TUCSON, AZ. — The Williams College baseball team walked off its spring break trip Saturday, sweeping NESCAC West rival Middlebury 9-8 and 10-9 to run its win streak to eight games.
Williams is now 8-2 overall, and 3-0 in NESCAC divisional play. They head back to New England and start its East Coast slate of games Wednesday with a game at Westfield State beginning at 4 p.m. The Panthers finished their trip 3-8 overall, 0-3 in conference divisional play.
Saturday's nightcap saw the Ephs rally from an 8-6 deficit with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. With the game tied 9-9 entering the bottom of the ninth, Williams fashioned a game-winning rally.
Senior Nate Michalski got things started when he was hit by a pitch. Ephs' head coach Bill Barrale sent in Jack Overholt to run for Michalski, and Adam Dulsky followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Overholt to second. Overholt then scampered to third on a wild pitch. Michael Stamas was then hit with a pitch, putting runners on the corners with one out.
The Panthers stayed back, hoping for an inning-ending double play and they nearly got it, but Jack Cloud beat the relay throw from second to first, allowing Overholt to score the game-winner.
Williams had taken a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Stamas led off with a single and came around to score on a Kellen Hatheway RBI-single. Middlebry tied it in the top of the ninth, setting up the Ephs' game-winning rally.
The Ephs trailed 8-6 entering the bottom of the sixth but scored twice to tie the game, 8-all. Roberts singled leading off and Doug Schaffer walked. A balk advanced the runners to second and third. Jackson Parese and Adam Regensburg then tied the score with back-to-back RBI-groundouts.
Tyler Duff got the start for the Ephs and went the first five frames, allowing nine hits and seven runs, six earned, while walking one and striking out two. First year Kyle Dean relieved and went the final four innings, earning his first collegiate victory after allowing four hits and two runs, one earned, while walking one and fanning five.
Both teams had 13 hits. Roberts was 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored for the Ephs. Stamas was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Hatheway was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and Cloud was 2 for 6 with 2 RBI.
The Ephs held on to take the first game, 9-8. A six-run bottom of the fourth inning erased a 4-1 deficit for Williams. Middlebury got to 7-6 before the Ephs tacked on two in the bottom of the sixth to build a 9-6 lead, then hang on for the one-run victory.
In the Williams fourth, Roberts and Schaffer opened the rally with singles and advanced to second and third on an error on a pick-off attempt. Senior Parese then singled to center, scoring Roberts. Regensburg followed with an RBI-single to right field.
After an out, Alex Panstares singled home Parese with the game-tying run. Stamas then singled up the middle to score Regensburg for a 5-4 Williams lead. Cloud had the Ephs' seventh hit of the inning — all singles — to score another run, and Hatheway's sacrifice fly scored Stamas for a 7-4 lead.
After Middlebury cut it to 7-6 with two runs in the top of the fifth, the Eph picked up two key insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three runs. Cloud reached on an error, Hatheway singled and Roberts was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Schaffer's RBI-single made it 8-6 before a run came home when Parese's fielder's choice grounder resulted in an error.
Middlebury had a run in and runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the seventh, but reliever Tom Benz coaxed a double play grounder out of the next hitter and retired the final batter on a line drive to left to end the game.
The win went to first year Sean Hager, who twirled 5 2/3 innings and allowed six hits and six runs, only three earned, while walking just two and striking out seven. Benz earned the save, throwing the final 1 1/3 innngs and giving up one hit and two runs, one earned.
Williams had 14 hits in the victory. Schaffer was 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Regensburg and Parese were both 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored. Panstares and Hatheway were both 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.