WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Visiting Amherst swept Williams in a NESCAC West Division doubleheader today, winning 2-1 and 10-3. With the wins, Amherst moves to 15-5 (5-0
NESCAC West), while Williams falls to 9-15 (2-6 NESCAC West).
In game one, Williams took an early lead with a run in the first. Leadoff hitter Matt Kastner ripped a one-hop liner through the left side to start the inning. He moved to second on a Darren Hartwell sacrifice bunt and to third on a Taylor Mondshein groundout. He then scored on a wild pitch by Amherst starter Bob Cook.
Williams starter Thomas Murphy had an excellent outing for the Ephs. He retired nine consecutive Lord Jeffs between the first and fourth innings, and stranded Amherst baserunners on third in the fourth and fifth. Williams' offense struggled in the middle innings, collecting only one hit from the second through the sixth.
In the seventh, Amherst tied the game. Murphy was two outs away from a complete game shutout when Amherst right fielder Mike Odenwaelder crushed a home run to left field. The Ephs managed only a single baserunner in the bottom half (Marco Hernandez, who singled sharply to right), and the game went to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, a leadoff single by Brendon Hardin chased Murphy, whose impressive line on the day was 7+ IP, 1 R (1 ER), 7 H, 3 K, and 0 BB. Williams closer Jimmy Ray came on in relief and preserved the tie in dramatic fashion. After one throw over to first, Hardin stole second, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position for Amherst. However, Ray struck out the side facing the heart of Amherst's lineup to get out of the jam. Taiki Kasuga fell behind 0-2 and managed to foul off a pair of pitches. Ray then retired him with an fastball away, which was foul-tipped into the mitt of Williams catcher Phil McGovern. Three-hole hitter Eric West also fell behind 0-2 on a pair of curveballs. Ray barely missed the outside corner with a fastball, then blew a fastball by West for a swinging strikeout. Cleanup hitter Connor Gunn fared no better. Ray got a curveball over for strike one. He then missed with a curveball and got West to foul off a fastball to run the count to 1-2. Ray then sent Gunn down swinging with another heater.
Williams had its best scoring chance in the eighth. Taylor Mondhsein led off the inning with a single that dropped in front of Odenwaelder in right field. Mondshein's hit drove Amherst reliever John Cook (brother of starter Bob) from the game after 2+ innings of work. Junior sidearmer Eric Kotin entered the game. Cleanup hitter McGovern laid down a bunt, content with the sacrifice. However, as the well-placed bunt rolled to the first-base side of the pitcher's mound, Kotin slipped, and no other Amherst fielder was close enough to make a play. McGovern reached, giving the Ephs runners on first and second with no outs. David Webster laid down another well-placed bunt in front of home plate, advancing the runners to second and third on the sacrifice. Amherst pulled the infield in, and shortstop Kasuga made an excellent play on a KC Murphy grounder to hold the runner at third. With two outs, Kelso Stevens hit a nubber in front of home plate, which Amherst catcher Gunn fielded cleanly to end the threat.
Amherst went ahead in the following frame. With one out, Odenwaelder came through again for the Jeffs, singling and stealing second off of Ray. An Andrew Vandini ground ball up the middle scored Odenwaelder to put the Jeffs up 2-1. The Ephs escaped the inning on a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double-play. In the bottom of the inning, however, Kotin retired the Ephs in order to seal the Amherst win.
Kotin (2-1) was credited with the win for Amherst. He went 2.0 innings in relief, surrendering only one hit and getting out of a jam in the eighth. Ray (1-1) took the loss, despite getting out of the eighth-inning jam. He gave up one run on two hits and struck out four.
Odenwaelder and Hardin led the Lord Jeffs offensively in the first game. Odenwaelder was 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored, and Hardin went 3-4. McGovern had two of the Ephs' six hits.
Of the game, Williams head coach Bill Barrale said, "[It] was a great college baseball game. If you score one run, it's hard to win, but I thought it was well-pitched and well-played."
In game two, Amherst took a 5-0 lead in the first and went on to win 10-3, in a game that was shortened two seven innings after the first had gone into extra frames.
Four of Amherst's five runs were not charged to Williams starter Steve Marino, due to a pair of Williams' errors. Hardin, Kasuga, West, Gunn, and Odenwaelder all scored for Amherst in the inning. Amherst extended its lead to 8-0 with three runs in the fourth.
Williams responded with three in the fifth. Marco Hernandez began the inning by singling sharply up the middle. Matt Kastner then looped a ball down the left field line. With excellent baserunning, Hernandez advanced to third on the play, and Kastner sprinted into second for a double. Two batters later, Taylor Mondshein drove both in with a one-out, two-run double that was crushed over the head of the left fielder. After a McGovern infield single moved Mondshein to third, Luke Pierce got his first hit since returning from a hamstring injury (a line drive to right) to drive in Mondshein. A Kelso Stevens bunt single loaded the bases, but Amherst starter Fred Shepard induced a David Webster groundout to end the threat.
Starter Fred Shepard (2-1) earned the win for Amherst, going 5.0 innings, giving up three runs, and scattering 11 hits. He struck out five and walked none. Williams starter Steve Marino (1-3) took the loss, giving up eight runs (four earned) in 4.0 innings of work. Eddie Kelly had a solid outing in relief of Marino, going 2.1 innings. He gave up two runs, but struck out two Amherst hitters, including Odenwaelder.
In the game, Odenwaelder drive in another run and scored two. Taiki Kasuga and Nolan Stewart each had a pair of hits for the Lord Jeffs. For Williams, McGovern, Matt Kastner, and KC Murphy each had two hits.
Commenting on the second game, Barrale said, "In the first inning, I think we gave them some extra outs. [It was] hard to rebound after that. Again, we didn't score until late, so we've got to do a better job at the plate."
The Lord Jeffs go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Amherst's Memorial Field.