Cardinals end baseball’s streak

After taking the first two games of the Wesleyan series, baseball could not connect offensively on Sunday and the team was handed its first loss in eight contests. The Ephs fell to the Cardinals 4-1 on Sunday after destroying them 9-1 and 19-4 the day before. Williams also beat Southern Vermont last Wednesday in a non-conference extra-innings win.

Sunday’s match-up was much different than those of the past eight games for the Ephs. Williams, who had previously demonstrated strong offense, underestimated Wesleyan pitcher Kit Tholen, who allowed the Ephs three hits and one earned run in 7 and 1/3 innings. “We ran into a pitcher who was on, and we didn’t make adjustments,” Pinto said.

Williams’ only run of the game came in the fourth inning when Max Pinto ’08 took first base after being hit by a pitch and Robin Allemand ’10 knocked an RBI double to bring him home.
Unlike Williams, Wesleyan was able to score, facing Ben Horwitz ’09. Horwitz found himself in trouble in the bottom of the first when with two outs he walked two batters, who both scored. Horwitz allowed one more run in the fourth, and the Cardinals scored again in the seventh off of reliever Tom Coleman ’10. The Williams bats couldn’t keep the Ephs in the game and they ended their eight-game win streak with a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals.

The day before was a much different story as Williams outscored the Cardinals 28-5 in the twinbill. Game 1 of the doubleheader was dominated by the Ephs throughout. Dan Benz ’09 was on fire on Saturday, pitching a complete seven-inning game, allowing only two hits, no earned runs and notching seven Ks.

Thankfully for Benz, the Ephs’ bats supported his strong performance on the mound, as the Ephs lit up four Cardinal pitchers, scoring at least one run in every inning of the game. Al Mathews ’10 led the game with three RBIs, and Zack Stone ’09 and Pinto had two RBIs each. Eight of the Ephs’ 10 hits of the game came from Mathews, Taylor Mikell ’09, Stone and Chad Brown ’10 with two hits a piece.

Game 1 was just batting practice for what the Ephs accomplished in Game 2. Matt Gustafson ’08 pitched a strong seven innings, allowing the Cardinals two runs (one earned). Surprisingly, the Ephs were behind 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning. Facing Cardinal starting pitcher Michael Cifuentes, the Ephs took full advantage of two walks as Allemand, Mathews and Kevin Flynn ’08 scored off the at-bats of Brown, Flynn and James DiCosmo ’08, respectively.

With a 3-2 lead, the Ephs did not slow down. Gustafson kept the Cardinals scoreless through the seventh and Williams’ offense went to work. The Ephs put up three more runs in the fifth, but the most dominant inning came in the bottom of the sixth when Williams closed out the game with an eight-run inning.

DiCosmo started off the monstrous inning for the Ephs as he reached second on a Cardinal error. Mikell then doubled to bring DiCosmo home. Pinto and Allemand then walked to load the bases as Mathews stepped into the batter’s box. Mathews tripled for three RBIs, forcing Wesleyan to make a pitching change. A pitching change didn’t slow the onslaught as the Ephs notched four more runs off of hits from Flynn, DiCosmo and Mikell before the end of the inning.

Williams relief allowed Wesleyan two more runs, but the offense added four more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to make the final score 19-4.

“Early in the series we approached the games with the right amount of tenacity and determination,” Pinto said. “Those are important elements of our game that were missing on Sunday.”

Game 2 boosted most of the Ephs’ hitting stats as DiCosmo, Mikell and Mathews has four RBIs a piece with Flynn getting four hits and Brown having three. “Timely hitting and limiting the big inning [were our strengths on Saturday],” Pinto said. “Our pitchers did a great job all series of keeping the opposing offense in check.”

Williams beat Southern Vermont 14-10 in extra innings last Wednesday. DiCosmo and Pinto each had two RBIs in the top of the tenth inning to put the Ephs up 14-10. Benz then closed the game to seal the win for Williams.

Baseball played at Rensselaer yesterday, but the results came in too late to be published.

Williams has a busy rest of the week as the team closes out its season with a doubleheader at MIT on Saturday followed by a historical game against Amherst on Sunday. The Ephs’ game against the Jeffs marks the 149th year of college baseball and will be played in Pittsfield. Williams will provide a fan bus to transport fans to the field on Sunday.