WILLIAMSTOWN, M.A. -- The Ephs (16-17, NESCAC West 7-5) returned to play this afternoon in a NESCAC West showdown with the Hamilton College Continentals (6-26, NESCAC West 2-10) looking to sweep Hamilton after two big wins yesterday to clinch one of four NESCAC championship playoff spots. They got their sixth straight win by a score of 6-4, on windy afternoon on Bobby Coombs Field in Williamstown. "Yesterday's emotional games took a lot out of us, and I think we came out a little flat. However, it's always good to get the win," head coach Bill Barrale stated after the game.
Sophomore Steve Marino started on the mound today for the Ephs going 5 innings giving up 4 runs, only 1 earned, on 9 hits. Marino contributed two strikeouts and a walk as well. Senior Dan Grossman relieved in the sixth and went three innings allowing two hits and no runs for the Continentals. Grossman tossed three clutch strikeouts and added a walk to a great relief effort while earning the win. Junior Lucas Casso got the first two outs of the ninth, but fellow junior Jimmy Ray came in an threw a strikeout to get the final out and save.
The Ephs got off to a quick start as they added two runs in the bottom of the first. Junior Darren Hartwell led off the inning with a hard-hit single up the middle. Senior Ben Oliva got on base next, executing a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Oliva reached base on an error by the third baseman and beat the throw to first. Hartwell would score on the next at-bat, due to a passed ball, and Oliva would advance to second. Oliva tagged up to get to third on junior Taylor Monshein's fly out to right field. Sophomore Marco Hernandez then brought him home, with an RBI groundout to the second baseman.
Freshman pitcher JJay Lane threw first for Hamilton going 7 2/3 innings allowing 6 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits with 3 walks. Fellow freshman Andrew Hove threw the last out of the eighth inning, in relief. Lane was charged with the loss.
The Continentals tallied three runs in the top of the third. Junior Gabe Klein led off with a single and junior Lukas Bridenbeck walked. Senior Sam Choate was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for classmate John Wulf. Wulf smacked a 2 RBI grounder down the third base line and reached on an error. Choate and Wulf executed a double steal to get into scoring position for the Continentals. Freshman Thomas Merriman hit a single into right field making the score 3-2 in favor of Hamilton College.
The Ephs responded in the bottom of the third when Mondshein slugged a sacrifice fly to bring home Hartwell, who reached base earlier on an error, tying the ball game at 3 runs.
Junior Sam Fuentes singled in the top of the fourth and made it to second base on Klein's groundout to the first baseman. Bridenbeck singled up the middle to bring Fuentes home giving their team a 4-3 lead. Bridenebck, Klein, Fuentes, Merriman, and freshman Tyler Reinhold all led Hamilton with 2 hits apiece.
Neither team managed any runs until the bottom of the eighth when Mondshein reached base with an infield single. Senior Cameron Susk batted him to second on a groundout, then Mondshein stole third base on a wild pitch. Hernandez brought him home on a sacrifice fly to center field tying the game 4-4. Freshman Phil McGovern got on base with a single up the middle and Jimmy Ray reached as well with a single of his own down the right field line. In the next at-bat, junior first baseman K.C. Murphy found himself with an early 0-2, but he worked it all the way to a full 3-2 count and finally saw the pitch he needed as he drove a clutch 2 RBI double to the left center field gap to give the Ephs a 6-4 win.
The Ephs travel to Maine next weekend, as they play Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Bates before playing against Trinity College (26-9, NESCAC East 10-2) in Hartford, Connecticut to play in the NESCAC tournament on Friday, May 11, 2012.