MIDDLETOWN, CT—The Wesleyan University Cardinals (13-4, 4-0) ended an 8-game winning streak for the Williams College Ephs (8-4, 3-2) with a devastating sweep of a doubleheader, winning both games with incredible comebacks, 5-4 and 9-8.
In the first game, Williams led 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, but pitching missteps cost them their lead. After notching his fifth strikeout of the game, Eph starter Luke Rodino hit Ellis Schaefer, who then advanced to second on pinch-hitter Jonny Corning's single to right field. Rodino was swapped out for Jack Bohen, but the reliever struggled with control.
Two wild pitches from Bohen, one in the dirt and one over the catcher's head, allowed Schaefer and pinch-runner Dylan Millhouse to score. With Will O'Sullivan on second base, Ryan Earle hit a hard ground ball to first base. Nate Michalski had to dive to knock it down and didn't have time to get Earle at first, while O'Sullivan rounded third hard. Michalski's throw to the plate looked to be in time, but O'Sullivan slid headfirst just under the tag from Williams catcher Michael Stamas, clinching the 5-4 win for Wesleyan.
Bohen was charged with the loss, his first of the year, and Wesleyan reliever Asher Young evened his season record to 1-1 with the win. Rodino left the game after six and a third innings having allowed seven hits and one walk, while Wesleyan starter Mike McCaffrey pitched five and two-thirds, with five hits, three walks, and 6 strikeouts.
Wesleyan struck first when Nick Micelli scored with two outs in the second inning on a throwing error by Jack Roberts. After a quiet third, Williams answered by putting up three runs in the top of the fourth. Kellen Hatheway started things off with a single past the second baseman, and a steal put him scoring position. Jack Roberts advanced Hatheway by beating out a bunt, and Doug Schaffer batted him in with an infield single to second. Roberts scored from third on an Adam Regensburg ground-out, while Nate Michalski slapped an RBI to bring Schaffer home single before McCaffrey finally closed out the inning with a strikeout of Alex Pantares.
Both teams then added a run in the sixth to set up the Cardinals' three-run seventh inning for the win. Adam Regensburg's 2 RBIs led the game, while O'Sullivan's double was the only multi-base hit of the contest. Jackson Parese went 2-2 on the day for Williams, not including a well-executed sacrifice bunt that set up two of the Ephs' fourth inning runs, while Matt Jeye went 2-3 with an RBI for the Cardinals.
The nightcap was a plodding affair for the first seven innings. Wesleyan took a one-run lead in the fourth when Eph starter Sam Hager walked Jonny Corning on four pitches with the bases loaded. After ending the inning without further damage, the Ephs answered right back. Jack Cloud hit an RBI single to left to score Nate Michalski, evening the score at one apiece.
Williams seemed, to all appearances, to sew up a victory with a ten-batter, five-run eighth inning. Starting at the top of the order, Jack Cloud started things off with a leadoff single. Kellen Hatheway ripped a triple to deep center to knock Cloud home, and a single by Jack Roberts then brought Hatheway home. A couple batters later, Nate Michalski smacked a single to score Adam Dulsky from second, followed by an RBI sacrifice bunt by Jackson Parese.
Tyler Duff, pitching in relief for Williams, retired the next three Cardinal batters, and Jack Roberts added an insurance home run in the top of the ninth to extend the Williams lead to six. Wesleyan, however, was not done. Perhaps drawing inspiration from their comeback win earlier in the day, the Cardinals forced the game into extras with a six-run ninth inning. Singles by Jesse Levy-Rubinett and Will O'Sullivan plus a walk by Ryan Earle loaded the bases for Matt Jeye, who notched two RBIs with a single to left. another walk loaded the bases again for Earle to score on a wild pitch by Tom Benz. A single by Danny Rose knocked home two more to bring the Cardinals within one. Another single by Levy-Rubinett, who had originally led off the inning, knocked home the Cardinals' seventh and tying run in Rose, who had advanced to second on the play at the plate. Only when Marcus Colella replaced Benz could the Ephs end the inning.
Williams appeared poised to frustrate the Cardinals' comeback bid, steadily loading the bases until Jackson Parese scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Earle, who took the mound for the second time in the game, barely escaped from the inning, having given up just the one run.
With the light fading on a 8-8 game that lasted well over three and a half hours, Will O'Sullivan laid down a perfect bunt for a hit. Ryan Earle laid down a bunt of his own, this time a sacrifice for O'Sullivan, setting him up to tie the game again on a Matt Jeye single. After a fly out by Chase Pratt, Colin Andre singled to left field to put the winning run in scoring position. Jammed in against his hands, Ellis Schaefer dribbled a grounder up the third base line, but the throw to first from Colella was wide, allowing Jeye to score easily from second and capping a tremendous comeback by Wesleyan.
After the games, Williams coach Bill Baralle said it boiled down to execution. "We played great baseball, but we just couldn't finish. We could have easily won both of those games, but we came up short--that's why you play them."
Colella was charged with the loss, his first of the year. Jack Roberts led the way for Williams with a 3-5 performance including his first homer of the year, 2 RBIs, and two runs scored.
For Wesleyan, Will O'Sullivan built on his game-winning run in the first game with a 4-5 performance in the second game, including two runs scored. Matt Jeye went 2-5 and, in addition to scoring the game-winning run, led the second game with 3 RBIs.
Coach Baralle also emphasized that "it isn't the end of the world." "We lsot two close games, but there are seven mroe league games to play. Today it didn't happen, but there's a lot of baseball left."
The two teams will conclude their series at 1:00 on Sunday in Williamstown.