Baseball stumbles in three-game NESCAC series

Baseball (10-19, 2-7 in the NESCAC) played a non-conference NESCAC series against Bowdoin last weekend. Bowdoin, the No. 1 team in the NESCAC East division, proved to be too much for the men. The Ephs were swept, losing 3-2 and 4-1 on Saturday and 13-5 on Friday.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Bowdoin scored a run in the second and third innings to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Bowdoin would have pulled ahead even further if not for a fine sliding catch by Phil McGovern ’13 and a diving stop by shortstop Matt Kastner ’14 that prevented a run from scoring. In the third inning, the Ephs responded with a run of their own, as Kelso Stevens ’15 led off the inning by crushing a triple up the gap. Beau Horan ’16 drove him home on a groundout to the shortstop. After the third inning, though, Polar Bear reliever Harry Ridge held the Ephs in check, and the men did not score another run. Bowdoin added two more insurance runs and held on to win 4-1. Williams only mustered five hits in the game, two from Darren Hartwell ’13. Starter Steve Marino ’14 went 5 2/3, surrendering three earned runs and taking the loss to drop to 1-4 on the season.

At home on Sunday, the men aimed to revenge their Saturday away loss against Bowdoin. The second game of the doubleheader was extremely close, as Bowdoin just managed to prevail over the men 3-2 in a classic pitcher’s duel. The Polar Bears had their ace starter Henry Van Zant on the mound who, despite allowing a few hits, secured some clutch outs and keep the Ephs off the scoreboard for the first five innings. Bowdoin scored a run in the first, fifth and sixth innings off  starter Patrick Blizzard ’13. However, the Ephs finally got to Henry Van Zant in the sixth as KC Murphy ’13 and McGovern each got on base with singles and advanced on a wild pitch. Stevens then came up with another big hit for the Ephs, smacking a line drive single up the middle that drove in two runs. The men then loaded the bases but could not convert a squeeze bunt play. Henry Van Zant and Blizzard were replaced in the sixth inning, and both bullpens did not concede a run for the rest of the game. Andrew Bishop ’13 pitched two innings and co-captain Jimmy Ray ’13 pitched one inning. Blizzard pitched well but still took the loss to fall to 1-1 on the season. Tommy Stephens ’14, Stevens and McGovern each had two hits in the game.

On Saturday, the men opened the series with Bowdoin at home. The Ephs were faced with the difficult task of facing two-time NESCAC pitcher of the year Oliver Van Zant. With the help of an error, the men got to Oliver Van Zant early with a two-out, two-run rocket of a triple to left centerfield by co-captain Taylor Mondshein ’13. The triple gave Williams a 2-1 lead. However, two runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth chased starter Thomas Murphy ’15 from the game and put Williams behind 6-2. The Polar Bears added another three runs in the top of the seventh before the Ephs’ bats woke up and the men added another two runs in the bottom of the inning. However, Bowdoin put the game away with four runs in the top of ninth, holding on for a 13-5 win. Thomas Murphy took the loss, dropping to 0-3 on the season and giving up six runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four. KC Murphy and McGovern each had RBIs and Mondshein had three other hits to go along with his triple.

“Bowdoin has some of the best pitching in New England so we came into the series expecting a battle,” Mondshein said. “I thought we played well – they had some timely hits and unfortunately we struggled with runners in scoring position.”

On Thursday, the men hosted and beat Southern Vermont in a non-conference game that snapped an eight-game losing streak. Williams took a 1-0 lead on a Kastner double in the bottom of the first inning that scored Hartwell, and the Ephs never looked back. The floodgates opened up in the bottom of the fourth inning as the Ephs scored six runs to take a 9-0 lead and essentially put the game away. Southern Vermont scored two consolation runs in the top of the seventh inning. Blizzard started the game for the Ephs, pitching two scoreless innings. Stevens came on in relief and pitched another two scoreless innings to record the win. Williams had seven total extra base hits in the game and Hartwell was a homerun away from the cycle. Every Eph starter reached base, and the Ephs collected 17 hits in total, easily putting the Mountaineers 11-2.

The men will host RPI today, before traveling to Hamilton for a three-game weekend series this Saturday and Sunday.