Men’s Baseball Swept by Wesleyan, Falls to 9-3 in NESCAC Competition
Issue   |   Wed, 04/29/2015 - 00:16

The Amherst College baseball team endured a rough weekend against NESCAC rival Wesleyan. Entering the series undefeated in NESCAC play, the Jeffs dropped all three games of their series at Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday. With the sweep, Amherst falls to 18-10 overall (9-3 NESCAC), sliding to second place in the NESCAC West standings, while Wesleyan improves to 21-7 (9-0 NESCAC).

Amherst’s pitching started poorly, giving up 10 runs in Friday night’s game, but then rebounded with two brilliant performances from John Cook ’15 and Keenan Szulik ’16 on Saturday. The Jeffs’ previously explosive hitting struggled throughout the series, scoring only five runs on the weekend, with all five coming at the end of Friday night’s game.
On Friday, Wesleyan won the first game of the series in commanding fashion, securing a double-digit lead behind a gem from starter Nick Cooney. The Jeffs charged back with an offensive outburst in the eighth and ninth innings, but it was not enough, as Amherst lost 10-5.

Cooney kept the Jeff hitters on their heels all night, allowing no runs and surrendering only two hits through seven innings with eight strikeouts.

Mike Odenwaelder ’16 led Amherst with a 2 for 3 effort and a run, while Joe Feldman ’18, Travis Strickler ’16, Sam Ellinwood ’18 and Sergio Rodriguez ’17 recorded an RBI each. The top of the lineup struggled, however, and Harry Roberson ’18, Andrew Vandini ’16 and Yanni Thanopoulos ’17 struck out a combined three times and failed to get on base.

Starter Jackson Volle ’17 endured a rough outing for the Jeffs, taking the loss as he allowed seven runs (five earned) on five hits through five innings pitched.

Wesleyan took the lead with a solo home run from Sam Goodwin-Boyd in the second. The Cardinals added runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a commanding 10-0 lead by the eighth.

The Jeffs’ hitting finally enjoyed some success in the eighth and ninth, teeing off to the tune of five runs, but Amherst’s comeback attempt ultimately fell short, and the Cardinals eventually claimed a comfortable victory.

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Wesleyan emerged victorious in a pitchers’ battle when a suicide squeeze by Ben Hoynes in the fourth inning allowed the Cardinals to pull out a 1-0 victory.

For Amherst, John Cook started the game and tossed a gem, pitching the complete seven-inning game and allowing just one run on five hits with four strikeouts.

However, Cook was the tough luck loser as Wesleyan’s Gavin Pittore tossed a complete game shutout.

Roberson, Odenwaelder and Ariel Kenney ’18 recorded the hits for the Jeffs as the offense struggled for the second straight game. Amherst missed opportunities early when Jeff hitters stranded runners in scoring position in the first three innings.
Déjà vu characterized the second game, when a brilliant performance from Jeff starter Keenan Szulik went to waste, and a first inning rally featuring Davidson and Hoynes sunk Amherst.

Szulik tossed the Jeffs’ second straight complete game, lasting nine innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. However, he endured the loss as Wesleyan’s Sam Elias trumped the Amherst righty with a complete game shutout.

Brendon Hardin ’15 led Amherst with a 2 for 3 effort from the plate. Tyler Jacobs ’15 added a hit, and Odenwaelder was the only other Jeff to reach base on a hit by pitch.

Amherst responded by getting Jacobs to third in the third inning, but a critical double play that saw Jacobs tagged out at home plate ended the threat. The Jeffs, however, could never consistently hit the ball hard against Elias, and he controlled the game thereafter.

The team returns to action with a slate of non-conference games this week. First, Amherst travels to Wheaton (Mass.) on Thursday, April 30, for a game that starts at 4 p.m. They then travel to Springfield College on Saturday for a doubleheader that starts at noon. The Jeffs finish their regular season on Sunday with another doubleheader away at Colby at noon before entering playoffs.