CLINTON, NY -- Williams won a NESCAC West Division series today with an 8-2 win over Hamilton. Although the Ephs trailed 2-1 after three, they took a narrow lead in the fifth and put the game away with a four-run eighth. With the win, Williams moves to 13-20 (4-8 NESCAC West) on the year, while Hamilton falls to 14-21 (4-8 NESCAC West).
Starting pitchers Jonathan Lane of Hamilton and Patrick Blizzard of Williams traded scoreless first and second frames, but Williams started the scoring in the top of the third. Thomas Stephens led off the inning by reaching and advancing on a throwing error by Hamilton shortstop Zachary Becker. Stephens then got to third on a Lane wild pitch. Kelso Stevens, fresh off a game-tying hit in game two of the series, singled to score Stephens, giving Williams a 1-0 lead. The Ephs eventually got runners to second and third with one out, but were unable to push more runs across.
Hamilton responded immediately, taking the lead with a two-run third. A pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt gave the Continentals runners on second and third with one out. A Gabe Klein single and a Colin Henneberger sacrifice fly scored both runners to give Hamilton a 2-1 advantage.
The Ephs, however, would regain a one-run lead with single runs in both the fourth and fifth. In the fourth, after reaching on a fielder's choice, sophomore left fielder Luke Pierce stole second to give Williams a man in scoring position with one out. Second baseman Marco Hernandez followed with a single to right center that plated Pierce for Hernandez's 24th RBI of the season (tying him for the team lead with KC Murphy at the time).
The runs gave the Ephs the lead for good, as they would keep Hamilton off the board for the rest of the game and add five insurance runs in the late innings. Lucas Casso had a strong relief outing to keep Hamilton's offense quiet in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
Blizzard (2-1) earned the win for Williams, scattering nine hits in 6.0 innings while giving up two runs. He struck out four and walked one. Hamilton's Lane (1-2) took the loss, going 7+ innings and giving up eight runs (four earned) on 11 hits. He struck out two and walked two. Casso got his first save of the season, going 3.0 scoreless innings in relief while giving up two hits and striking out one.
Several Ephs had strong games offensively as part of Williams' 13-hit attack. Murphy went 3-5 with an RBI double, and Mondshein, Hernandez, and Stevens each added two hits and an RBI. Hartwell and Stephens scored two runs apiece. For Hamilton, Klein went 3-4 with an RBI.
After Blizzard completed the sixth inning with a lead, Williams added one run in the seventh and four in the eighth to pad their lead. In the seventh, Taylor Mondshein doubled with one out. Two batters later, Murphy doubled him in to retake the team RBI lead with 25 and extend the Eph lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the inning, Casso came in and retired Hamilton in order. Williams then added four in the top of the eighth. A Hernandez single, Stephens walk, and Stevens' reaching on an error loaded the bases for Williams with no outs. Matt Kastner then walked to bring in Hernandez, also chasing Lane from the game. Sophomore Andrew Jaffoni came on for Hamilton. He got Darren Hartwell to hit a ground ball to the second baseman, but Hamilton could only retire Kastner at second, and Stephens came in to score. Hartwell promptly stole second, and Mondshein hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Stevens and make the score 7-2. Pinch hitter Andrew Bishop then brought home Hartwell with a single to stretch the Ephs' lead to six.
After the game, Williams head coach Bill Barrale praised his team for its effort, saying, "Blizzard did a great job pitching. He only walked one guy, and then Casso did a great job coming in in relief, and we didn't commit any errors. ... It was a good, clean game."
Both teams return to action with non-conference games in the midweek. Williams will play its fifth consecutive game against Empire State competition when it hosts Union on Tuesday, April 30 at 4:00 PM. Hamilton will close out its season with a doubleheader against SUNYIT, also on Tuesday.