Baseball notches key victory at MCLA

Men’s baseball (6-13, 1-5 in the NESCAC) earned a decisive 5-2 victory over MCLA on Monday. Over the weekend, Amherst handed the men a three-game sweep.

Senior Ben Oliva ’12 has six strikeouts from the bullpen this season. Oliva also had a key RBI against Amherst on Saturday. CALEB BAER/PHOTO EDITOR

The Ephs lost the Friday night home game 6-4 before dropping both games of Saturday’s doubleheader at Amherst by scores of 5-4 and 2-1. The men also fell 12-9 to Keene State on March 4 after going 5-9 on their spring break trip.

A strong performance by starting pitcher Dylan Griswold ’15 lifted Williams over MCLA. The rookie allowed one earned run in five innings, amassing six strikeouts. The Ephs jumped on the scoreboard in the third with a double by Cameron Susk ’12, which scored Taylor Mondshein ’13 and Matt Kastner ’14 to put the Ephs up 2-0. Andrew Bishop ’13 then singled in Susk to make the score 3-0. The Trailblazers added a run of their own in the third before the Ephs responded in the top of the seventh, when Mondshein plated Phil McGovern ’15 with a single to extend the Ephs’ lead to 4-1. Impressive performances by relievers Lucas Casso ’13 and Eddie Kelly ’15 limited the Trailblazers to only one more run, while the Ephs managed a bonus score in the ninth. Kelso Stevens ’15 notched a crucial save in the bottom of the ninth to secure the 5-2 win.

Thomas Murphy ’15 started the early game against Amherst on Saturday. With Williams down 2-0 in the fourth, Mondshein singled to score Kastner and Darren Hartwell ’13 and tie the game 2-2. Later in the inning, McGovern singled Susk home to give the Ephs a 3-2 advantage. The lead was extended to 4-2 in the fifth when Ben Oliva ’12 bunted for a base hit and reached second on a throwing error. Co-captain Steve Maier ’12 brought him home with a double.

Murphy held Amherst to five hits through the first five innings of the contest and struck out the first batter he faced in the sixth. However, with two outs and two runners on base, Murphy threw what appeared to be the third strike to end the inning; the umpire, however, called the pitch a ball. The three and four hitters for the Jeffs then hit back-to-back singles, scoring three runs to claim a 5-4 lead. The Ephs failed to mount a comeback and went down in order in the seventh.

The team fought hard in its final game of the day. The lefty combination of starting pitcher Steve Marino ’14 and reliever Matt Berdoff ’12 held Amherst scoreless for the first seven innings. Mondshein continued his impressive weekend by hitting a double to start the ninth. A fly ball to right field by McGovern advanced Mondshein to third, and Oliva wasted no time in bringing home the tying run, hitting a sacrifice fly to score Mondshein to tie the score at 1-1 and send the game into extra innings.

Jimmy Ray ’13 pitched a scoreless ninth before finding himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th. He struck out one Jeff, but then surrendered a walk-off single. Amherst took the game 2-1.

The first game of the series was played Friday night at home. Co-captain Harry Marino ’12 started for the Ephs. Williams struck early when a sacrifice fly by Marco Hernandez ’14 plated Mondshein, who tripled to lead off the second. The game went back and forth, but the Jeffs capitalized on an Eph error to plate two runs in the eight and claim a decisive 6-4 lead, which they managed to hold through the end of the contest.

“We played hard all weekend, and unfortunately, it didn’t get the results we were hoping for,” Harry Marino said. His spirits were not dampened, though: “I am proud to be a part of this team,” he continued.

Earlier in the week, on April 4, the men dropped a tough game 12-9 to the perennially potent Keene State line-up. The men finished 5-9 over spring break in Arizona, most notably going 1-2 in their conference series against Middlebury.

The team will play Westfield State on Wednesday at 4 p.m. before opening up a three-game series against Wesleyan on Friday at 4 p.m. with a doubleheader at home on Saturday. First pitches on Saturday will be at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.