Ephs Win Wild Second Game to Split Doubleheader with Hamilton

Matt Kastner 14
Matt Kastner 14

CLINTON, NY -- Williams and Hamilton split a NESCAC West Division doubleheader today at Hamilton's Royce Field.  After the Ephs lost an uneventful first game, 2-0, they won a wild extra-inning affair in game two, 9-8 in 12 innings.  The two teams combined to use 27 position players and 11 pitchers in the game, which also saw four lead changes and a combined 31 hits, 10 errors, and 28 men left on base.  With the split, Williams moves to 12-20 (3-8 NESCAC West) on the season, while Hamilton moves to 14-20 (4-7 NESCAC West).

In game one, starting pitchers Thomas Murphy (Williams) and Alex Pachella (Hamilton) both pitched well, but a two-run fifth for the Continentals was enough to get the win.

The game's first hit did not come until Taylor Mondshein singled in the top of the fourth.  Hamilton stranded a man in scoring position in their half of the fourth, and Williams left Marco Hernandez on second in the top of the fifth.

Hamilton broke through for the game's only runs in the bottom of the fifth.  Zachary Becker reached on an error to begin the inning, and Jared Friedberg reached on a bunt single to give Hamilton runners on first and second.  Lukas Bridenbeck then singled in Becker to give Hamilton a one-run lead.  Nick Taylor sacrificed Bridenbeck and Becker to second and third.  On a Stephen LaRochelle single, Becker scored easily, but Williams right fielder Patrick Blizzard threw out Bridenbeck at the plate to end the inning and keep the game at 2-0.

The Ephs put three baserunners on in the sixth, but a caught stealing and a groundout left them with nothing.  Murphy got into a jam in the Hamilton sixth, but Williams closer Jimmy Ray came on to get the final out of the inning.  In the seventh, Pachella sent the Ephs down in order to preserve his shutout and give Hamilton the win.

Pachella (2-2) earned the win, going 7.0 innings and giving up no runs on three hits, while striking out six.  Williams head coach Bill Barrale gave credit to Pachella, saying, "In that first game, [he] did a good job of keeping us off balance."  Murphy (0-4) pitched well in the loss for Williams, going 5.2 innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits.  He walked one and struck out two.

Offensively, no player on either team collected more than one hit in the game, though Mondshein and KC Murphy did reach base multiple times for the Ephs.

In contrast to the relatively uneventful first game, the second game of the doubleheader was a back-and-forth battle in which Williams committed seven errors, relinquished a four-run lead, and still managed to win.  After Hamilton scored one in the first, Williams scored five unanswered runs and eventually held a 6-2 lead after six and a half.  Hamilton fought back, scoring five in the seventh and one in the eighth to take an 8-6 lead into the ninth inning.  Williams, however, tied the game on a Kelso Stevens RBI single in the ninth and won it in the twelfth, thanks to clutch hitting by Matt Kastner and a stellar performance at the plate and on the mound from Jimmy Ray.

After Williams went in order in the top of the first, Hamilton started the scoring in the bottom half.  Leadoff hitter Joe Jensen reached on an error to lead off the inning.  Gabe Klein then doubled down the left field line, advancing Jensen to third and giving the Continentals two runners in scoring position with no outs.  Williams starter Steve Marino, however, was able to get out of the inning with only one run scored.  After Zachary Becker scored Jensen on an RBI groundout, Marino got a pair of flyouts to right fielder David Webster to hold Hamilton's lead at 1-0.

Marino and his counterpart Cole Dreyfuss traded scoreless second innings, but Williams took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third.  With one out, back-to-back singles by Chance Rueger and Jimmy Ray gave the Ephs runners on first and second.  On a Darren Hartwell grounder to the shortstop, Ray was retired at second, but Hartwell beat out the double-play throw to keep the inning alive.  Two-hole hitter David Webster then reached on an error charged to Hamilton second baseman Nick Taylor, and Rueger came home to tie the game, 1-1.  Taylor Mondshein then singled in Hartwell to put the Ephs ahead by one.

Williams extended its lead with a three-run fifth.  Ray led off with his second hit of the game, a single down the left field line.  Hartwell followed by laying down a bunt single to third base.  Webster laid down another bunt, but Hamilton catcher Lukas Bridenbeck's throw to first was wild, and Ray came around to score Williams' third run.  Hartwell advanced to third on the play, leaving the Ephs with runners on first and third with no outs.  Mondshein lined out to third for the first out.  Then, Webster was put in motion with two strikes on Andrew Bishop.  Bishop struck out looking, but Webster reached second, and Hartwell stole home on the throw down to second to give Williams a 4-1 lead.  Thomas Stephens followed with a single that scored Webster and chased Dreyfuss from the game.  Reliever Tommy Moriarty got out of the inning, but the Ephs had built a 5-1 lead.

