WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - - The Williams College Ephs (8-18, 4-7) took on the Wesleyan University Cardinals (19-11, 7-4) in a conference double header. Yesterday's away game was moved to Sunday due to inclement weather. Action began at 1:00 pm with sun and 60 degree temp.
The Cardinals came out of the gate strong to take and hold the lead for the first six innings of the first game. The Ephs battled back to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh, but Wesleyan finished the game up 7-5 to put them a game ahead moving into the second portion of the double header. In the second game the Ephs' admirable come from behind effort was unable to overcome an early deficit and the score finished 8-6 Wesleyan. Wesleyan took both games today.
Wesleyan's first at bat set the tone for the afternoon. Sophomore outfielder Alex Cappitelli got things going with a single through the left side. His teammate Andrew Kauf was walked on the following at bat. Junior Danny Rose loaded the bases shortly after with a deep single to right field and set the stage for Senior Matt Jeye's first at bat of the day. Jeye knocked another single to left field which brought Cappitelli home, put the Cardinals up 1-0, and loaded the bases again. The next three batters delivered pop ups and two ground outs, but three runners on meant Kauf was able to score Wesleyan's second run of the inning.
The Ephs remained quiet in their first two at bats, but managed to keep Wesleyan scoreless in the top of the second. The game moved into the third with Wesleyan still up 2-0.
In the top of the third Jeye managed another single through the left side, but Williams kept the runs at bay with another strong defensive effort.
In their third at bat the Ephs found their stride and delivered a series of strong perfomances. Junior catcher Alex Panstares got Williams their first base with a walk. First year Frank Stola connected on a single up the middle which gave Panstares the opportunity to get to third. On the subsequent play he stole second. Sophomore Mike Stamas was walked two batters later to fill the bases for junior Tom Benz's at bat. Benz delivered a sacrifice fly out to right field which created room for Panstares to reach home plate and cut the deficit to one. Stola and Stamas both stole bases soon after to create another promising situation, but a strike out ended the inning before it could be taken advantage of.
Wesleyan answered the run in the top of the fourth to increase their lead again. Ryan Earle got to first with a shot through the right side. He was followed quickly after by teammate Jake Alonzo's single to left field. Sophomore Kevin Walek was walked two batters later to load the bases for the Cardinals once more. Cappitelli showed up once again with a single up the middle which put the score at 3-1 and continued a dangerous position for the Ephs. A double play ended the inning on the following play with Wesleyan still up two.
Another scoreless inning for the Ephs was followed by Wesleyan returning with another strong at bat. Rose recorded his second hit of the afternoon with a double down the infield line. Jeye flied out to right field but allowed Rose to reach third. Chase Pratt grounded out to the pitcher with a bunt, but gave Rose the chance to score the Cardinal's fourth run of the game.
Williams broke out of a brief lull in the bottom of the fifth to start a series of consistent at bats. Panstares continued a strong game with a homer on his second at bat. His efforts cut the score to 4-2 Wesleyan. First year John Digravio looked to further cut the deficit when he was walked two batters later. A stolen base on a failed pickoff attempt and a passed ball meant he had reached third when Benz was eventually also walked. Unfortunately, a final pop up to the second basemen gave Williams their third out soon after.
Wesleyan returned in the top of the sixth with Alonzo's single up the middle. He advanced two bases to third on a wild pitch soon after and was brought home by Kevin Walek's single to the short stop. A ground into a double play ended the inning abruptly for the Cardinals but not before they had extended their lead to 5-2.
The Ephs continued their rallying effort moving into the bottom of the sixth. Senior Adam Dulsky doubled to left field in his first hit of the game. A fly out and ground out allowed Dulsky to reach third, but put the pressure on Williams. A final pop up to the second basemen would end the inning with only one hit, but a wild pitch during Panstares third at bat meant Dulsky found home plate. The game moved into the seventh with Wesleyan still up 5-3.
Holding the Cardinals scoreless in the top of the seventh insured a good opportunity for the Ephs to even the score. First years Erik Mini and Erik Manzella were both walked to put two men on base. Stamas delivered a key bunt to load the bases for Williams with the out count still at zero. First year Jeremy Irzyk stepped in as a pinch hitter for sophomore Charlie Carpenter. He reached on a fielder's choice which put Stamas out at second but allowed Manzella to find third and Mini to score. Senior Jack Roberts kept the ball rolling with a single up the middle which brought Manzella home. The Ephs ended the inning with the score tied at 5-5.
