Opening a three-game NESCAC West series vs. Hamilton Fri., April 9 on the road, the Cardinals kept their edge on the conference standings with a comfortable 13-2 victory. The teams finished up with a double-header Sat., April 10, and the Cardinals took two tight affairs, 6-3 in nine innings in the opener and 5-4 in seven innings in the nightcap.
Coming off a 16-strikeout performance in a win over Middlebury in his last start a week ago, Mike Barsotti '12 (#22, photo insert upper left) picked up where he left off by recording the first seven outs of the game by fanning seven Continentals and picked up 10 of the first 12 outs with Ks. He went six innings on the mound in the series opener, allowing five hits and one run with two walks and 12 strikeouts. He now has 57 Ks in 41 innings of work as he zeros in on the Wesleyan single-season strikeout record of 79.
Wesleyan got off to a 5-0 lead in the 1st inning, courtesy of Joe Giaimo's '11 (#9, main photo) bases-loaded double for three RBI. He later scored on a ground out by Chris Bonti '13, who picked up three hits in the game and two RBI. Brice Kelly '10 also enjoyed a three-hit game while driving in three and David Skura '12 (#33, photo insert lower left) had two hits including a two-run blast in a three-run 8th inning. Thus, Bonti, Kelly, Giaimo and Skura combined for 10 of the Cardinals' 11 safeties and 11 of the squad's 12 RBI.
Michael Cifuentes '10 took over the pitching duties for the final three innings, giving up just three hits and one unearned run with four strikeouts in posting his second save of the campaign.
Derek Dettorre '11 was the story of the double header. Despite going just 2-for-8 during the two contests, he drove in five of the Cardinals' 11 runs. His three-run homer in game two was the difference in the one-run decision as Derek Lukin '13 pitched soundly for a complete game, yielding eight hits and four earned runs. Wesleyan went into the final inning ahead 4-2 but added a run as Kelly led off with a single and got to third base on a wild pitch and a sacrifice. He scored on a wild pitch to put the Cards up by three. It proved beneficial as Hamilton got a pair in the bottom but Lukin stranded the tying run at second with a game-ending groundout.
Julian Sonnenfeld '11, Alex Meadow '12 and Giaimo each had a pair of hits in the contest.
Wesleyan needed extra innings in the first game of the twin-bill, getting an RBI single from Sonnenfeld to bring home Bonti with what proved to be the winning run in the top of the 9th. Dettorre then added a two-run single to make it a three-run cushion.
Meadow had an RBI single in the 5th to tie the game at 3-3 as he paced the Cards with three hits and a pair of RBI. Brett Yarusi '12 came up with another complete-game win, scattering seven hits while allowing three earned runs with six strikeouts. He retired the Continentals one-two-three in the bottom of the 9th. The game was slated for seven innings but when it went to nine, the second game was reduced to seven as per conference rules.
Now with a 7-2 record in NESCAC West play, the Cardinals are one victory away from locking up a NESCAC playoff spot for the second year in a row. Should the Cardinals win at least two of the three remaining games vs. Williams coming up the weekend of April 24-25, they will secure the top seed in the West.
Before taking on Williams to wrap up conference play, the Cards began a string of six non-conference outings by hosting Springfield Wed., April 14. Wesleyan's bats were surprisingly quiet as the Pride enjoyed a 13-7 edge in hits en route to a 10-3 victory. Kelly and Meadow each had two hits for the Cardinals and Sonnenfeld had his 20th double of the season and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Cifuentes, who started on the mound, had trouble in the first inning, allowing three runs, but cruised through the next five innings, giving up just four hits and one unearned run. Springfield struck for three runs in both the 7th and 8th to seal the decision.
The Cardinals next action comes on the road Fri., April 16 with a visit to Albertus Magnus for a double-header.