Baseball Gets Strong Pitching Effort from Nick Cooney '15, Timely Hitting to Down Hamilton, 5-1, Then Splits DH for 2-1 Series Win - Cards Then Tie ECSU, 3-3
Nick Cooney '15 (left side photo) went seven innings, yielding just six hits and one run while striking out eight to carry Wesleyan to a 5-1 victory over visiting Hamilton Fri., March 29 in the first game of the teams' three-game NESCAC West series. The squads closed out the series with a double-header in Middletown Sat., March 29. The teams split the twin-bill with the Cardinals taking a 10-6 win in the opener and Hamilton coming back to captured the nightcap, 7-6. Wesleyan is now 36-6 all-time vs. Hamilton and has never lost a conference series vs. the Continentals.
Cooney worked out of numerous situations with Hamilton threatening to add to its total Friday, including the 3rd inning when the Continental loaded the bases with no outs and got only a lone run from a sacrifice liner to right field. Hamilton got runners into scoring position in the 4th, 5th and 7th innings, but Cooney ended the threats each time, twice with called third strikes.
On the offensive end for Wesleyan, Matt Sorkin '15 (photo insert upper right) drove in a pair of runs with a sacrifice fly during a three-run 2nd inning and line single to right field in the 6th. Chris Bonti (photo insert lower right) went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs. The Cardinals added their final run in the 7th on back-to-back doubles to the left-field corner by Donnie Cimino '15 and Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15. Wesleyan and Hamilton both finished the game with eight hits. Sam Elias '15 ended the game on the mound for Wesleyan and he, too, worked out of bases-loaded situation with no damage in the 8th and runners at second and third in the 9th.
In the double-header, both Wesleyan and Hamilton pulled ahead in the middle innings and held on to win a game.
Hamilton built a 7-1 edge in the second game and escaped with the victory as the Cardinals chipped away at the lead and got the tying run to third base in the bottom of the 9th but couldn't push the seventh run across.
Hamilton scored three runs in the 1st inning on a three-run homer just inside the flag pole in right field, and added three runs in the 5th. Wesleyan got two runs in the bottom of the 5th and another two in the bottom of the 6th to narrow the gap to 7-5. A double by Goodwin-Boyd brought in the sixth Wesleyan run in the 9th. Sorkin paced the Wesleyan offense by going 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, with those coming in the 5th and 6th innings, respectively.
Wesleyan erupted for a six-run 3rd inning in the opener to erase a 4-1 deficit and take a 7-4 lead. The six runs scored in a variety of fashions including a bases-loaded walk, a bases-loaded fielder's choice and a bases-leaded hit batter while a single by Steve Moran '13 drove in a run and Cimino capped the inning with a two-run single. Hamilton got as close as 7-6 with a pair in the top of the 4th of the seven-inning affair. Wesleyan got the runs back in the bottom of the 4th with a pair of bases-loaded walks, making it 9-6. The 10th run came in the 6th on an Andrew Yin '15 single. Guy Davidson '16 went 4-for-4 and scored two runs. When he added a single in the second game, he advanced his hitting streak this year to 16 games.
Jeff Blout '14 got the win for Wesleyan, tossing four innings. Gavin Pittore '16 tossed the last three innings for his first career save. He did not allow a hit during his time on the mound.
Wesleyan was back on the field Mon., April 1, hosting Eastern Connecticut. Wesleyan ended a 17-game losing streak vs. Eastern Connecticut in that dates back to 1994 when Wesleyan last won, 7-6, in the nearly unbroken series that began in 1984. But the Cardinals could not start a winning streak of their own as Eastern Conn. made it 18 straight without a loss against Wesleyan as the teams played to a 3-3 tie. Eastern leads in the series, 24-4-1.
The game began half an hour late due to earlier rain. That prevented the teams from getting in at least nine innings in the otherwise briskly moving contest. Each team scored all its runs in one inning as the Warriors took a 3-0 lead in the top of the 2nd and Wesleyan rallied to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the 3rd. The teams played five scoreless innings from that point on until the umpire called the game.
Eastern took advantage of three Wesleyan errors to plate three unearned runs. Eastern had just one hit in the frame, that a leadoff infield single as Eastern managed six safeties in the contest. The Warriors had no RBI as the first run scored on a passed ball and the next two on Wesleyan errors with two outs.
Wesleyan picked up four of its seven hits in the 3rd inning as Jordan Farber '16 knocked in the first run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right. When the relay throw attempted to get a Wesleyan runner going to third went wide of the bag, the Cardinals got their second run. An RBI single up the middle by Stefan Sundseth '13 brought in the tying unearned run. Wesleyan had two players with a pair of hits in the contest – Yin and Cimino. Each scored a run in the 3rd inning.
Eastern stranded six runners over the final five innings while Wesleyan left four on base. Wesleyan got excellent relief work from Elias. He went 3 1/3 innings to finish the game, giving up two hits and no runs with four strikeouts. Peter Rantz '16 began the game and logged 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing four hits and three unearned runs with two strikeouts and four walks.
Wesleyan is back in action Wed., April 3, playing at Elms College.
(photo of Sorkin courtesy of Rick Dennett P'15)