Baseball ends season with two walk-off wins

Marty Clarke ’14 pitched four innings against Springfield.
Marty Clarke ’14 pitched four innings against Springfield.

Men’s baseball (13-16, 7-5 in the NESCAC) punctuated their season with a walk-off win in their NESCAC West finale against Hamilton, following a sweep of Springfield that capped a grueling five-game week for the men. The men went 3-2 over this stretch, dropping contests to Union and Suffolk.

Last Sunday, the men hosted Suffolk for a doubleheader. In the first game, the Ephs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after two innings courtesy of a RBI groundout by Kelso Stevens ’15. The lead did not last long, however, as Suffolk nicked two runs off starter Steve Marino ’14. The men responded, tying the game in the bottom of the fourth, but Suffolk kept them off the scoreboard for the rest of the game and pulled away for an 8-2 win. Marino took the loss for the Ephs despite pitching 6.2 quality innings, striking out three and only giving up two earned runs. The second game of the doubleheader was rained out.

The men faced Springfield in a doubleheader at home last Saturday. In the first game, Luke Pierce ’15 continued his solid season, raking a triple over the center fielder’s head in the bottom of the first inning. Pierce then scored on a ground ball by Thomas Stephens ’14 to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. The Pride struck next in the top of the fourth, knocking home four runs from starter Marty Clarke ’14, forcing the Ephs to make a call to the bullpen. The men responded in the bottom of the inning scoring three runs courtesy of a sac fly from Phil McGovern ’15, a single from Stevens and a Springfield error.

Tri-captain Charlie Baxter ’14 held the Pride scoreless for two more innings and the Ephs blew the game open with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Stephens had a two-RBI single and Jack Cloud ’17 had an RBI single in the Eph rally. The men held on for an 8-6 win as Baxter picked up the win (2-1).

Although the men struck first in the second game of the doubleheader, they found themselves behind 7-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. With their backs against the wall, the Eph’s bats came roaring to life. A clutch two-out single from Stevens brought in a run to bring the men within two. In the bottom of the seventh, McGovern capped off an Eph rally with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to tie the game and send it into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, the Pride notched with two runs. However, once again the men rallied. Co-captain Matt Kastner ’14 knocked home Stevens with a triple, and Pierce drove him home with a single to tie the game. Beau Horan ’16 then drove home Pierce with a sacrifice fly to give the Ephs the walk-off win. Thomas Murphy ’15 pitched the eighth inning and earned the win (5-2).

Last Friday, the men hosted Hamilton for their last NESCAC game of the season. Against Hamilton, the men scored early, plating two runs in the first before adding five more in the seventh to open up a 7-0 lead. Stephens and Stevens each had RBI doubles, Cloud with an RBI single and Pierce and Marco Hernandez ’14 each had sacrifice RBI flies.

The Ephs, however, could not protect a seven-run lead as Hamilton scored nine straight runs to take a 9-7 lead into the bottom of the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, the men’s bats revived, notching one run to cut the deficit to one. In the ninth inning, Marino kept the Continentals off the scoreboard to give the Ephs a chance. Hamilton forced two quick outs before Hernandez hit a bloop single before being subbed out for pinch-runner Jackson Parese ’17, who came home on a single by Jack Roberts ’17 to tie the game. A few batters later, David Webster ’15 hustled to beat out an infield single, driving home Stevens as the Ephs won in dramatic walk-off fashion. Marino picked up the win to move his record to 3-2 on the year.

“The team showed resilience this weekend as we battled from behind on both Friday and Saturday to earn walk off wins,” Baxter said. “With such a heavy schedule, all of our players were stretched thin, but both the pitchers and hitters came up big when they needed to.”

On April 29, the men traveled to Union for a non-conference game. They struck first as a sac fly from Roberts gave them a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The lead did not last long, however, as Union scored five straight runs, taking a 5-2 lead after six innings of play.

The men came roaring back in the top of the seventh as a two-RBI single by Cloud and an RBI single by Pierce tied the game 5-5. Union picked up a couple of unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, putting pressure on the men’s bats in the top of the ninth. Williams loaded the bases and McGovern drew a walk to notch a run for the men. However, Union managed to keep the men from tying the game, holding on for a 7-6 win. Luke Rodino ’17 pitched four innings, gave up three earned runs and struck out two in a no-decision outing.

“I’m extremely proud with how we played to finish our season and know that it is a great sign for next year,” Baxter said.

The busy week of play marks the end of a promising season for the men. The Ephs will graduate Baxter, Clarke, Hernandez, Kastner and Marino.