Baseball sweeps Continentals

Baseball (17-9, 6-2 in the NESCAC) ended its four-game slide with a win against Castleton State on Thursday and a three-game sweep of Hamilton over the weekend. Both pitching and hitting were strong for the Ephs in all games.

“It is good to see people rise to the occasion,” said co-captain Max Pinto ’08. “We have had a bunch of opportunities to win games all year. Last weekend we took advantage of them.”

Williams started the series against Hamilton on Friday with solid pitching by starter Matt Gustafson ’08. Gustafson threw a strong eight innings, allowing nine hits and only two runs. “Gustafson did especially well, getting us some momentum on Friday by shutting down the Hamilton bats,” Pinto said. “Against him they only hit a handful of balls out of the infield.”
At the plate, Williams turned on their offensive power against the Hamilton pitchers. The Ephs scored four runs in the second inning, three of which came from Pinto’s two-out, three-run homer. The team scored another run in the third and three more in the sixth when Robin Allemand ’10 drove in two runners with a double and Al Mathews ’10 hit Allemand home on a sacrifice fly. The Ephs finished the game on top, 9-2.

“It’s hard to lose when you’re putting up nine runs a game,” Gustafson said. “I hope to see our bats continue to produce like they have been recently.”

Williams carried its strong pitching and offensive power into Saturday’s doubleheader. Dan Benz ’09 pitched Game 1, allowing four hits and two earned runs over six innings.
In a controversial play in the bottom of the third, Pinto was thrown out of the game for running too hard into Hamilton’s catcher at home. While Eph fans were upset by the call, Trey Pendery ’08 came off the bench to replace Pinto in right field. In the fourth inning Pendery launched a two-run homerun over the left field fence, giving the Ephs a 5-0 lead. “With one swing of the bat, Trey took the wind out of Hamilton’s sails and put us up for good,” Pinto said. “It is not easy to do that off then bench, but Trey was ready.” Ryan Webster ’09 also collected two RBIs with a single and Kevin Flynn ’08 brought home another run before the inning came to an end.

Zach Stone ’09 relieved Benz in the seventh inning and Williams finished the game with a 9-4 victory.

Game 2 on Saturday challenged the Ephs as Hamilton jumped to an early lead. Ben Horwitz ’09 pitched well in his five innings on the mound, allowing only one earned-run. With three errors, however, Hamilton was able to score five runs, and by the middle of the third inning Williams was behind 5-1.

Not until the seventh inning did the Ephs respond with six runs of their own. The team batted through the line-up, knocking seven hits. Williams took advantage of two Hamilton errors and entered the top of the eighth leading 8-6.

The Continentals tied the game in the top of the ninth with two runs. But Williams ended its long day in the hot sun with a run in the bottom of the ninth when Mathews tripled and Chad Brown ’11 hit a walk-off single to clinch the victory.

The Ephs 9-8 win solidified the players’ confidence in their ability to play solid baseball. “I think the come-from-behind victory to seal the sweep quelled a lot of doubts that the guys had about how we would perform down the stretch,” Gustafson said.

For his success at the plate over the weekend, co-captain James DiCosmo ’08 was named NESCAC Player of the Week. He batted .688 on the weekend, scoring seven runs in the leadoff spot.

Williams started off its winning streak with a 10-9 win over Castleton St. last Thursday. Their win-streak has the players feeling good entering their final few games of the season. “These wins give us a lot of confidence going into this coming week,” DiCosmo said. “We have five games [left] so hopefully we can keep rolling.”

Williams played yesterday at home against Skidmore, but the results came in too late for publication. The team will play today at Southern Vermont and will host Wesleyan for a series on Saturday. “We are all really excited to play baseball in good weather,” Pinto said. “It is always fun to play at home, so were hoping for a good crowd for our last few NESCAC games of the year.”