Jumbos take doubleheader from baseball

Since returning home from its 12-4 spring break trip to Arizona, baseball (13-7, 3-0 in the NESCAC) has struggled to find offensive consistency. In their non-conference doubleheader against the Jumbos on Sunday, the Ephs were held to one run in each game as Tufts swept by a score of 2-1 in both contests. On April 3 Williams dominated the Elms with a 16-hit, 14-run game, following a two-hit, 3-0 loss to Springfield the day before.

The Ephs were unable to capitalize on critical scoring opportunities in the doubleheader against Tufts on Sunday. Dan Benz ’09 started Game 1 of the two-game series striking out the first two batters he faced. After a double and a ground out to Benz the Ephs left the top of the first feeling strong in the field. Co-captain James DiCosmo ’08 singled in the bottom of the first but couldn’t get any help from the rest of the lineup.

Williams started the bottom of the third inning with strong momentum, but could not score. Barrett Allison ’09 began the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Pat Barren ’11, but was caught stealing on the next play. With two outs and no one on, the Ephs put another runner in scoring position when Robin Allemand ’10 walked and DiCosmo singled. However, the Ephs could not bring Allemand home when a pop-up to center ended the inning.

Williams’ defense held strong through the fifth inning with Benz only allowing three hits. The Ephs scored the first run in the bottom of the inning beginning with a Jumbos error that led to Zack Stone ’09 reaching first. A sacrifice bunt allowed Stone to advance to second and Allemand hit him home with a single to right field. Allemand then ended the inning after being caught stealing second.

With a one-run deficit entering the sixth, the Jumbos took advantage when they had runners in scoring position. With two outs and runners on second and third, Tufts’ Alex Perry knotched two RBIs with a double to left to give the Jumbos the one-run lead.

Williams did not give up in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with no outs. The Ephs, however could not capitalize, and the Jumbos got out of the inning unscathed. Williams was again unable to score in the bottom of the seventh and despite having seven hits to the Jumbos’ two, Williams lost 2-1.

“Tufts played very well,” co-captain Max Pinto ’08 said. “In both games they had a clutch hit in key situations that made the difference. We had similar opportunities. In both games we were one hit away.”

The Ephs’ second game against the Jumbos on Sunday was similar to the first with Tufts edging out Williams, 2-1. Ben Horwitz ’09 pitched a strong six innings allowing six hits, two earned runs and recording seven strikeouts. Matt Gustafson ’08 pitched the last three innings of the game allowing only one hit and no earned runs. Unfortunately for the Ephs, they could not gain the momentum offensively, getting only two hits in the nine-inning game.

The contest remained scoreless until the top of the fifth when four hits by the Jumbos led to a 2-0 lead. Williams battled back in the bottom of the sixth when Allison reached first on an error to start the inning. Barren then hit an RBI double and with no outs the Ephs had their tying run in scoring position. Williams could not get a crucial hit and they left the inning and eventually the game trailing by one.

Williams’ offensive struggles against Tufts on Sunday were non-existent in their home-opener on April 3 when the team beat Elms, 14-2. Elms scored a run in the top of the first but Williams responded, scoring in the bottom of the first, second, third, fourth, sixth and eighth innings.

Al Mathews ’10 had three hits in six at-bats with one RBI, while Chad Brown ’10 went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Co-captains DiCosmo and Pinto also had impressive hitting days. DiCosmo was 3-for-4 on the day, scoring three runs and Pinto hit for the cycle in just five at bats. Pinto scored three runs and had five RBIs.

A strong seven innings of pitching from rookie Wilson Barr ’11 helped the Ephs maintain their lead. Barr allowed only six hits, one earned run and struck out 11 batters.

The day before their impressive win against Elms, Williams was held to two hits and no runs by Springfield. Paul Burgdorf ’10 pitched six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. Tom Coleman ’10 closed for the Ephs with three strikeouts and allowing one hit. Pinto and Taylor Mikell ’09 were the only Ephs with hits on the day.

Williams started off its season with a spring break trip to Arizona where the team played 16 games and gained valuable experience. Playing teams like Middlebury, Keene State and UMass-Boston, Williams finished its trip 12-4.
“The team played very well in all parts of the game,” Pinto said of the spring break trip. “We got off to a great start and proved ourselves against exceptional competition.”

After being swept by Tufts on Sunday, Williams hopes to gain consistency throughout their season. However, the team is confident entering this weekend’s three game series against Amherst, which marks the 149th year of college baseball. “We are poised to play our best baseball this month,” Pinto said.