Behind a Lofty .483 Team Batting Average, Baseball Averaged 14.6 Runs a Game While Winning its Opening Five Games in Arizona

Wesleyan began a 15-game Western swing in Arizona by taking on Southern Vermont in a double-header Sun., March 6.  The Cardinals swept the pair, coming from behind to capture the opener, 16-13, then rolling to a 10-1 victory in the nightcap.  In the team's next outing, a double-header vs. Presentation Mon., March 7, Wesleyan posted another sweep with 20-4 and 10-4 victories.  Then the Cardinals rolled past St. Mary's (Minn.), 17-3, Tues., March 8. 

As a team through five games, Wesleyan sported a lofty .483 batting average while scoring double-digits in each contest for an average of 14.6 runs a game.  Five regulars were hitting above .500 including Kyle Weiss '12 (#3, main photo), whose .545 average included a five-game hitting streak and the team's hottest bat over the three games vs. Presentation and St. Mary's (9-for-14, .643).  Julian Sonnenfeld '11 (#12, photo insert lower left) was hitting .556 with a 1.167 slugging percentage as five of his 10 hits were for extra bases, including three home runs.  Justin Freres '11, also with a five-game hitting streak, lead the full-time regulars with a .643 average while Stefan Sundseth '13 and David Skura '12, each of whom had caught a pair of games, had a collective .625 average.  Chris Bonti '13 sported a .526 mark.  Joe Giaimo '11 (#9, photo insert upper left) paced the team in RBI with 11 to go with his .381 average.  Alex Meadow '12 was right in line with the team as he swung a .478 bat.  He was the third Cardinals to hit safely in the first five games.

Wesleyan scored eight runs in the top of the 7th in the first game vs. Southern Vermont, with Joe Giaimo '11 (#9, photo insert lower right) accounting for the final four and the game-winning RBI with a grand-slam, as the Cardinals erased a 13-8 deficit for the 16-13 win.  Julian Sonnenfeld '11 (#12, photo insert upper right) had a pair of round-trippers during the contest to drive in four runs.  Chris Bonti '13 went 4-for-5 in the contest and brought in another three runs.  Just after stroking the game-winning blast in the top of the 7th, Giaimo took to the mound in the bottom of the 7th and got the last three outs to pick up a save.  Jimmy Hill '14 got the win in relief as he came in to get the final out in the bottom of the 6th before the onslaught ensued.

Alex Meadow '12 (#7, main photo) paced the attack in the second game, going 5-for-5. Pitching newcomers Jeff Blout '14, Michael Migiel-Schwartz '14 and Hill combined to limit Southern Vermont to one run on four hits, with Blout getting the win.  He allowed two hits and a run over 4 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.  Migiel-Schwartz posted all five of his outs by whiffing batters.  Also strong at the plate for the Cardinals were David Skura '12 (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Terence Farina '14 (2-for-4, 3 RBI).  Through the first two games, Wesleyan has a lofty .415 team batting average.

Against Presentation, Wesleyan bolted to a 15-0 lead after the top of the 3rd in game one and never looked back en route to its 20-4 victory,  The Cardinals lashed 28 hits, including nine in an eight-run 3rd frame.  Every starter had a hit led by Kyle Weiss '12, Sonnenfeld and Stefan Sundseth '13, all of whom went 4-for-5 in the contest.  James Hounsell '11 threw the first two innings, allowing no hits and was awarded the win while Chris Law '14 tossed the final five innings to pick up a save.

The nightcap was a bit more competitive as Wesleyan's lead was a mere 5-2 before adding five runs in the bottom of the 6th for a 10-2 bulge.  Chris Bonti '13 had the key hit during the uprising with a bases-loaded, two-run single, giving him three RBI in the game.  Weiss, Giaimo, Meadows and Farina all had two hits.  Going the distance in the mound in his first career start was Chase Levi '14.

In downing St. Mary's, Wesleyan lashed 20 hits with Weiss, Sonnenfeld and Tom Miceli '12, who did the catching, each picking up three safeties.  Sonnenfeld, who led Division III a year ago with 25 doubles, picked up a pair of two-baggers.  Every starter had a hit with eight of them coming through with a multi-hit effort.  Wesleyan scored early and often, pushing out to a 10-0 advantage before St. Mary's batted in the bottom of the 3rd.  On the mound for Wesleyan, Migiel-Schwartz had a brilliant start, allowing just four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and two earned runs allowed. 

Things got a bit quieter for the Cardinal bats on Wed., March 9, when the team tasted defeated for the first time, losing to TCNJ, 11-6, and Concordia-Chicago, 20-3. Wesleyan led, 4-3, heading into the bottom of the 4th vs. the Lions but four unearned TCNJ runs made it 7-4 and the Cardinals never narrowed the gap.  Meadow, Giaimo, Sundseth and Bonti all had two hits for Wesleyan.  Against Concordia, the Cardinals trailed just 5-3 heading into the top of the 5th.  A nine-run Concordia eruption put the game out of reach.  Weiss and Freres were the two-hit men for the Cardinals.  Meadow owns a seven-game hitting streak.

Wesleyan has a day off before tackling Pitt-Bradford in a twin-bill Fri., March 11.