WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams dropped a pair of close games, 4-1 and 3-2, in a non-divison NESCAC doubleheader today against Bowdoin. With the wins, Bowdoin moved to 20-9 on the season, while Williams fell to 10-19.
In game one, Bowdoin scored one run in both the second and third innings to take an early 2-0 lead. Williams responded with one in the bottom of the third, but Bowdoin padded their lead with a run each in the sixth and seventh and went on to win.
Bowdoin started the scoring in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead. Aaron Rosen led off the inning with a line-drive single to right. With five-hole hitter Luke Regan at the plate, Bowdoin head coach Mike Connolly put on a hit-and-run play that worked to perfection, as Rosen advanced to third on a Regan single to right. Williams starter Steve Marino then induced a 5-4-3 double play, but Rosen came in the back door to score. Bowdoin got another two baserunners in the inning, but Marino was able to retire Beau Breton on a ground out to get out of the inning.
Bowdoin was forced to pull starter Christian Martin due to injury prior to the bottom of the second. In the inning, Williams got a baserunner to second, but failed to score off of reliever Drew LoRusso.
Bowdoin scored once in the top of the third, but a pair of excellent defensive plays by Williams prevented them from scoring more. John Lefeber and Duncan Taylor led off the inning with a pair of singles, giving Bowdoin runners on first and second with no outs. Three-hole hitter Tim McGarry then attempted a sacrifice bunt, but popped the ball down the third base line about 25 feet in the air. Williams catcher Phil McGovern popped quickly out of his crouch, sprinted down the line, and made an impressive diving play to come up with the ball for the first out. Rosen then singled to load the bases. Marino responded by striking out Regan for the second out. Erik Jacobsen then grounded a ball to the left side that scored the run from third, but Williams shortstop Matt Kastner made an excellent diving play to stop the ball in the infield and prevent a second run from scoring. Marino then got Sam Canales to pop out softly to second to end the threat.
Williams answered with a run in their half of the inning. Bowdoin replaced LaRusso with Dave Bernstein at the start of the inning, and Kelso Stevens greeted him by crushing a triple to left center. Beau Horan followed immediately with a hard grounder to short that scored Stevens to make the score 1-0.
The Williams offense remained quiet for most of the rest of the game, and Bowdoin added a single insurance run in both the sixth and the seventh. Williams got two baserunners on in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to score.
Bowdoin reliever Harry Ridge (4-2) got the win for the Polar Bears. Ridge went 5.0 innings, giving up no runs on two hits. He struck out three and walked one. Williams starter Steve Marino (1-4) took the loss. Marino surrendered three runs on 10 hits, while striking out three and walking two.
Offensively, Bowdoin was led by Rosen, who went 4-4 and scored two runs. Lefeber and Jacobsen added a pair of hits each. Regan, Jacobsen, and Dan Findley had Bowdoin's three RBI. For Williams, Darren Hartwell went 2-3, Kelso Steven had a triple, and Beau Horan drove in the lone run.
Defensively, in addition to McGovern and Kastner's nice plays in the third, second baseman Horan made an excellent play in the fourth, charging a soft ground ball and making an athletic flip to first to retire Bowdoin's Dan Findley.
In game two, Williams threatened an early Bowdoin lead in the late innings, but fell, 3-2. Bowdoin scored their first run in the top of the first and led 3-0 at the end of five and a half innings. Williams got two back in the sixth and threatened late, but was unable to overturn the Bowdoin lead.
Bowdoin got on the board quickly with a run in the top of the first. John Lefeber tripled to start the game, and Tim McGarry drove him in with a groundout to shortstop two batters later.
After going quietly in the first, Williams got a pair of two-out baserunners in the second, but was unable to score. With two outs, sophomore third baseman Kelso Stevens lined a ball sharply up the middle, and Thomas Stephens hit a sharp ground ball that deflected off the glove of Bowdoin starter Henry Van Zant for a single. However, the Ephs were unable to capitalize. The Ephs again stranded two runners in the third. With two outs, Luke Pierce singled, and Phil McGovern doubled him to third. Van Zant, however, was able to stab a sharp KC Murphy ground ball to end the threat.