The Cardinals answered quickly to create a definitive lead again. Alonzo came through at a key moment with a triple to center field. Walek was walked on a four ball count and stole second quickly after. Cappitelli continued a dominant performance with a deep single to right center which brought both Alonzo and Walek home. A fly out and a pop up to the first baseman cut any further scoring short, but Wesleyan was once again up two at 7-5. They finished the inning out with a strong display of fielding and pitching to earn the win.
The second game began slower than the first but broke up open in the top of the second.
Wesleyan managed to load the bases two outs into their first at bat but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Kauf singled up the middle as the first batter. Rose followed suit with a single to left field to push Kauf to second. A walk on a hit pitch put Earl on first, Rose on second, and Kauf on third, but Williams delivered the third out to push the game into the bottom of the first.
The Ephs were less successful in their first at bat. Aside from junior Kellen Hatheway's double down the infield line no one was able to reach base.
Wesleyan started the second inning off strong to open up a significant lead. Sophomore Tanner Fulkinson connected for the first time with a single to left field. Walek's single to third base pushed Fulkinson to second. Another single to third base by catcher Nick Valicenti loaded the bases for the Cardinals and set the stage for a series of important doubles. Cappitelli carried his earlier momentum into the second game with a double to center field which brought Walek and Fulkinson home. Kauf delivered another double to left center which batted in Cappitelli and Valicenti. Rose stepped up for his first at bat and connected on a third double, in as many at bats, to allow Kauf to find home plate. A reach on fielder's choice and a double play from a line drive to the short stop followed by a throw to second gave Wesleyan a quick three outs soon after. However, their wild run of scores put them up 5-0 moving into the bottom of the second.
The five runs scored on Wesleyan's second at bat was followed by a period of relative quiet. Both the Ephs and Cardinals showed up defensively to keep the other hitless until the fourth inning.
In the top of the fourth, Rose and Jeye were walked consecutively to put two men on. Rose advanced to third on a wild pitch on the following play. Earl was thrown out at first in the next at bat, but Rose seized the opportunity to score Wesleyan's sixth run of the game.
The bottom of the fourth and the top of the fifth saw two singles for Williams and Wesleyan each, but again the score remained unchanged.
The bottom of the fifth saw a return in action starting with Williams' first run of the game. Mini doubled to center field as the first batter to create a promising start for the Ephs. Stola earned his second contact of the game with a deep single to center field which brought Mini to home plate and put Williams on the board. Stamas was walked two batters later. In a repeat of recent history both Stamas and Stola stole a base to advance to second and third respectively. A walk on Hatheway loaded the bases for the Ephs. Despite the promising scenario, the final two outs ended the inning with the score at 6-1 Wesleyan.
Wesleyan extended their lead in the top of the sixth to continue a dominant performance. Rose doubled down the left field line and Jeye singled through the right side to put men on first and third. Earl's ground out turned into a double play but allowed Rose to reach home again for the Cardinals. With two outs and the pressure on, Alonzo managed to reach first on a fielding error by the third baseman. He was pushed to second on the next at bat when Fulkerson was walked. Walek delivered once more with a single through the right side which brought Alonzo home and increased the deficit to seven.
The next period of upheaval occurred in the bottom of the seventh with another convincing rallying effort by Williams. The top of the seventh ended with the Cardinals up 8-1. By the end of the inning the deficit had been cut to two. Senior Adam Regensburg got on base first with a walk. Stamas singled up the left side to push Regensburg to second and set the stage for Hatheway's at bat. Hatheway came up big with a single to right center which brought Regensburg in for the first Eph run of the inning. With Stamas on third, Hatheway stole second a few pitches later to create another opportunity for Robert's at bat. Roberts managed to slip one by the first baseman on a fielding error which allowed Hatheway and Stamas to cut the deficit to four. Benz knocked a single up the middle two batters later to advance Roberts to second. The second out of the inning was earned on the next play with a ground out to the pitcher. However, both Roberts and Benz advanced a base in the process. Mini stepped up with two outs on the inning and a man on second and third. His single to right field brought Roberts and Benz through home plate. Despite the excitement, the rallying effort was cut short with a final strike out. The second game finished with Wesleyan ahead 8-6.
The Ephs will look to start a fresh against Wesleyan tomorrow at 2:00 pm. The rescheduled Sunday game will mark the third and final game they play against the Cardinals. With just three more games left in the regular season, Williams Baseball is committed to finishing strong.