Baseball Sweeps Hamilton, Remains Undefeated in NESCAC Play
Issue   |   Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:17

The Amherst College baseball team maintained its perfect record in the NESCAC, sweeping Middlebury in a three-game series this weekend in addition to wins over non-conference opponents Framingham State and Castleton. The Jeffs have now won 12 of their last 13 games and their overall record stands at 18-7 (9-0 NESCAC).

For the second time in three weeks, Andrew Vandini ’16 was named NESCAC player of the week. Vandini batted 11 for 26 (.423) on the week, recording two four-RBI games and slugging two home runs. The junior also drove in two game-winning runs against Hamilton, hitting an RBI single in game one to take the lead and a bases-clearing, three-RBI double the following day to win.

“Andrew has really stepped up his game this year, and the offense has filled in nicely around him,” pitcher Riley Streit ’16 said. “Even when our offense has stumbled a bit, our pitching has responded with some key outings. It’s this back and forth between our offense and pitching, picking each other up when we need it that’s led to our success.”

Amherst started their weekend slate of games against Framingham State last Thursday, April 16, winning 18-9. Highlighting a game in which the Jeffs went 19 for 44 (.432) from the plate were Andrew Vandini ’16 and Yanni Thanopoulos ’17. Vandini batted 4 for 5 with four RBIs and five runs, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning, while Thanopoulos went 5 for 6 with six RBIs and three runs.

John Cook ’15 started the game for the Jeffs, giving up eight runs on 14 hits in 5.1 innings to claim the win.

Mark Mainini led Framington State, going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and three runs while coming a triple short of the cycle. Ivan Colon and Jordan Pallazola also clubbed home runs in a strong offensive outing for the Rams. On the mound, Christopher Monroe started and took the loss, lasting just two innings while giving up eight runs on six hits.

Amherst took an early 8-3 lead with three runs in the first and eight in the second. Framingham State then threatened in the third with a rally that allowed two runs to cross the plate, but they left three runners stranded to end the threat. Scoring multiple runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, the Jeffs put the game out of reach and cruised to victory.

On Friday, Amherst traveled to Clinton, New York, for the first game of their three-game series against Hamilton, claiming a 5-3 victory.

Keenan Szulik ’16 led the Jeffs with a strong game on the mound, giving up three runs on six hits through 7.1 innings with 13 strikeouts. Entering the game in the eighth, Mike Castiglie ’17 earned his first save of the season as he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings.

Harry Roberson ’18 went 2 for 4 from the plate with two runs and one RBI, while Vandini, Mike Odenwaelder ’16, Thanopoulos and Conner Gunn ’16 contributed an RBI each.

Amherst took an early 3-0 lead with runs in the top of the first and the second innings, but Hamilton closed the gap with back-to-back home runs from Ryan Wolfsberg and Dean Rosenberg in the bottom of the second before a two-out single from Becker tied the game.

Following a scoreless fourth inning, Amherst took the lead in the fifth inning when a Vandini single sent Sam Ellinwood ’18 home. Odenwaelder added an insurance run immediately thereafter when his single allowed Roberson to score.

Hamilton threatened in the eighth with runners on second and third base and two outs, but Castiglie forced Continental batter Andrew Haser to pop out before pitching a hitless ninth to secure the win.

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Hamilton, the Jeffs claimed a 5-2 victory on the back of a 2-for-4, four-RBI performance by Vandini. Roberson scored two runs in a 2 for 3 effort from the plate, while Ariel Kenney ’18 also scored two runs.

Jackson Volle ’17 lasted the entire seven-inning game on the mound, allowing just two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts to claim the win.

Joe Jensen led Hamilton with a 2 for 3 effort from the plate, including two RBIs. Cole Dreyfuss started and took the loss for the Continentals, giving up five runs on six hits with six strikeouts through six innings.

Following a scoreless first and second inning, Amherst took advantage of Hamilton’s fielding miscues in the top of the third to take a 2-0 lead. However, the Continentals knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning when a double by Jensen allowed two runs to cross the plate.

Stepping to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, Vandini cleared the bases with a two-out double and Amherst took a 5-2 lead.

Hamilton threatened by loading the bases in the fifth and later putting runners on second and third in the seventh, but Volle did not allow a run through the last four innings to secure the victory.

In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Amherst cruised to an 8-2 victory as Vandini, Thanopoulos, Kenney and Eric West ’15 each hit home runs. Starter Riley Streit ’16 threw a gem, lasting seven innings and allowing just one run on six hits with 11 strikeouts.

Wolfsberg led Hamilton with a 2 for 5 performance from the plate while Robert Morris recorded the Continentals’ only RBI. Alex Pachella started the game and took the loss, allowing eight runs on as many hits in 5.2 innings. Finlay O’Hara pitched a strong game in relief, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings.

Home runs by Vandini in the first inning, West in the second, and Thanopoulos in the third allowed Amherst to take a 5-0 lead. The Continentals scored a run on a Streit wild pitch in the fifth, but a critical Hamilton error in the sixth allowed the Jeffs to score three more runs and extend their lead to 8-1.

Hamilton mounted a rally in the seventh and scored a run in the ninth but never really threatened as Amherst cruised to victory.

The team then traveled to face Castleton State College on Sunday afternoon, where they used a three-run sixth inning to win, 4-3.

A strong performance from Sam Schneider ’18 on the mound propelled the Jeffs to victory. Schneider pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Gunn went 2 for 4 from the plate with a home run for the Jeffs. West added two RBIs in a 1 for 3 effort. Castiglie recorded his second save of the season, not allowing a hit or run while striking out one batter in the bottom of the ninth.

The game started as a pitchers’ battle until Gunn’s solo home run in the fourth inning broke the deadlock. After a scoreless fifth, the Jeffs’ bats awoke in the sixth as a wild pitch and fielding error by Hamilton allowed the Jeffs to score three runs.

Castleton pulled back runs in the sixth and eighth with a Pelz-Walsh sacrifice fly and a Hoare home run in the eighth. The Spartans then threatened with runners on first and third in the top of the ninth. Swim’s sacrifice bunt allowed a run to score, but Castiglie retired the next two batters to end the game.

Amherst returns to action this week with a game at NESCAC opponents Wesleyan on Friday, April 24, at 4 p.m., followed by a doubleheader against Wesleyan at UMass Amherst on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The Jeffs then play at Dartmouth on Tuesday in a game starting at 3 p.m.