Left-hander Dusty Mones '09 (#18, main photo) had his finest career outing in holding Amherst to five hits and one run during his first-ever nine-inning complete-game win as Wesleyan came away with a 3-1 victory in the opening conference game for both teams Fri., March 27. It also was the initial Little Three game of the year. The teams then closed out their three-game series with a double-header in Amherst Sat., March 28. The Lord Jeffs took the first game, 7-4, but the Cardinals unleashed a 17-hit attack to capture the nightcap, 13-5.
Mones, named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week, got out of two jams early in the contest Friday as Amherst led off the game with a sharp liner to center which was misjudged by Cardinal outfielder Brandyn Cooper '12, going over his head for a triple. Mones then retired the next Lord Jeff batters on a bunt with no advance, a strikeout and a grounder to third. In the second inning, Amherst got successive ground singles to load the bases with no outs. Again, Mones clamped down and struck out two of the next three batters while getting another on a short pop foul. In between the Amherst at-bats, Cooper redeemed himself by reaching on a walk, moving to second on a wild pitch and scoring the first Cardinal run on a ground single to right by Julian Sonnenfeld '11 (#12, photo insert lower right) for a 1-0 Wesleyan lead in the 1st inning. Sonnenfeld led off the 4th with a sharp double to the gap in left-center and scored on a double to right-center by Garrett Lamborn '09. Lamborn was responsible for bringing in the final Wesleyan run in the 8th when he grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded. Cooper again scored the run.
While Wesleyan managed three runs from its seven hits, Mones, who allowed four hits in the first two innings, faced the next 22 Amherst batters without permitting a hit, taking a four-hit shutout into the 9th inning. Amherst got a triple to start the final frame before Kyle Weiss '12, who had just been inserted defensively into the contest for Wesleyan, raced to catch a deep fly to left with a tremendous diving effort. Amherst got its lone run on the play, a sacrifice fly. Mones then got the final two outs on a routine fly to left and a grounder to second. He finished the game with nine strikeouts. Amherst came into the game with a .347 team batting average but Mones held the Lord Jeffs to a .167 figure.
In the 13-5 Wesleyan victory Saturday, eight of the nine Wesleyan starters picked up a hit with seven of them smacking at least two safeties. Leading the way with three hits each were Weiss and Brice Kelly '10. Wesleyan jumped ahead 4-0 in the first inning with five straight hits, capped by the two-run double of Jon Sheehan '11. Sheehan finished the game with four RBI. On the mound, Drew Dominguez '09, who never pitched an inning for the Cardinals before 2009, posted a nine-inning complete-game win, scattering 12 hits.
In the opening game Saturday, Wesleyan got three RBI from David Skura '12 as the score was tied 4-4 before a pair of unearned runs gave Amherst the edge in the bottom of the 4th inning. The Cardinals did get runners to second and third with no outs in the 6th but could not take advantage to cut into the Amherst lead.
Sonnenfeld, who finished the week with 10 hits in 18 at-bats for a .556 average, was chosen as NESCAC Player of the Week.
Wesleyan was to return to game action Fri., April 3 with the first of three games in a NESCAC West series at Middlebury, however, the series has been marred by weather. The teams will now play a double-header on Sun., April 5 and hope to make up the missed contest later in the season if necessary.