After dropping their series against Middlebury two games to one on April 7-8, Amherst baseball rebounded in a big way with a 4-1 week that featured a three-game sweep of archrival Williams.
The team defeated Eastern Connecticut State on Thursday before claiming the series against the Ephs. No. 21 Salve Regina then halted this winning streak with a 4-1 win over the Mammoths.
With these results, the team’s record now stands at 10-10 (4-2 NESCAC).
“It was huge. It shows that we can still be top dogs in the NESCAC,” said catcher Joe Feldman ’18. “The sweep was a total team effort for all three games.”
Setting the tone for their dominant weekend, the Mammoths defeated the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors 14-7. Amherst came out strong, taking a 5-0 lead in the first inning and keeping Eastern Conn. scoreless until the third.
Building on their early momentum, the Mammoths increased their lead to 9-1 in the fourth inning and then to 13-1 in the fifth. Nick Nardone ’19 notched a two-run homer in the fourth to cap off a stellar performance, which included three runs and five RBIs.
A comeback seemed possible for the Warriors in the bottom of the seventh, as a triple from Williams Coleman sparked a six-run effort from Eastern Connecticut.
However, the Amherst staff managed to hold them at seven in order to secure the win. The defensive effort was led by starter Davis Brown ’19, who struck out three and allowed no runs in six innings.
On Friday, Amherst hosted rival Williams on Memorial Field. After the first two innings left both teams scoreless, the Mammoths finally managed to generate some offense in the third. Senior captain Yanni Thanopoulos hit a ground rule double to plate Max Steinhorn ’18 before being sent home himself by a single from Anthony Spina ’17.
After holding onto the 2-0 lead for two innings, Amherst extended its lead to five in the bottom of the fifth. Thanopoulous once again drove Steinhorn home with a sacrifice line drive, while Harry Roberson ’18 and Nardone each reached home to round off the inning for the Mammoths.
The Ephs began to gain some late momentum in the eighth, with two consecutive RBIs cutting their deficit to three. However, a spectacular sliding catch from Spina in right field allowed Amherst to regroup and hold Williams to two runs.
Sam Schneider ’18 was credited with the victory, giving up only five hits and two earned runs.
The following day, the Mammoths traveled to Bobby Coombs Field for a doubleheader against their NESCAC rivals. The Ephs took an early lead in the first matchup, but a strong offensive effort, led by a home run from Nardone, enabled Amherst to secure the 4-3 come-from-behind win.
Senior Jackson Volle pitched a complete game and allowed only six hits while also striking out five batters.
The second contest of the day saw more of the same competitive play. Between the two sides, eight runs were scored in the first inning alone.
Nardone, Chase Henley ’19, Ariel Kenney ’18 and Ryan Hardin ’18 all notched RBIs in their opening at-bats to put Amherst on top 5-0.
Williams managed to come within one of the Mammoths after a homer from Jack Cloud in the fifth inning, but six strikeouts from Wilson Taylor ’19 held the Ephs at bay. Three more Amherst runs in the ninth, including a home run from Kenney, secured the 8-5 win and the sweep.
The Mammoths are hopeful this recent success will set the tone for the rest of the season both literally and figuratively, according to Feldman.
“We had a little team American idol on the bus home Saturday. If we sweep Hamilton and Wes, Coach Hamm said he’d take the mic,” he said. “We’re hungry for the postseason and very curious to see what rendition Coach will offer.”
The Mammoths return to action on Friday, April 21, when they will travel to Hamilton for a three-game series in Clinton, NY.