Offensive Onslaught Fuels Baseball's Strong Start to the Season
Issue   |   Wed, 04/06/2016 - 00:45
Amherst Athletics
Outfielder Anthony Spina '17 garnered NESCAC player of the week honors.

The Amherst baseball team faced a busy schedule last week, coming away with three wins and one loss. They started with a comeback win over Springfield College on Wednesday, March 30, 10-7.

Outfielder Anthony Spina ’17 was named NESCAC player of the week after going 7-for-14 from the plate along with .611 on-base percentage and a .786 slugging percentage. Spina also scored six runs to go along with three RBIs and three stolen bases for the week.

First-year Wilson Taylor got the start and tossed five innings on the mound for the purple and white. Against Springfield, Taylor allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits with five strikeouts. The first-year has impressed so far this season, posting a 3.55 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched.

Junior George Long entered in relief in the sixth, allowing only two hits in as many innings pitched and earning the win.
Down 0-3, the purple and white rallied to earn six runs in the fifth and the sixth, thanks to hits from Harry Roberson ’17 and Max Steinhorn ’18. Steinhorn’s hit was part of a 2-for-5 effort from the plate with two RBIs and two runs for the second baseman.

Keeping their fire, Amherst pushed the lead to 10-3 with three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth thanks to walks from Jonathan Ramirez ’16, Yanni Thanopoulos ’17 and Sam Ellinwood ’18 with the bases loaded.

The purple and white batted a solid 8-for-27, but their discipline at the plate earned them the win. Amherst drew an incredible 13 walks on the day, including four from Ariel Kenney ’18.

Though Springfield answered with four runs in the top of the ninth, Chris Baldi ’16 entered in the bottom of the ninth to shut them down with two strikeouts, holding the score to 10-7.

On Friday afternoon, the men took down Hamilton with an impressive 18-8 final score. The purple and white started strong with a first-inning RBI from Thanopolous, and continued the streak with six runs in the second. Thanks to doubles from Kenney and senior captain Connor Gunn.

Though no runs were scored in the third inning, Amherst came back swinging in the fourth and fifth, earning five runs in each inning. Though Hamilton scored three runs in the fifth, they couldn’t stop Roberson and Spina, who led the Amherst offensive effort with four hits each.

Junior Jackson Volle clinched his third win of the season on the hill for the purple and white, striking out seven and allowing just three hits in five innings of play. First-year John Vasiliu entered in relief for two innings and senior Adam Pinto closed out the game in the ninth.

“Our offense made it easy for the pitching staff today,” Pinto said. “If we can keep our bats this hot we really have the opportunity to make a postseason run.”

Taking on Hamilton again in a double-header last Saturday, the men split the twinbill: 2-6 and 8-7. In the first game of the day, Amherst earned an early 1-0 lead with a double from Spina, but Hamilton outscored the purple and white in the fifth, the sixth and the seventh inning.

In the second game, senior Keenan Szulik earned the start for the purple and white, going 3.2 innings before Long took the mound in relief. Amherst again took an early 1-0 lead with a combined effort from Steinhorn, Ariel Kenney ’18 and Thanopolous.

The men continued to score until the game rested at a 7-7 tie at the end of the ninth. In the extra inning, Joe Feldman ’18 came in clutch with a walk off single into right field to score Nick Nardone ’19.

Senior captain and starting pitcher Szulik reiterated Pinto’s praise. “Our offense has really impressed in the past couple days,” Szulik said. “We have so many guys stepping up right now, from first-years to seniors we have such a strong all-around group this year.”

Amherst returns to the field this weekend with a three-game series against archrival Williams. The purple and white travel to Williamstown for one game on Friday, April 8, at 4 p.m. They then host the Ephs for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 9, which starts at 1 p.m.