Baseball suffers sweep from Wesleyan

Last weekend, baseball (9-11, 2-4 in the NESCAC) lost a three-game series to Wesleyan after beating MCLA 8-3 on Wednesday. This followed a long spring break tour that saw the men go 9-8 to open the season.

On Friday, Williams opened a series against Wesleyan at home, dropping the first game 16-7. The Ephs kept the Cardinals off the board for the first three innings, but then the game began to unravel. Wesleyan scored at least one run in each of the last six innings behind 18 hits and eight Williams errors. In the top of the fourth, Wesleyan scored six runs, only one of which was earned, heralding an early exit for starting pitcher Thomas Murphy ’15. The men responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, but Wesleyan continued its offensive clinic. In the bottom of the sixth, the Ephs had a glimmer of hope as they loaded the bases for leadoff hitter co-captain Taylor Mondshein ’13, who smacked the first pitch he saw more than 400 feet for a grand slam. This brought the score to 10-7, but that was the closest the Ephs got in their eventual 16-7 loss.

On Saturday, the men traveled to Wesleyan for a doubleheader. In the opening game, Wesleyan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, scoring six more runs in the third and fourth innings and putting the game away for an eventual 11-0 win.

Although the Ephs dropped the opener, they began the second game more auspiciously, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning behind an RBI single from first basemen KC Murphy ’13, who had three hits in the game. Wesleyan responded quickly, however, tagging Eph starter Dan Smith ’16 for three runs in the second and six in the third. The Ephs’ bullpen kept Wesleyan off the scoreboard, pitching five scoreless innings in relief, two each from Patrick Blizzard ’13 and Eddie Kelly ’15, as well as one from co-captain Jimmy Ray ’13. However, the Ephs’ bats could not get anything going, mustering only five hits for the second straight game. The Cardinals closed out the game with a 9-1 win and a series sweep.

On Thursday, the men had their first home game of the season against MCLA. Behind six innings of solid pitching from Arnie Capute ’16 and four RBIs from catcher Phil McGovern ’15, the Ephs overcame an early deficit to defeat MCLA 9-3. Mondshein had three hits and scored two runs, while shortstop Beau Horan ’16 and Tommy Stephens ’14 scored a pair of runs each. Charlie Baxter ’14 pitched two shutout innings of relief and Lucas Casso ’13 also tossed a shutout inning.

After losing their NESCAC West series opener 9-3 to Middlebury on March 29, the men responded to take the next two. The Ephs cruised to a 5-2 win in the day game and crushed the Panthers 11-2 in the nightcap. The Ephs got two strong starting pitching performances from Steve Marino ’14 and Smith. Marino pitched 5 2/3 and gave up two runs, one earned. The game was deadlocked at 2-2 in the sixth inning until Blizzard doubled home two runs and Kirby Neuner ’15 brought him in with a single to make the game 5-2. Ray pitched the last 1 1/3 innings to earn the win. In the rubber match, the Ephs started out strong, jumping to a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning amongst a slew of Panther errors. That turned out to be all Smith would need, as he gave up just two runs in seven strong innings while fanning eight. McGovern led the charge with three hits, including a triple and two RBIs.

This series ended a spring break tour that included an 8-7 loss to Buena Vista and a 9-3 win over Luther on March 27, following a 7-6 win Lewis and Clark and an 8-5 win over Carthage on March 26 and 25, respectively. The men dropped two games against Hamline, losing 2-0 and 10-7 on March 23, after 7-3 and 13-10 losses to Augsburg on March 21. The men overcame Macalester 15-10 on March 20, rebounding from a 13-8 loss against the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse on March 19. The men dispatched Calvin 12-8 earlier on March 19, after narrowly edging them out 6-5 the day before. The men also lost to the University of Wisconsin at Superior 9-3 on March 18.

“We had a little bit of an up and down start, but we finished strongly with two big wins over Middlebury,” said Ray. “We were and are looking forward to building on that as we move ahead.”

The men traveled to Westfield State on Tuesday, but results came in too late to report. Next, they will face Gordon at home on Wednesday at 4 p.m. before a series against Amherst away on Friday at 1 p.m. and home on Saturday at 4 p.m.