Hamilton got a run back in the sixth on a Bridenbeck RBI single, but Williams responded with a run in the top of the seventh to make the game 6-2.  Webster led off the inning by shooting a ball down the right field line for an opposite field single.  He promptly stole second, and senior first baseman Andrew Bishop hit a double down the left field line to score him.

In the home half of the seventh, Hamilton erased the deficit and took a 7-6 lead.  Taylor singled to begin the inning, and a fielding error gave Hamilton runners on first and second.  Bishop replaced Marino on the mound.  He initially managed to get two outs while surrendering just a run, but two-out RBI hits from Sam Fuentes and Bridenbeck helped Hamilton to a five-run inning.  Hamilton extended its lead to 8-6 with a Becker RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Williams, despite having let a four-run lead turn into a two-run deficit in the space of two innings, battled back to tie the game with two runs in the ninth.  KC Murphy, who had entered the game in the seventh, pulled a ball through the left side for a leadoff single.  Patrick Blizzard pinch hit in the pitcher's spot and was hit by a pitch.  Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, giving the Ephs runners on second and third with no outs.  Stephens grounded a ball to second that scored Murphy to bring the Ephs within one.  After pinch hitter Marco Hernandez struck out swinging for the second out, Kelso Stevens came through with a clutch RBI single to score Blizzard and tie the game, 8-8.

Sophomore righthander Jacob Slater came on to pitch the ninth.  Although Hamilton got a pair of singles in the inning, Slater worked around them to prevent the Continentals from scoring and to send the game into extra innings.

Williams nearly broke the deadlock in the tenth, but was unable to push a run across.  Ray led off by reaching on an error, and after Hartwell popped out, Webster singled to give the Ephs runners on first and second with one out.  Hamilton reliever Ryan Crawford struck out Murphy for the second out, but pinch hitter Matt Kastner came through with a single through the right side.  Right fielder Fuentes, however, gathered the ball and came up firing to gun down Ray at the plate for the third out.

Slater had been pitch hit for in the the top of the tenth, so Williams' closer, Ray, came in from third base for the bottom of the tenth.  He sent Hamilton down in order on a fly out and two strike outs.  After a quiet Williams eleventh, he worked around two errors in the bottom of the inning to preserve the tie.

Williams broke through with a run in the top of the twelfth.  Joe Wagner relieved Crawford, who had worked 3.1 innings.  Ray led off the inning by drawing a walk- the fifth time he got on base in the game and the third time he did so to lead off an inning.  Hartwell laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Ray to second.  Webster was then hit by a pitch.  With one out and men on first and second, Murphy hit a grounder to the shortstop.  Hamilton managed to retire Webster at second, but Murphy reached first safely to keep the inning alive.  Just as in the tenth, Kastner strode to the plate in a clutch situation and delivered, knocking a single to left that scored Ray easily to give Williams a 9-8 lead.

In the bottom of the twelfth, Ray came back out for his third inning of work and escaped a jam to give Williams the win.  Ray, making his sixth appearance in Williams' past seven games and his second of the doubleheader, got two swinging strikeouts (his fourth and fifth of the game) to begin the inning.  With two outs, however, the heart of Hamilton's order put together a rally.  Two-hole hitter Klein reached on an infield single, and a single by pinch hitter Tim Burke put Klein, the winning run, on third.  Ray faced cleanup hitter Colin Henneberger, who had doubled and scored in the sixth.  During the at bat, one of Ray's pitches skipped away from catcher Phil McGovern, but McGovern managed to corral it quickly enough to ensure that only Burke, and not Klein, was able to advance.  In a tense atmosphere, Ray got Henneberger to hit a grounder to second, which Hernandez fielded cleanly and threw onto first to complete the come-from-behind victory.

Ray (2-1) got the win for the Ephs, going 3.0 innings in relief, allowing no runs on two hits, and striking out five.  Ray entered the game averaging well over a strikeout per inning, and that statistic improved with the outing.  Wagner (0-2) took the loss after giving up a run on one hit and one walk in his inning pitched.  Marino finished the day with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, four runs (one earned), no walks, and no strikeouts.

Ray was outstanding for Williams offensively, as well, reaching base five times in seven plate appearances and scoring the go-ahead run in extra innings.  Kastner came off the bench to get a pair of clutch extra-inning hits, one of which scored Ray for the go-ahead run.  Of Ray's and Kastner's contributions, Barrale said, "Jimmy Ray did an outstanding job all day.  In that second game, at the plate he was big, then he came in and pitched a couple innings for us. ...  Matt Kastner comes off the bench.  I thought he was still injured and that he couldn't play, but he said he could play.  He got a hit in one inning [the tenth], then he gets the RBI and clutch hit to score Jimmy Ray [in the twelfth]."  Barrale also praised Kelso Stevens, who went 4-6 at the plate for the Ephs and singled to tie the game in the top of the ninth.

Barrale also echoed what were undoubtedly the postgame thoughts of his team, saying, "It was nice to get out of there with a win."

The two teams complete their three-game series with a single game at Royce Field tomorrow at noon.