WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Baseball team took on Union College in a home game down at Cole Field. Coming off a dominant 11-0 win over Southern Vermont College yesterday, the Ephs are looking to keep the ball rolling through today and into this weekend.
With a 17-7 overall record and a 3-3 conference record, the Ephs are moving through one of their best seasons in recent memory. While today's play is out of conference, the team is looking ahead to the three conference games against Hamilton coming up this weekend. A Wesleyan series rescheduled due to inclement weather last weekend, means the Ephs have not played a conference games in almost two weeks. They looked to find success today to build confidence moving into the string of conference games.
The Union College Dutchman have not fared as well this season. Their overall record is slightly above 0.500 at 14-13, however their conference record puts them in a better position at 10-6. The Dutchman are coming off a string of three losses to Vassar College and Plattsburgh State.
Union began at bat and got on the scoreboard early to set the tone. Junior J.R. Lopez got on base first when he was walked as the second batter. Fellow Junior Sean Cullen brought his teammate across home plate and rounded all the bases with a home run as the next batter. Two quick outs followed to make it a quick, but efficient, at bat for the Dutchmen. Moving into the bottom of the 1st, Union was up 2-0.
The Ephs closed the deficit in their first at bat. Sophomore Eric Pappas delivered his customary single as the first batter. He stole second during senior Tom Benz's at bat, who ultimately connected with a fly out. Senior Kellen Hatheway connected next with a single to left field which was bobbled by the outfielder. The error gave Hatheway and Pappas time to advance a base. Sophomore Erik Mini struck out to put the out count at two and turn the pressure up on senior Doug Schaffer's turn at the plate. Schaffer managed to make contact which was also improperly handled and allowed him time to reach first, Hatheway time to reach third, and Pappas time to score the first Eph run. A final strike out moved the game into the 2nd with the score at 2-1.
In the top of the 2nd, Union returned to advance their lead. Senior Joe Ganim connected on a fast ball which snuck under the third baseman's mitt and allowed him time to reach first. He stole second on fellow senior Anthony Amorso's at bat which ended in a bunt which put Amorso out at first. The bunt allowed Ganim to reach third and put him in a good position for sophomore Chris Symington's turn at the plate. Symington connected with a bouncing ball fielded by the shortstop. The throw was misjudged which allowed Symington first base and Ganim the third Union run of the game. Symington went on to steal second, but the at bat ended soon after. Moving into the bottom of the 2nd, the Dutchmen were once again up two at 3-1.
The Ephs were kept scoreless in the 2nd and both teams remained silent for the following two innings. Williams managed contact in the bottom of the 3rd when Benz singled to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Unfortunately, the effort was cut short on the next two batters.
In the 5th, Williams maintained a trend from the 3rd and 4th by keeping the Dutchmen to three batters. However, the Ephs returned to the scoreboard to tie the game. First year Matt Aventuro singled to left center as the second batter. Pappas returned to the plate and knocked a bomb of a triple out to left center. His efforts brought Aventuro home and put him in scoring position for Benz's return to the plate. Benz delivered the third consecutive contact with a sacrifice fly out which gave the Ephs their second out of the inning but allowed Pappas to score the tying run. Hatheway kept the streak alive with a double on the next play. He was left on second when a final foul out ended the inning. The game entered the 6th still locked at 3-3.
The Dutchmen managed two men on base in the top of the 6th when Cullen doubled down the left field line and a teammate was walked. The potential was not realized when a double play moved the game to the Ephs next at bat.
Williams jumped into the lead in the bottom of the 6th. Schaffer began things on a strong note with a triple to right center. Junior Mike Stamas brought him home with a sacrifice pop up which handed the Ephs their first out but gave them their first lead of the game. A strike out on the next batter gave the impression it would be a quick inning. Senior Alex Panstares kept hopes alive when he was walked on a four-ball pitch count. Aventuro was hit next to push Panstares to second. Pappas came back up to bat with two men on and delivered another key hit with a single to right field. His effort brought Panstares across home and pushed Aventuro to third. A final strike out ended the run there but put the Ephs up 5-3.
Union was kept scoreless in the 7th again. A walk of Amorso was the only opportunity for the Dutchmen to reach base. Williams on the other hand added to their lead in the bottom of the 7th. Hatheway connected again as the first batter with a double. Mini was walked next, and both advanced a base on a wild pitch. Schaffer was also walked which loaded the bases for the Ephs. Stamas kept his trend going with another sacrifice fly out which allowed all runners to advance a base and made the score 6-3. Schaffer was caught stealing at second to give the Ephs two outs on the inning. However, sophomore Philip Barnett kept the ball rolling with a single through the left-hand side which gave Mini time to score. Barnett further advanced to second with a stolen base. The campaign was cut short but put the Ephs up four at 7-3 heading into the final two innings of the game.
In the top of the 8th, Union closed the lead but were unable to overcome the deficit. Sophomore Chris O'Brien stepped in as the pinch hitter for sophomore catcher Matt Toy. He knocked a double into center field and advanced to third on the subsequent batter's ground out. Lopez delivered a single at a key moment to bring O'Brien in for the final run of the game. Neither team was able to advance past second base for the remaining inning. The Ephs took the game with a definitive 7-4 score which puts them on a two-win streak heading into the weekend.
With today's game complete the Ephs have another quick turnaround. Friday, Williams Baseball will be traveling to Clinton, New York to take on Hamilton College in a three-game series. The distance between the two NESCACs means all three games will be away. The first game will occur on Friday the 26th at 4:00 pm while the double header will occur on Saturday the 27th starting at 12:00 pm. The Ephs are looking to improve their conference record to reflect the success of their overall record.