Baseball pounds Wesleyan in conference play

Baseball (15-6, 2-4 in the NESCAC) took the rubber game in its series against Wesleyan on Sunday to win the series 2-1. Scoring four runs in the seventh inning, the men took a 4-3 victory after the team split its double header at Wesleyan on Saturday. The Ephs took the early game 8-1, and the Cardinals rebounded in the night game to score an 8-0 victory. The men also pounded Keene State 17-4 on April 6 after opening conference play against Middlebury in Arizona on April 1-2. Middlebury swept the three-game series. The match-up against the Panthers concluded the men’s spring break training trip in Arizona, where the team compiled a 12-5 record.

Southpaw Ben Oliva ’12 took the mound in Sunday’s game. Oliva held the Cardinals to one run over five innings after giving up two hits in the third inning. The Ephs were down 1-0 heading into the sixth, when the Cardinals strung together two hits and a walk to push two men across and take a 3-0 lead.

The Ephs responded, however, with a four-run seventh inning. Cameron Susk ’12 started the men off with a single to short, and a botched fielder’s choice on catcher Marco Hernandez ’14 and a bunt from Taylor Mondshein ’13 juiced the bases. Co-captain Pat Barren ’11 flared a hit up the middle to score Hernandez and Mondshein and tighten the deficit to 3-2. After Adam Marske ’14 loaded the bases on another botched fielder’s choice, Matt Kastner ’14 plated two runs to put the Ephs in the lead 4-3.

“We kept our composure even after being shut out for a bunch of innings,” Head Coach Bill Barrale said. “We made some things happen with timely hitting.”

Oliva went five innings and gave up three runs on six hits, striking out five. Dan Grossman ’12 recorded the win, and Jimmy Ray ’13 recorded his first save of the season.

“[Sunday] was a big win for us,” co-captain James Allison ’11 said. “It was nice to have a solid defensive outing behind fantastic pitching, and then to be able to get the win late was exciting.”

Harry Marino ’12 hurled an impressive game for the Ephs on Saturday. He turned in seven innings and gave up just two hits and one run to the Cardinals. “[Harry Marino] has had a couple of brilliant outings this year, including this Saturday against Wesleyan, and we are excited to have him anchor our staff heading forward,” Allison said.

The men’s offense powered to eight runs on the strength of 12 hits during Saturday’s first game. KC Murphy ’13 started the men’s attack in the second, knocking a double down the right field line. Darren Hartwell ’13 followed with a double, tagging the ball into left field and scoring Murphy to put the Ephs’ on top 1-0. Rookie second baseman Kastner then singled to score Hartwell. Kastner stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from Wesleyan’s catcher Stefan Sundseth. Centerfielder Stephen Maier ’12 drove a long foul ball to the left fielder to score Kastner on a sacrifice fly to end the Ephs’ scoring in the second and put them up 3-0.

Murphy hit another one-out double in the fourth, and Hartwell pushed him to third with an infield single to the shortstop. A wild pitch allowed Murphy to score and Hartwell to take third on the play to make the game 4-0 in the Ephs’ favor. Kastner walked and swiped his second stolen bag of the day, freeing Hartwell to score on the throw. Maier drove Kastner home, driving the ball deep to double to right center. Allison singled to left to bring Maier home before a double play ended the Ephs’ inning. The men took a 7-0 lead into the sixth inning and ultimately took the game 8-1. “We have many capable hitters on our team, and it’s nice to know that the big hit each game could come from anyone in the lineup,” Allison said.

The second game of the day was less successful for the Ephs. Despite pounding Wesleyan for 10 hits, the men were unable to push a run across in their 8-0 loss. Eddie Nadel ’12 pitched four innings and gave up five earned runs. Nadel had allowed only one run through the third inning. Wesleyan’s fourth inning would finish Nadel’s night, however, as the Cardinals pushed across four men in the inning. A hit batter and two stolen bases put runners on second and third with no one out to start the inning, and the Cardinals’ offense followed through to take a 5-0 lead out of the fifth inning.

Matt Berdoff ’12 relieved Nadel in the fifth, but he did not fair much better in his first inning of work. Berdoff gave up six hits, three runs and two earned runs. The Cardinals led off the fifth with three hits, and after some missed defensive opportunities, the Ephs sealed their fate, going down 8-0.

The men could not string hits together on Saturday night. Of their 10 hits, only two were for extra bases. “Our lineup is pretty good, and the the top of the lineup will start producing soon. It’s always tough when you play so few games,” Barrale said.

The men crushed Keene State in the Owls’ home opener on April 6, cruising to a 17-4 victory. The men rocked Keene State for 18 hits and scored in each of the first five innings to go up 10-2 heading into the sixth.

Despite going 12-5 on their trip in Arizona, Middlebury pounded the men in their opening series of conference play, sweeping the men in the teams’ three-game series on April 1-2.

The men played Westfield State on Tuesday, but results came in too late to report. The men will take on MCLA at home today at 4 p.m. and will continue their home stand against St. Michael’s on Thursday at 4 p.m.

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