LEWISTON, Maine – The Williams College Ephs (16-19) traveled to Bates College (23-16) to play a non-conference double-header on Sunday afternoon. Bates took both games, snapping the Ephs' six-game winning streak, with 6-2 and 6-4 scores in games 1 and 2 respectively.
Bates scored six runs in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead and win in the first game (7 innings) In game 2, the Bobcats manufactured a five-run third inning for a 6-4 win, to sweep Williams.
After four innings of scoreless, defensively sound baseball, the Ephs finally scored in the top of the fifth when sophomore Marco Hernandez singled to lead off the inning. Junior K.C. Murphy bombed a 2-run homer over the left field wall to give the Ephs a 2-0 lead.
Two-time NESCAC Pitcher of the Week senior Harry Marino started game 1 for the Ephs and held Bates scoreless over four innings, adding 9 strikeouts and finally exiting the game with a 2-0 lead.
Senior Ben Oliva relieved in the fifth and was charged with the loss. Next inning the Bobcats batted four hits, and junior Jimmy Ray came in to end the sixth. Freshman Mekae Hyde singled up the middle to lead off the inning. Sophomore Ryan Curit followed suit with his own single to left, bringing up sophomore Kevin Davis who advanced both on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Jeffrey Gunn swatted a pinch-hit single through the left side to score both Hyde and Curit, tying the game at 2. Junior Ryan Sonberg followed next with a triple to deep center field scoring Gunn. Sonberg scored on a passed ball to give the Bobcats a 4-2 lead. Bates continued hitting the ball with two outs, executing three straight hits: a double to right field by sophomore Griff Tewksbury, an RBI single up the middle by senior captain Mike Ciummei, and an RBI single by junior Kevin McGregor to center field.
Bates sophomore Tom Baroni started the game going 6 1/3 innings allowing 2 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits adding 3 strikeouts and a walk to his performance.
Despite a 6-2 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh, the Ephs attempted a comeback. Sophomore Matt Kastner led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. After a strikeout, Baroni walked junior Chance Rueger, which prompted a pitching change for Bates. Fellow sophomore Brad Reynolds had his hands full after freshman Luke Pierce drew a two-out walk to load the bases. The Ephs' comeback was too little, too late as Reynolds struck out the last batter to end game 1 in favor of the Bobcats, 6-2.
Bates senior Karl Alexander started Game 2 and extended his team career wins record to 17; going 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs (three earned) for his career-best sixth win of the season and a 6-4 record. Sophomore Dean Bonneau allowed one runner to score, but otherwise held the Ephs in check; going 2 2/3 shutout innings allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out three for his first save.
Williams got on the scoreboard first again in game 2, plating three runs in the top of the second. Freshman Luke Pierce and Jimmy Ray both singled to get on base for the Ephs. K.C. Murphy drew a walk to load the bases for Chance Rueger who brought home Pierce with an RBI groundout to the pitcher. Junior Darren Hartwell slugged a triple to right center scoring both Ray and Murphy giving Williams a 3-0 lead. Hartwell led all batters in the second game going 3 for 5 with 2 RBI, a run scored, a triple, and a double.
Bates answered the third with five runs off of Williams' sophomore Steve Marino. Marino went 3 innings allowing 5 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits allowed. Marino added 3 strikeouts and 2 walks to his outing. Curit drew a one-out walk, then moved to third on a double roped to left field by Sonberg. Curit scored on a passed ball and sophomore Steve Burke smacked another double to right center, scoring Sonberg. Bates loaded the bases with a Tewksbury walk and McGregor's hit-by-pitch, bringing up Hyde, who swatted a two-out single to center, scoring Tewksbury and Burke giving Bates the 4-3 lead. Gunn dropped a single into center field to score McGregor making it a 5-3 ball game.
Freshman Thomas Murphy relieved in the fourth inning for the Ephs and went three spectacular innings allowing 1 hit, 1 run (earned) adding 2 strikeouts. Bates would score again in the fourth when Sonberg lofted a homer to left. Sonberg went 4 for 8 on the day batting the cycle and scoring 3 runs and 2 RBI.
Senior Eph Matt Berdoff threw two perfect innings and struck out three. However, sophomore Dean Bonneau tossed the final 2 2/3 innings for the Bobcats allowing no runs on 2 hits adding 3 strikeouts saving the win for Bates.
The Ephs attempted another futile comeback in the seventh inning, as Hartwell reached base with a lead off grounder muffed by the shortstop. Hartwell would end up at third via an Oliva groundout and passed ball, getting in position for junior Taylor Mondshein to bring him home with an RBI triple to right. "We played good defensively, pitched well, but just didn't put the ball into play enough today when we needed to," remarked coach Barrale after the games. The Ephs only had only 1 error on the day, and left 13 stranded.
Despite the fact that both of these schools are in the NESCAC, they are in two separate divisions within the league. Williams has already clinched a NESCAC playoff berth, as they finished second in the NESCAC West behind archrival Amherst (23-8). As for the NESCAC East, Trinity College (29-9) secured the top seed and hosts the tournament in Hartford, Connecticut and Bowdoin College (23-16) earned the second seed.
The Bobcats will finish the season with a game on Wednesday at St. Joseph's College of Maine on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
Williams will play the Bantams of Trinity College in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 3PM. The NESCAC playoffs follow a double elimination format between the four aforementioned contenders