeated Wesleyan two out of three times, including one game that Rizzuto announced for the Wesleyan radio station. The pair of wins gave Williams an 18-7 overall record and set the squad up for a clash with rival Amherst for the Little Three title.
In a home and away series between the Little Three rivals, the Ephs first traveled to Connecticut to face the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Behind the pitching performances of Keith Surkont ’99 and Jim Frew ’99, the Ephs dominated the strong Cardinals lineup by the finals of 10-6 and 12-0.
In the opener, the teams were tied 4-4 heading into the fifth when Erik Fagan ’02 knocked a one-out single to bring home Frew. Jeff Russell ’99 followed up Fagan’s base hit with another single and then Tim Albrecht ’01 smacked a sacrifice fly to score Fagan. Russell completed the decisive frame’s scoring when he came home on a wild pitch.
Surkont, the staff ace, did what he had to do to win his fifth game of the year with a seven-strikeout complete game performance.
In the second game, the Ephs exploded past the Cardinals as Frew picked up his third victory of the season in his shutout performance. Frew, who typically sees action as a closer, struck out seven and only walked two on the afternoon. Though the Ephmen didn’t score until the top of the fourth, the team then exploded with a flurry of RBI doubles. In the fourth, three runs came across following Matt Sigrist and Frew’s two-base hits. In the sixth, Williams got doubles from Fagan, Russell and Albrecht on their way to five more runs. Russell was the star at the plate in the late game, going 3-4 with three RBI and plating two runs.
After losing a doubleheader at home, Wesleyan arrived in Williamstown seeking some measure of redemption. The Cardinals got it behind the bat of Geoff Dailey and the arm of Jon Miller. Dailey blasted a first inning three-run home run and the three run cushion was enough for Miller, who tossed a complete-game seven hitter and won 6-2.
Mike Caffrey ’01 started for the Ephs and allowed five runs over five innings. Russell relieved in the sixth and finished out the game. Despite getting runners in scoring position several times late in the game, Williams was unable to pick up any runs on Miller. Stranded runners and scattered hits spelled the Ephs’ demise.
On the pair of weekend wins, Albrecht said, “I think that the Wesleyan series gives the team a good sense of where we stand right now. Wesleyan is a really good team and coming out of the series with two victories is huge.” David Carrillo ’00 noted, “I think this weekend only helped to magnify what we already knew; that we can pull together for the big games and find a way to win.”
Earlier in the week, Williams took out MCLA 11-4 and then dropped an 8-0 decision to RPI.
The team will take this week off and then host NESCAC foe Trinity on Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Coombs Field.
Albrecht feels that “Trinity is a very solid team. We will most likely face one of the better pitchers in the league (Bayliss), so it will be a good challenge for us.”