Baseball sweeps Hamilton, opens spring season with 3 wins

Jack McGovern, Sports Information

Baseball started spring competition with three straight wins against Hamilton last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information.)

In its first competition since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball (3-0, 3-0 in the NESCAC) took an away win over Hamilton on Saturday. The Ephs won their first game by a score of 10-4 and their second by a score of 5-2.

The Ephs started strong in Game 1. When the Continentals made a catching error, the Ephs promptly seized the chance: Eric Pappas ’22, leadoff hitter and shortstop, scored easily, and Jakob Cohn ’23 beat the throw to the plate with a diving slide past the catcher to give the Ephs a 2-0 lead in the opening frame.

Pappas and Cohn combined again to score in the third inning, which ended in a 3-1 lead for the Ephs. But it was at the top of the fifth inning when the College secured its win: third baseman Jeremy Irzyk ’21 began by singling down the left field line to bring in Cohn, who had started the rally with a double. Later, with the bases loaded, catcher Cole Whitehouse ’23 struck an opposite field shot, allowing all three runners to reach home and taking the Ephs to a 7-1 lead.

The rest of the game would see the team score three more insurance runs, and the College took the first game with a margin of 10-4. 

“It was just great to compete again after everything we’ve been through,” head coach of baseball Bill Barrale said. “We hit the ball well. We’re shorthanded, obviously. We have 19 guys, [but] it was a good day.” 

In the second away game on Saturday, pitcher Nick Skiera ’24 shone as he threw a complete game in his college debut. He struck out six batters in seven innings of work and gave up only one hit after the fourth inning, ending the game with six flyouts and seven groundouts.

At the plate, left fielder Erik Mini ’21 started the scoring for the Ephs in the first inning, hitting a single to left field and driving home Pappas, who had led off the game with a walk. A throwing error from the Continentals two batters later brought the Ephs two additional runs, and the score stood at 3-1 after two innings. 

Irzyk added to the lead in the third inning, hitting a triple deep to the right-center field gap and scoring on the next play, giving the Ephs a 5-1 lead. Despite a scoring run in the third inning from the Continentals, the Ephs defended well and held the scoreline at 5-2 for the rest of the game.

“Nick Skiera throw[ing] a complete game in his first start … was awesome,” Barrale said. “It was just nice to get outside and play. It was a good start.”

On Sunday, the Ephs continued their series against the Continentals at home. In the first game at Bobby Coombs Field in almost two years, baseball defeated Hamilton 11-10, continuing the team’s winning streak over its NESCAC rivals. 

The scoring started early for both teams. Hamilton scored at the top of the first inning, but the Ephs responded immediately with a triple: Left fielder Mini drove the ball deep to center field and later crossed the plate on a groundout to bring the score to 4-1 after the first inning. 

The second inning saw Hamilton narrowing its deficit and bringing the score up to 4-3, but the College responded in the third inning, with Mini hitting the first of two home runs. One inning later, he hit a second, extending the lead for the Ephs to 10-4. 

Pappas went on to score a single run in the fifth. Scoring six more runs in the last five innings, Hamilton fought for a comeback, but relief pitching and outfield defense ultimately secured the game for the Ephs, holding the final score at 11-10.

The Ephs will play Middlebury at home next Saturday and host Amherst next Sunday.