Ephs oust Amherst 9-3 to stay alive in NESCAC Tourney; Bowdoin next at 2:30 p.m.

Matt Kastner '14
Matt Kastner '14

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Williams College built a 9-0 lead through five innings and cruised to a 9-3 win over archrival Amherst College in Game 3 of the 2012 NESCAC Baseball Championship Saturday at Wesleyan University.

Williams (17-20) advances to play Bowdoin College in another elimination game hosted by Trinity College at 2:30 p.m., while Amherst (23-10), which fell to Bowdoin 3-2 in 11 innings in its tournament opener Friday, has been eliminated and will hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship.

Williams first-year Thomas Murphy threw a complete-game three-hitter for the Ephs, walking six and strikinbg out eight. The right-hander tossed a no-hitter at the Jeffs through the first 5 2/3 innings.

Matt Kastner and Cameron Susk each went 3 for 4 for Williams. Susk had 2 RBI. Stephen Maier went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI for the Ephs.

     After setting down Amherst 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Williams plated three runs in its half of the inning. Junior Taylor Mondshein led off with a four-pitch walk, and sophomore Matt Kastner followed with a single up the middle. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and a single to left-center by senior Stephen Maier gave the Ephs a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, sophomore Marco Hernandez crushed a ball to the fence in right-center for a standup triple and a 3-0 Williams lead.

     Amherst freshman John Cook retired the first two batters in the bottom of the second, but followed with a five-pitch walk to Mondshein, who advanced to second on a ball in the dirt. Kastner smoked a triple to left-center to plate the Ephs' fourth run and end Cook's afternoon. Senior Cameron Susk drove in the Ephs' fifth run, fisting a 3-2 inside pitch from sophomore Fred Shepard into left field for an RBI single.

     Williams tacked on two more runs each in the fourth and fifth. Mondshein led off the fourth with his third walk of the day and was sacrificed to second. Susk reached on an infield single that put runners on the corners, and Maier laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home Mondshein. Pierce followed with a double down the right-field line to plate Susk and make it 7-0.

     Senior Ben Oliva led off the bottom of the fifth with a standup triple to right-center, and another suicide squeeze, this time by freshman Phil McGovern, made it 8-0. Junior K.C. Murphy was then hit by a pitch and came around to score on singles by Mondshein and Susk.

     On the mound, Murphy was cruising, as he carried a no-hitter into the sixth while facing only one batter over the minimum. Sophomore Taiki Kasuga recorded the Lord Jeffs' first hit with two outs in the sixth, as he laced a single into right-center that scored senior John Wagner, who had led off the inning with a walk and stolen second.

     Senior Mike Samela gave Amherst its final two runs of the game. Samela stroked a one-out double in the seventh, and junior Bob Cook followed with a walk. An errant pickoff throw to first by Murphy allowed Samela to hustle home. He added a one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth, turning on a high inside fastball and crushing it over the left-field fence in what may have been his final collegiate at-bat. Those two extra-base hits were the only blemishes for Murphy, who struck out eight while throwing 122 pitches (75 strikes) in a complete-game three-hitter.

     With the victory, Williams recorded its first win of the season against Amherst--and snapped a seven-game losing streak to its rival--as the Lord Jeffs had swept the three-game regular-season series. Amherst, the top seed from the West division, is now just 4-8 in its last four NESCAC Championship appearances after winning the NESCAC title in 2005; this year's tournament marked the first-ever 0-2 showing for the Lord Jeffs.