Ephs claim 2-1 series over Continentals

Baseball (13-20, 4-8 in the NESCAC) won its second NESCAC West series of the season after an 8-2 win in the rubber match against Hamilton last Sunday. The men downed Hamilton 9-8 on Saturday afternoon after losing 2-0 earlier in the day. Last Wednesday, the men secured another win with a 4-2 victory over RPI.

On Saturday, the men traveled to Hamilton to begin a NESCAC West doubleheader. The first game was a classic pitchers’ duel as neither team mustered a hit until co-captain Taylor Mondshein ’13 hit a single in the top of the fourth. Hamilton got to starter Thomas Murphy ’15 in the bottom of the fifth, though, with two scrappy runs. Rightfielder Patrick Blizzard ’13 threw out a runner at home to end the inning and hold the damage to two runs. Those proved to be the only two runs of the game, as neither team had success offensively. Thomas Murphy went 5 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run and was unlucky to pick up the loss.

The second game of the doubleheader was without a doubt the Ephs’ most thrilling game of the season. Williams threw away a four-run lead, had 17 hits, played 12 innings and came away with the victory. It was Hamilton, though, that struck first, profiting from an error to score one off starter Steve Marino ’14 in the bottom of the first. Williams responded with a two-out rally that plated two runs in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. The Ephs scored three more runs in the top of the fifth thanks in part to a Hamilton error, a series of bunts, an RBI single from Tommy Stephens ’14, and a double steal that saw speedster Darren Hartwell ’13 steal home. Hamilton responded with a run in the bottom of the inning, and the Ephs added another run in the top of the sixth courtesy of an Andrew Bishop ’13 RBI double down the third base line. The men carried a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but the game was far from over as Hamilton managed to score runs to take a 7-6 lead and chase starter Marino, who finished with six innings and only one earned run. The men failed to respond in the top of the eighth, and Hamilton extended its lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Errors proved to be the Ephs undoing, for none of the six runs the Continentals scored in the seventh and eighth innings were earned. With a two-run lead heading into the top of the ninth inning, Hamilton thought they had the game rapped up. K.C. Murphy stepped up to the plate first and started off with a leadoff single. Blizzard was then hit by a pitch, and both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Stephens drove one in with an RBI groundout but Marco Hernandez ’14 struck out. Down to their last out, Kelso Stevens ’15 came through with a huge RBI single. Jacob Slater ’15 came in and pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extra innings. Neither team scored in the 10th or 11th innings. The Ephs broke through in the top of the 12th inning as co-captain Jimmy Ray ’13 scored on a Matt Kastner ’14 single. Ray pitched his third scoreless inning of relief to pick up the win and give the Ephs their most satisfying win of the season. The Ephs stole five bases in the game and five players had multiple hits led by Stevens, who had four.

On Sunday, the men finished the third game of the series against Hamilton. Blizzard got the start for the Ephs, and the game began to look like a pitchers duel as he and Hamilton starter Jonathan Lane each pitched two scoreless innings. Williams made progress in the top of the third with an RBI single from Stevens. However, Hamilton finally got past Blizzard with two runs in the bottom of the third. The Ephs responded by scoring a run each in the fourth and the fifth, bringing the score to 3-2. That was all Blizzard would need as he kept Hamilton off the scoreboard for the next three innings, finishing with a win, four strikeouts and two earned runs in six innings of work. Lucas Casso ’13 pitched three shutout innings in relief to earn his first save of the season. A K.C. Murphy RBI double in the seventh brought the score to 4-2, and a four-run eighth inning that saw Hartwell, Kastner, Mondshein and Bishop each pick up an RBI settled the score at 8-2. The men had 13 hits, including three from K.C. Murphy who also picked up his team-leading 25th RBI.

“We put ourselves in a hole [against Hamilton] by losing the first one, but showed a lot of heart in winning the second game in extra innings,” Ray said. “We have a lot of guys playing hurt right now, and they, along with the rest of the team, really sucked it up and gritted out a win, especially guys like Kelso [Stevens] and Kastner.  In the third game, it was  great for us to go out there and ride Pat Blizzard and Lucas Casso to take the series.”

Last Wednesday, the men hosted RPI in a non-conference game. Williams scored quickly and then pitched well to hold on for a nice victory. The men jumped out to a 3-2 lead early on and added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of RPI errors and an RBI triple by Hartwell.

The men hosted Union on Tuesday but results came in too late to report. The men travel to Suffolk for a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m., and they end their season at home with a doubleheader against Bates on Sunday, starting at 12 p.m.