After Brett Yarusi '12 (#26, main photo) tossed a stellar three-hit, 6-0 shutout in the opening game of a NESCAC West double-header at Middlebury Sat., April 16, the Cardinals rallied for five runs in the top of the 9th to erase a 10-6 deficit in the nightcap, and held on for an 11-10 victory. Yarusi earned NESCAC Pitcher of the Week honors for his outstanding performance. The sweep improved Wesleyan's conference record to 5-4 and in reasonable shape to make their third straight NESCAC tournament appearance. The Cardinals' playoff hopes will rest on the final league weekend Fri. and Sat., April 29-30 when the team faces Little Three rival Amherst for a three-game slate. The weekend before, Williams and Amherst will play their three-game series (of supreme interest to Wesleyan).
Joe Giaimo '11 (#9, photo insert upper right) and Alex Meadow '12 (#7, photo insert lower right) were the trigger men behind Wesleyan's come-from-behind triumph at Middlebury. Giaimo had a two-run single through the right side in the top of the 9th, knocking in Wesleyan's ninth and 10th runs of the game, before Meadow came through with his fourth RBI of the contest on a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop, plating Justin Freres '11 with the go-ahead run. The Cardinals got their first two runs of the inning on a run-scoring ground ball by Freres and an RBI single by Julian Sonnenfeld '11. Meadow finished the game with a team-best three hits.
Wesleyan had led 4-0 in the contest before falling behind 7-4, and eventually 10-6 heading into the 9th. To say Wesleyan escaped with perhaps its most important win of the season to date might be an understatement. Middlebury outhit Wesleyan, 18-10, and the Cardinals committed six errors in the game. Still, they came through when it counted and Giaimo, after his heroics at the plate, came in to toss the 9th inning and picked up his second save of the year. He struck out a pair, sandwiching a Panther single, and got the final out on a pop to short.
In the opener, Wesleyan got eight hits, took advantage of three Middlebury errors and pushed across six runs with just two RBI, those by Kyle Weiss '12 and Noah Feingold '12. Feingold was one of three Cardinals with a pair of hits in the game, joined by Giaimo and Sonnenfeld. All the hits in the game by both teams were singles. Wesleyan scored twice in the 2nd, 4th and 7th innings to lock up the valuable victory. Yarusi allowed just one earned run over a span of 15 innings, coming against Williams and Middlebury.
Wesleyan played a non-confrernce home game Fri., April 22 against Clark, the first meeting of the teams since 2000. Despite Wesleyan's 24-6 control of the series, Clark scored six unearned runs in the 10th inning and came away a 17-12 winner. Wesleyan led 6-0 on a three-run homer by Derek Dettorre '11 in the 2nd and a three-run double by Stefan Sundseth '13 in the 4th. Sundseth was one of three Cardinals with two hits in the game, along with Justin Freres '11 and Julian Sonnenfeld '11. The three combined for six of the team's nine hits. Freres racked up four RBI along with Sundseth. Three Cardinal pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts but were touched for 16 hits and only five earned runs as the Cardinal defense self-destructed with nine errors, leading to a dozen unearned runs. Though Clark took an 8-7 lead in the 6th, Wesleyan got three runs in the bottom of the frame for a 10-8 lead. When The Cougars grabbed an 11-10 advantage in the 8th, the Cardinals tied the game on an RBI groundout by Freres.
Wesleyan had a NESCAC cross-over double-header slated with East leader Tufts Sat., April 23 in Middletown but bad weather forced the teams to postpone. One game was made up Tues., April 26 at Tufts. Wesleyan was held to four hits, two by Kyle Weiss '12, as the Jumbos took a 5-1 decision. Chase Levi '14 got the start on the mound and after surrendering four runs on six hits over the first two innings, allowed just four hits and one run over the next five innings against the nation's 25th-ranked Division III squad.
Wesleyan moves from the frying pan into the fire with its next game Wed., April 27, traveling to Eastern Connecticut to take on the 5th-ranked Warriors. The game will feature an audio webcast and can he heard by clicking < here >.