Cardinals Can't Overcome Slow Start in Opener at Middlebury Despite Career Game by Justin Freres '11

Justin Freres '11 (#11, photo) had a career-best effort by going 5-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI, but the Cardinals found themselves in a 10-2 hole after two innings and could not recover as Middlebury claimed a 12-7 victory in the opening game of a three-game NESCAC West series Fri., April 15.  The teams wrap up their conference series Sat., April 16 with a double-header.  LiveStats are available for both games and can be viewed by clicking < here >.

Freres spotted the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st with his second homer of the season, a blast over the left-field fence with Julian Sonnenfeld '11 on board due to a walk.  The lead didn't last the inning as the Panthers used six hits to score six runs in the bottom of the frame.  Four more runs in the bottom of the 2nd put Middlebury ahead by eight. 

An RBI single by Derek Dettorre '11 in the 3th cut the difference to 10-3 before a four-run uprising in the 4th gave the Cardinals hope of a climbing out of their hole, trailing just 10-7 with five innings left.  Kyle Weiss '12 got the rally going by driving in Noah Feingold '12, who walked, followed by infield RBI hits by Alex Meadow '12 and Freres.  Meadow scored Wesleyan's seventh run on a wild pitch. But three Middlebury relievers limited the Cardinals to three hits and no runs over the final five frames, two of the hits by Freres and the other by Feingold.  The Panthers added two runs in the bottom of the 6th for the final margin.  Freres, who had produced three hits in a game on four previous occasions during his career, joined Meadow and Joe Giaimo '11 as the three Cardinals this season to rack up five hits in a game.

Jimmy Hill '14, who entered the game fresh off a pair of shutout efforts in his last two starts, one a nine-inning performance against Williams and the other over seven innings against Hamilton, had not allowed an earned run during his last 24.2 innings of work before the 1st inning at Middlebury.  He departed after facing just 11 batters, yielding seven hits and seven runs, all earned.  He came into the game as the NESCAC's leading pitcher with a 4-0 record and 1.26 ERA.