Effective Starting Pitching and Scorching Bats Carry Baseball to 3-Game Sweep of Hamilton, Win over Southern Vermont as Showdown with Amherst Looms
Rallying for six runs over the final two innings with Joe Giaimo '11 (#9, photo left side) as the hitting catalyst, the Cardinals posted a valuable NESCAC West victory in the first game of a three-game series at Hamilton, 7-2, Fri., April 20. The squads finished up the series in a double-header Sat., April 21, and the Cardinals made it a clean sweep, winning 8-5 in seven innings and 13-1 in the nine-inning tilt. Now 6-3 in NESCAC West play and 17-13 overall, the Cardinals have set up a showdown with Amherst during the final week of NESCAC play for the top spot in the division.
Mike Barsotti '12 (#22, photo right side) tossed his third complete game of the year, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out eight in the 7-2 win. He now has 56 strikeouts on the year on 53 innings of work. He issued no walks at Hamilton and has given up four balls to a batter only four times all season. Hamilton got both its runs in the 7th inning with half its hits, coming up with a two-run single with two outs. Thus Barsotti yielded only three hits over the other eight innings in a stellar outing.
At the plate for Wesleyan, Giaimo got things started in the 8th inning to regain the lead as Giaimo singled, followed by a single from David Skura '12. With Jimmy Hill '14 as a pinch-runner, a double-steal got runners to second and third. After a strikeout, Sam Goodwin-boyd '15 stroked a single to right, plating Giaimo with the tying run. An infield groundout by Andrew Yin '15 brought in Hill ith the eventual winning run.
In the 9th, Giaimo came through with a two-run single to up the lead to 5-2. Another double-steal allowed the Cardinals' sixth run to score as Donnie Cimino '15 made it home on a throwing error. The final run came off the bat of Chris Bonti '13, who hit an RBI single up the middle.
Wesleyan had taken a 1-0 lead in the 2nd with two outs as Bonti scored on a throwing error. Giaimo went 3-for-5 in the contest, scoring two runs and knocking in a pair, upping his team-leading RBI figure to 36. Goodwin-Boyd also had three hits while Skura and Alex Meadow '12 both had a pair of safeties. Wesleyan has 13 hits in the game.
Giaimo was on fire during the double-header, going 6-for-9 (.667) with five runs scored and nine RBI, advancing his seasonal RBI total to 45. Wesleyan had 31 hits in the twin-bill with every starter logging at least two hits on the day. Kyle Weiss '12, Yin, Bonti and Steve Moran '13 all had four hits on the day. Wesleyan charged out to an 8-1 bulge in the opener after four inning of play with Giaimo stroking a single, a double and a three-run homer over the first four frames. Pitcher Brett Yarusi '12 cruised through four innings, allowing just two hits and a run. He ran into a little trouble in the 5th but relief help from Jimmy Hill '14 and Sam Elias '15 was enough to quell the Hamilton uprising and preserve Yarusi's third win of the year.
Jeff Blout '14 was tremendous on the mound in the second game as he had been against Middlebury two weeks earlier. Allowing a scant two hits over seven innings, Blout left the game with a 5-0 cushion before the Cardinals tacked on eight runs in the last two innings to win going away. Giaimo had a two-run double in the 8th and a two-run homer in the 9th, his fourth round-tripper of the season. Bonti was 3-for-5 with three runs and RBI, Weiss was 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI, Moran was 4-for-5 with two runs and Yin was 3-for-5 with two runs.
With the final week of NESCAC play coming up Fri.-Sun., April 27-29, it all comes down to the three-game series between Wesleyan and Amherst while Williams and Hamilton also do battle. Middlebury has been eliminated with a 5-7 conference mark despite taking two of three from both Amherst and Williams. Amherst is 7-2 and will clinch the divisional title with two or more wins vs. Wesleyan. Wesleyan will do the same with two or more wins vs. Amherst. Williams can knock Wesleyan out of the playoffs by matching or bettering the Cardinals' final conference record as the Ephs stand 4-5 heading into their three home game with Hamilton. Thus, a Williams sweep and just one Wesleyan victory over Amherst would leave both the Cardinals and Ephs 7-5 in the league and give Williams the #2 spot behind Amherst.
Before the NESCAC action, however, Wesleyan visited Southern Vermont Tues., April 24 and followed it with a trip to powerhouse Eastern Conn. Wed., April 25 for non-conference games. At Southern Vermont, the Cardinals clouted 18 hits as seven players all recorded two hits including Skura, who roped a grand slam to highlight a 10-run 3rd inning along with a triple in the 1st, while Giaimo blasted a two-run homer, his four round-trippers in the last six games. His RBi total is now 47, nine shy of the school record. Starting pitcher Chris Law '14 improved to 4-0 on the season by tossing three shutout innings to start the game in a predetermined stint. Wesleyan took the contest by a 22-4 score. Eastern Conn. was a less hospitable host, collecting 21 hits off six Cardinals pitchers while scoring 13 times in a 13-3 victory. The Warriors (23-9) built up a 10-1 margin after four innings and never looked back. Goodwin-Boyd led Wesleyan at the plate with a pair of safeties including his first career home run.