WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Timely hitting, pitching and hitting came together for the Williams College baseball team Friday as it ran its win streak six games by sweeping a doubleheader from NESCAC foe Colby College, 6-3 and 7-5, at Chain of Lakes Park.
The Ephs (11-1) and the Mules will face each other in the third and final game of the series Saturday at 10 a.m.
In Friday's opener, senior Tom Benz had a decisive three-run home run in the third inning. In the night cap, first-year Matt Aventuro had a spotlight moment, throwing out the tying run at the plate from right field with Williams clinging to a 6-5 lead.
In the opener Friday, the Ephs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Eric Pappas and Ryan Young drew back-to-back walks to start the frame, moved up on a groundout by Erik Mini, and scored when Doug Schaffer ripped a two-run single. Colby tied the game off Eph starter John Lamont in the top of the third. A walk and an error put runners on for the Mules, and Matt Mitchell roped a two-out, two-run single. But the Ephs answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Mini walked and promptly stole second. Schaffer came through again, lining an RBI-single to score Mini and give Williams a 3-2 lead. David Driscoll singled, and Aventuro dropped a sacrifice bunt down to move the runners to second and third. After a short flyout, Benz connected for a three-run blast to left field and a 6-2 Williams lead. Lamont would pick up his first win of the season, going the first six frames and allowing only three hits and three runs, all unearned, while walking one and striking out four. Danny Lynch would come and to throw a scoreless seventh to earn his first collegiate save.
The Ephs had seven hits in the win. Schaffer was 2 for 3 with three RBI. Driscoll was also 2 for 3 in the game.
The nightcap, a nine-inning affair, was a great pitcher's duel between Colby's Patrick Carbone and the Ephs' Jack Bohen through four scoreless innings. Williams broke through with a four-spot in the top of the fifth aided by some sloppy defense. Benz walked to open the frame and Phillip Barnett singled. Pappas dropped down a sacrifice bunt and reached on an error. After an out, Mini's grounder to short resulted in another error and two runs crossing the plate. After a single by Schaffer re-loaded the bases, first year Billy Shea delivered a two-run single.
Colby got one back in its half of the fifth on an RBI-single by Mitchell, but the Ephs scored once in the sixth and seventh to take a 6-1 lead. Ryan Young had an RBI-single in the sixth and Barnett an RBI-single in the 7th. The Mules nearly tied it in their eighth, scoring four times to make it a 6-5 game. With the score 6-2 and the bases loaded and no outs, Ryan Hecht clubbed a three-run double. After Bryan Woolley struck out the next batter, Kyle Dean came on. With runners on first and second and one out, Colby's Mark Sunoo singled to right. Aventuro charged the ball and came up throwing, delivering a strike to Alex Panstares at the plate in time to nail Hecht for the second out. A groundout ending the frame.
The Ephs added an insurance run in the ninth when Panstares singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Benz's RBI-single. Dean then retired the Mules in order in the ninth, earning his second save of the season.
Williams had 15 hits in the win. Young went 4 for 6 with an RBI. Schaffer was 3 for 5. Benz was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Barnett was 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored. Bohen picked up the victory, moving to 2-0. He threw seven strong innings, giving up six hits, three runs, two earned while walking two and striking out sevem.