Williams starter Patrick Blizzard, getting his first weekend start of the season, pitched well. He induced three ground ball outs in the second, then stranded a Bowdoin runner on second in the third inning. In the fourth, he struck out Aaron Rosen, becoming the first Williams pitcher to retire Rosen during the weekend. (Andrew Bishop would later get Rosen to fly out to right in his fourth at bat.)
However, the Williams offense remained quiet, and Bowdoin was able to scratch across a pair of runs in the middle innings, one each in the fifth and sixth. Nine-hole hitter Kyle Leblanc scored Sam Canales on a squeeze bunt in the fifth, and Rosen singled in McGarry in the sixth. The runs extended Bowdoin's lead to 3-0.
The Williams offense responded in the bottom of the sixth. Pierce began the inning with a towering fly to right field, but Lefeber tracked back to corral it for the first out. McGovern followed and got the Eph offense going with a hard ground ball that bounded over the third base bag for a single. Murphy then singled on a sharp line drive through the right side, moving McGovern to second. Both advanced one base on a wild pitch, and when a Van Zant fastball grazed the jersey of Marco Hernandez, the Ephs had the bases loaded with one out. Kelso Stevens, who had looked good at the plate on the day, strode to the plate and smacked a line drive back up the middle, scoring McGovern and Murphy to cut Bowdoin's lead to 3-2. Thomas Stephens then chopped a infield single to third base to load the bases again. However, a failed squeeze bunt saw Hernandez tagged out, and Van Zant got Chance Reuger to ground out to end the threat.
In the top of the seventh, senior reliever Andrew Bishop replaced Blizzard. His outing started off with an odd leadoff double by Dan Findley. Findley chopped a ground ball towards the hole on the right side. KC Murphy lunged at the ball, deflecting it off his glove and into short left center field. Second baseman Hernandez had overrun that spot in an attempt to get to the same ball, and by the time he reversed course, Findley had trotted into second with an unorthodox double. Bishop, however, battled back and prevented Bowdoin from scoring. Leblanc laid down a bunt to move Findley to third with one out, forcing Williams to draw the infield in. Leadoff hitter Lefeber came up, and Bishop quickly got ahead of him 0-2, thanks in part to an excellent 0-1 curveball. On 0-2, Lefeber lined a ball that appeared destined for right field, but Hernandez made an excellent diving play to his left to stab the ball and prevent the run from scoring. With two outs, Buddy Shea drove a ball deep to right, but Stephens made a nice running catch, and Bishop got out of the jam. Bishop would also pitch a perfect eighth. Jimmy Ray tossed a strong ninth in his second appearance of the day.
Williams got baserunners on in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, but was unable to complete the comeback.
Bowdoin starter Henry Van Zant (4-1) got the win in game two, going 6.0 and giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out four. Williams starter Patrick Blizzard (1-1) pitched well in the loss, going 6.0 innings and giving up three runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four. Bowdoin's David Zabinsky picked up his second save of the season by pitching a scoreless ninth.
McGarry, Rosen, and LeBlanc had Bowdoin's RBI in the game, and Lefeber added two hits. Rosen finished the three-game series at 8-10 with two triples, two RBI, and seven runs scored. Kelso Stevens paced Williams, going 2-4 with two RBI. Stevens had an excellent day at the plate during the doubleheader. He went 3-7 on the day with a triple, run scored, and two RBI. Three of the four outs he made were line drives hit directy at Bowdoin fielders. On Stevens' day, Williams head coach Bill Barrale said, "Kelso had a great day at the plate, and he made some nice plays at third base. I was happy for him, he showed up and played well."
Defensively, Marco Hernandez had an excellent day at second base, despite committing one error. In addition to the diving catch he made in the seventh, he made a sliding play on a grounder in the second and made another diving play and flip to shortstop Beau Horan to force out a runner later in the game. Darren Hartwell added a diving grab in center field that ended the Bowdoin sixth and gave the Ephs momentum heading into the bottom half of the inning, when they scored their two runs.
On the game as a whole, Barrale commented, "I thought our pitchers pitched well. I think we had three base on balls on the day. ... We're playing better baseball, just coming up short against a good team."
Both teams return to action with non-conference midweek games. Bowdoin returns home to face Brandeis on Wednesday, April 24 at 4:00. Williams hosts RPI, also on Wednesday at 4:00.