The first home weekend for Williams baseball could have gone better.
With the Wesleyan Cardinals in town, the Ephs were hoping to use the momentum from Thursday’s 15-3 blowout of the Savannah College of Art and Design to start on the road to a Little Three title. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Ephs took the field at home for the first time for a doubleheader.
Ben Hamm ’03 started the first game for Williams against a potent Wesleyan lineup and ran into some early trouble. Wesleyan opened up with two doubles and a single, which Williams compounded with an error, scoring three runs. In the bottom of the inning, Eph hitters took advantage of inexperienced Wesleyan starter Rob Guglielmino. Dave Carrillo ’00 and Mark Scialabba ’02 drew walks. Tim Albrecht ’01 brought them home with a two out double, and the score was 3-2 Wesleyan.
The Cardinals scored again in the second inning, but the Eph bats wasted no time returning the favor. Billy Casolo ’02 hit a big RBI single to tie the game at four. Unfortunately, that would be the end of equality between the teams. Bobby Coppola ’03 came on to pitch at the beginning of the third inning, taking the loss despite solid pitching over the next five innings. Wesleyan’s Winsor Schmidt put the Ephs away nearly single-handedly, finishing the first game with five hits, two of them doubles. The Ephs lost the first game 10-5, but were optimistic about the second game.
Joe Steinberg ’01 pitched the entire second game for the Ephs, dueling with Wesleyan starter Dave Vanech, who also went the distance. Steinberg struggled early on, allowing back to back doubles to open the game. Both men scored, and three walks left the bases loaded with two outs. Steinberg took the hitter to a tense full count, then struck him out to end the inning. The 2-0 score would stand the rest of the night. Steinberg struggled with his control, but struck out six. The Eph bats, however, were silent.
The bottom of the seventh was the Ephs’ final opportunity, and they nearly rallied. Scialabba singled to start the inning, but a double play grounder and a fly out finished the game.
Hopes were high when the Ephs traveled to Wesleyan on Sunday. Williams hoped to strike back with a win in Connecticut. Hamm got another start, pitching two and a half innings before turning the mound over to Adam Mancinone ’02. In the second inning, the Ephs went on the offensive, as singles by Mike Paolercio ’00 and Austin Lehn ’03 and a passed ball by Wesleyan’s Eric Carmody gave Williams a 3-1 lead.
The Cardinals battled back, taking a 4-3 lead into the eighth inning. Williams loaded the bases with three consecutive singles and Lehn lined a two RBI single over third base. Williams held them in the bottom of the inning and failed to score in the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Wesleyan tied the game at five, then went on to win with a two out RBI single. Williams’ record dropped to 12-7, all but dashing hopes for a Little Three title.
Despite the setback, the Ephs are optimistic about games on Tuesday and Thursday (Westfield State and Springfield) and two games with Trinity on Saturday.