Ephs Lose Nailbiter to RPI, 4-3

RENSSELAER, NY—The Williams College Ephs (15-9) lost a close game to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers (16-16), falling victim to a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Ephs' three errors in the field were a big factor, contributing to three of the Engineers' four runs, including the game-winner.

With the game tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the tenth, RPI first baseman Sam Lawrence led off with a single and advanced to third base on an errant throw from Williams pitcher Tyler Duff. The next batter, Ethann Meister, singled to left, scoring Lawrence and ending the game in  a 4-3 RPI victory.

"We had five hits and three errors, and I told the team it's hard to win a one-run game in that kind of situation," Williams Head Coach Bill Baralle said after the game. "But we've just got to keep practicing those situations, and that's what we're going to do: just keep working on it."

The first several innings were quick and uneventful. Williams loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first, but RPI starter Brendan McNerney was able to strike out Doug Schaffer to escape the inning. Neither team recorded a hit for the next several innings; Eph first-year Charlie Carpenter held a no-hitter through five innings.

"Charlie was very impressive for us. He had all three pitches working for him and really kept them off balance," Coach Baralle said of his starter, the third first-year in four games to register impressive starts for the Ephs.

Things heated up in the fifth inning with a homerun by Jack Cloud. Michael Stamas was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Cloud took RPI pitcher Nick Pacifico's first pitch over the right field fence for his second homer of the year. The Engineers answered in the bottom of the inning, however, though without registering a hit. Carpenter walked Ethann Meister, and a throwing error by Williams third baseman Doug Schaffer allowed Meister to advance to third.  Thomas Desmond lofted a fly ball into centerfield, and Meister scored on the sacrifice.

Both teams added a run in the sixth inning as well. Adam Dulsky led off for the Ephs with a single, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Doug Schaffer, and scored on an RBI double to center by Nate Michalski. In the bottom of the frame, Weston Hawkins broke up Carpenter's no-hitter with a lead-off single that landed him on second base after another errant throw, this time by Kellen Hatheway at shortstop. Hawkins tagged up on a fly-out to right field, scoring on a single by the next batter, Jason Ramos, and thus narrowing the margin back to one run.

Michalski would be the last baserunner in the game for Williams; the Engineer bullpen orchestrated four consecutive 1-2-3 innings starting in the seventh. Meanwhile, Sam Lawrence crushed a solo homerun with two outs in the eighth inning to even the score at three runs apiece. RPI then looked to sew up the game in the bottom of the ninth. With a runner on second with two outs, Weston Hawkins singled to right field hoping to score the game-winning run. Jack Cloud was not having it, however, throwing out the runner at home to save Williams from the walk-off and end the inning. Cloud's throw only delayed the eventual result, as RPI walked off in the next inning with Meister's RBI single.

Tyler Duff (2-1), who entered the game in the eighth inning, was the losing pitcher, while Adam Aponte (3-1), RPI's hurler in the final two innings, was credited with the win.

Jack Cloud was the standout offensive performer for the Ephs, accounting for two of their three runs with his fifth-inning home run, in addition to hitting a double in the first inning. Sam Lawrence led the way for RPI, going 2-5, tying the game up with his homer in the eighth, and scoring the game-winning run in the tenth. Ethann Meister, whose tenth-inning single ended the game for the Engineers, went 2-4 on the day and also scored a run.

Williams will travel to Clinton, NY, this weekend to face Hamilton in their final conference series of the year, while RPI next plays on Saturday against the University of Rochester.

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