Baseball triumphs over Jeffs in 2 of 3

With nearly half of its season complete, baseball (11-9-1, 4-2 in the NESCAC) is looking to carry momentum from a 2-1 weekend against Amherst into next week’s games. The team’s tie game came in an 11-inning marathon game against Keene State on Wednesday. Before that, the men fell to Dartmouth 14-4 on April 6 upon returning from their 16-game spring break trip. Williams went 9-7 on the trip as it went up against teams from all around the country.

Amherst arrived at Williams on Sunday ready to avenge its doubleheader loss to the men at Amherst the day before. The Jeffs proved a challenge for the Ephs’ pitching: The men were forced to rotate through six pitchers throughout the course of the game, with Eddie Nadel ’12, Lucas Casso ’13, Ben Oliva ’12, Tom Hester ’11 and Patrick Blizzard ’13 all getting time on the mound. The Jeffs got three runs on the board in the top of the second after a scoreless first inning and added a run each in the third and fourth innings. The men were unable to respond offensively, and Amherst opened its lead to 8-0 after the sixth inning.

The Ephs finally got on the board with runs by Robin Allemond ’10 and Pat Barren ’11 in the bottom of the sixth, but Amherst pulled even further ahead with two more runs in the next inning, and the score stood at 10-2 as the men stepped up to bat in the seventh inning. Runs by captain Al Mathews ’10 and Cameron Susk ’12 in the seventh and eighth innings narrowed the Jeffs’ lead to six, but Williams could not score the rest of the way, leaving the final tally at 10-4 in favor of Amherst.

Saturday’s games had seen much more impressive play from the Ephs than in Sunday’s loss: The men won their first game 5-2, and then built on the momentum to claim the second game 12-9. Paul Burgdorf ’10 recorded a win in the first showdown; Dan Grossman ’12, who replaced Burgdorf in the sixth inning of the first matchup, recorded a save in the game, then earned the team’s second win of the day after pitching 3.1 innings in relief of Harry Marino ’12. Rookie Jimmy Ray ’13 earned the save on Sunday.

The first game was scoreless until the top of the third inning, when the Ephs were able to take a 4-0 lead. The men tallied one more run before Amherst responded with their only two scores of the game in the bottom of the sixth. This put the score – which would become final after a scoreless seventh inning on both sides – at 5-2.

The second game saw very different play, as the teams combined for 21 runs and were forced to play nine innings due to a tie in the seventh. Williams again started the game off with a 4-0 lead after the top of the second inning, and the Jeffs narrowed the Ephs’ lead to three with a run in the bottom of the third. Both teams ramped up the offense starting in the fourth inning: The Ephs scored two runs in each of their next two turns at bat, with the Jeffs adding three scores in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the score at 8-4 in favor of Williams moving into the sixth inning. The Jeffs scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth before the Ephs tacked on one more of their own to head into the bottom of the seventh with a 9-6 lead and with their eyes on the victory. Amherst found a way to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh, however, to push the game into extra innings. The Ephs ultimately used a three-run ninth to claim the win 12-9.

Strong hitting on both sides of the plate in Wednesday’s game against Keene State set the stage for a 13-13 tie. At the end of the second inning, the score stood at 8-4 in favor of the Ephs, though the Owls rallied to tie the game up at 8-8 by the end of the third inning. Sporadic scoring throughout the rest of the game led to five more runs a side by the end of the evening. The game went to 13 innings before it was called due to darkness.

The team returned to the east coast April 6, when the men fell to Div. I Dartmouth 14-4. Williams’ 9-7 spring break tour included a three-game series against Middlebury on March 26-27, which the Ephs won 2-1.

According to Head Coach Bill Barrale, the Ephs need to step up both offensively and defensively in order to win for the rest of the season. “We’ve been hitting pretty well, but our defense has been inconsistent,” Barrale said. “We’ve put together some clutch hits, but it’s hard to score a lot of runs every single game … We just need to play better team defense.”

Mathews is excited about the team’s prospects as they move past the difficulties of the early season. “We have responded well in the important league games, taking two out of three against [both] Amherst and Middlebury,” he said.

Barrale concurred. “We control our destiny in the league,” he said. “We have 15 games left, and it’d be nice to string together a couple of wins.”

Williams will face Hamilton in the team’s second-to-last NESCAC series at home on Friday and Saturday. The men will then travel to Union for a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday.

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