Baseball preps for NESCACs after 4-1 week

After four wins in the last week of its regular season last week, baseball (22-10-1, 10-2 in the NESCAC) had its 12-game winning streak snapped by Westfield on Sunday afternoon. The 8-7 loss came on the heels of a 14-9 win over Wesleyan on Saturday, a 7-2 win over Springfield Friday, a crushing 17-6 defeat of RPI Thursday and an 8-5 victory over Union on April 27.

Paul Burgdorf ’11 started on the mound for the men on Sunday and threw four strikeouts while allowing four runs in as many innings. Williams got on the board in the first inning when Steve Maier ’12 was driven in by captain Al Mathews ’10. Westfield scored two runs in the next inning to take the lead at 2-1.

The Owls and the Ephs exchanged pairs of runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including an RBI triple by Pat Barren ’11. Mathews and Barren both scored on the hit, bringing the score to 4-3 in favor of Westfield. Tom Coleman ’10 replaced Burgdorf on the mound at the top of the fifth inning, and Coleman gave up two runs during the Owls’ fifth at-bat, allowing Westfield to open its lead to three at 6-3. The Owls scored again in the top of the sixth inning, but the men quickly returned fire as they came up to bat, scoring two more runs to keep it a two-run game.

Dan Grossman ’12 came in for Coleman at the top of the seventh inning, but was quickly replaced by Ben Oliva ’12 after giving up a quick Westfield run. Oliva struck out two batters in the next 2.5 innings to close out the game for the Ephs. Despite NESCAC Player of the Week Robin Allemand ’10 knocking Mathews in for an eighth-inning run and another score from Maier in the bottom of the ninth, the Ephs couldn’t complete the rally, falling 8-7.

“[Westfield] is a pretty good team,” Head Coach Bill Barrale said when asked about the loss. “They’re a solid opponent. We committed some errors that cost us [but] they made some good plays defensively. Two good teams played, and one team came up short: We didn’t do anything drastically [wrong] to give the game away.”

The day before, Williams’ victory over Wesleyan completed the Eph sweep of three-game NESCAC series against the Cardinals. The series was meant to be completed April 25, but the final game was rescheduled due to weather. Williams once again used a variety of pitchers in the win: Eddie Nadel ’12 started the day off before Matt Berdoff ’12 and Pat Blizzard ’13 each took a turn on the mound. Jimmy Ray ’13 closed out the game for the Ephs to record his fourth save of the season. The 14-9 victory was an offensive triumph for the Ephs, as Maier drove in three runs while Allemand knocked in a game-high six for the team on the day. Mathews added two RBIs on the day.

The games against Springfield and RPI were equally dominant as Saturday’s matchup against Wesleyan. Harry Marino ’12 and Lucas Casso ’13 pitched against Springfield Thursday night, while Oliva, Berdoff and Ray all saw time against RPI last Wednesday. Allemand and Taylor Mondshein ’13 led the team with three and two RBIs respectively against Springfield. Mondshein also had five RBIs against RPI to help lead the team to victory.

The men got off to a good start in their 8-5 victory over Union on April 27, scoring four runs in their first at bat. At the close of the second inning Williams was up 6-2. The Dutchmen and the Ephs exchanged runs in the third inning before a two-run Union rally in the fifth inning was answered by a decisive Williams run in the men’s fifth at-bat. Heading into the sixth inning, the tally stood at 8-5. The score held through the end of the ninth inning, as neither team scored, earning the Ephs the win.

Williams travels to Tufts on May 7 to take on Bowdoin in the first round of the NESCAC tournament.

“We feel pretty good [heading into NESCACs],” Barrale said regarding the team’s attitude moving forward. “We’re in a really good place, and I’m excited for the opportunity to compete in the tournament.”

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