Baseball Wraps up NESCAC West & Little 3 Crown by Taking 2 of 3 from Amherst - Tunes up To Host NESCAC Playoffs by Sweeping Trinity
In the 270th all-time meeting between Wesleyan and Amherst in baseball, Wesleyan got a leg up on both the Little Three title and the NESCAC West crown when Donnie Cimino '15 hit a soft liner over the second-base bag to drive in Andrew Yin '15 with the deciding run in the bottom of the 9th for a 2-1 victory. Yin had led off the inning with a bunt single down the third-base line to extend his school-record hitting streak to 27 games. He then stole second base as Amherst played Cimino for a sacrifice bunt, giving Yin a large lead and big jump. Both teams now stand 8-2 in conference play. Wesleyan is 4-0 in Little Three play while Amherst is now 3-1 in the Little Three. The squads then decided both titles Saturday in a double-header at Amherst. Wesleyan took the first game as Jeff Blout '14 tossed six shutout innings during a 3-0 Wesleyan victory. That sealed the titles for Wesleyan which will now host the NESCAC tourmament Fri.-Sun., May 10-12. Before that, however, both Wesleyan and Trinity tuned up for the playoffs, as the Bantams took first place in the NESCAC East, in a regular-season ending twin-bill in Hartford Sat., May 4. Wesleyan took both nine-inning outings, 8-6 and 6-4.
It was a pitcher's battle throughout the game Friday vs. Amherst with Nick Cooney '15 going for Wesleyan. Neither pitcher allowed a run through four innings. Amherst broke the ice in the 5th with a line-drive home run to left field, his first of the year, spotting Amherst a 1-0 lead. Wesleyan evened the count at 1-1 in the 7th when Cimino led off with a liner into the gap in right-center field. His double was extended to three bases when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 followed with a sharp grounder to short and Cimino scampered home to make it a 1-1 game.
Amherst had threatened to score more runs in the 5th with runners at first and third following the homer, but Cooney got out of the jam as Wesleyan nailed a runner at the plate on a double-steal attempt. Wesleyan had a chance to take the lead in the 8th but a good catch in deep left field on a high fly by Eric Jones '16 kept it a 1-1 game as Wesleyan had a runner at second and one out at the time.
Cooney (5-1) logged his second complete game of the year, going the distance while allowing six hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
In the first game of the double-header in Amherst, Blout scattered seven hits over six innings to keep Amherst off the board. Sam Elias '15 tossed the final inning, retiring the Lord Jeffs one-two-three for his first save. Wesleyan had taken the lead in the 4th when Goodwin-Boyd single, moved to second on a wild pitch and when Jon Dennett '15 put down a sacrifice bunt, a throwing error on the play allowed Goodwin-Boyd to score. The Cardinals made it 3-0 in the 5th on RBI singles by Chris Bonti '13 and Cimino. Yin had a hit in the 3rd inning to push his streak to 28 games.
Cimino went 4-for-5 in the nightcap and Yin got a single in the 8th to move his hitting streak to 29 games as Wesleyan ralleid from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game in the top of the 9th, 5-5. Cimino, now with 112 career hits, drove in the first Wesleyan run with a single in the 6th. The Cardinals made it 5-4 in the 8th as Cimino doubled in a run, followed by RBI singles from Goodwin-Boyd and Steve Moran '13. Wesleyan manufactured the tying run in the 9th with a pair of walks, a Cimino single and a hit batter as Goodwin-Boyd got the RBI. Wesleyan left the bases loaded in the frame and Amherst won it, 6-5, with three straight hits in the bottom of the 9th off Peter Rantz '16.
At Trinity, Dennett had a solid two games, going 5-for-8 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. Wesleyan wrapped 24 hits on the day while Trinity was limited to 13 by a bevvy of Cardinal hurlers. Cooney got the win in the opener, going a designated four inning whie giving up only two hits and one unearned run with five strikeouts. At the plate, Dennett followed up an RBI single by Goodwin-Boyd with a two-run double as Wesleyan led 3-0 in the 1st inning. The lead grew to 8-1 in the 7th before five late Bantam runs cut the final gap to two. Guy Davidson '16 doubled in a pair in the 5th and his single in the 7th brought in two more, giving him a four-RBI contest. In the second game, the Cardinals carried a 3-0 advantage into the 8th. Goodwin-Boyd had an RBI gounder in the 1st while a second run scored on an error. Yin brought in a run in the 6th with one of his three hits. He did have his streak stopped in the first game, however. Trinity rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 8th, but Wesleyan responded with three in the 9th for the win. Bonti drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly before Davidson got RBI number five on the day for the winning run and Hoynes added an RBI double to pad the lead. Elias got the final three outs for a save, his third of the year.
Wesleyan takes on Bowdoin, second place in the NESCAC East, in its first-round tournament game at 2:30 p.m. Fri., May 10. The game will have LiveStats and a webcast. The Trinity-Amherst game at Bee Hive Field in New Britain will start at 2:30 p.m. and features an audiocast. Winners will meet at Wesleyan Sat., May 11 at 10:30 a.m. while losers play at Bee Hive at 10:30 Saturday in the first elimination game. Game five of the tournmament will be at Wesleyan Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to whittle the field to two teams. The championship will be decided Sunday with a game at Wesleyan at 10 a.m. and a possible second game immediately following, if necessary.