Baseball Defeats Trinity, 8-4, to Reach NESCAC Final, but Falls to Amherst, 7-0, for Runner-up Status
Defeating Trinity in a suspended game, competed Sun., May 12, by an 8-4 count, the Cardinals reach the NESCAC championship game for the first time in the 13-year history of the tournament. Playing 2-0 Amherst, which had taken a 5-4, 13-inning game from Wesleyan in the second round, for the title, Amherst scored twice in the 1st inning and Wesleyan could not get its offense in gear, dropping a 7-0 decision. As a result, Amherst claimed its third-ever tournament crown and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. With a 25-15-1 overall record, Wesleyan was a long shot for an at-large bid to the NCAAs and did not get in. Wesleyan's four seniors, pictured (L to R) Stefan Sundseth '13, Chris Bonti '13, Steve Moran '13 and Derek Lukin '13 pose with athletics director Mike Whalen with their runner-up plaque.
Leading 5-3 at the time of the suspension, Wesleyan added three runs in the top of the 6th against Trinity en route to its 8-4 victory in the elimination game. Donnie Cimino '15 triggered the three-run 6th for the Cardinals with a two-run double into the left-center field gap, making it a 7-3 game. Jon Dennett '15 launched a single into left to drive home Cimino, who finished the game with two hits and three RBI, for an 8-3 lead. Dennett also had two hits in the game with a pair of runs. Wesleyan outhit Trinity, 12-3, as Andrew Yin '15 and Ben Hoynes '15, along with Moran, all joined Cimino and Dennett with a pair. On the mound, Wesleyan got five innings of one-hit pitching from Gavin Pittore '16 before the suspension. He allowed three unearned runs. Peter Rantz '16 threw the final four innings for a save, yielding two hits and one run.
Wesleyan opened the game with three unearned runs in the 1st inning. An error to begin the game opened the door for an RBI double by Yin, and RBI grounder by Cimino and an RBI double by Moran. Trinity got an unearned run in the 1st on a Wesleyan error at second base on a steal that allowed a runner to score from third.
Wesleyan made it 4-1 in the 2nd when Hoynes led off with a double, moved to third and scored on a Bonti single.
Trinity got within a run in the 4th on two Wesleyan errors, combined with a triple, the only hit off Pittore.
The last run before the stoppage came in the 5th for Wesleyan, courtesy of Guy Davidson's '16 run-producing double, scoring Dennett, who walked. Trinity did add a run off Rantz in the 7th for the final score following Wesleyan's six-run 6th.
Against Amherst, Yin and Cimino both picked up two hits as Cimino finished as the leading hitter in the NESCAC with a .399 average behind a Wesleyan school-record 69-hit season. He now has 115 career hits, ranking him 29th all-time, with two years still to play. Yin became the 46th Cardinal with at least 100 hits as he has 104 as the second-ever sophomore to eclipse the 100-hit barrier along with Cimino. Bonti, who came into the season with 104 safeties, finished with 137 to rank 17th all-time.
Wesleyan gave up 10 hits with Amherst scoring twice in the 1st on a walk, a double and a wild pitch, to take the lead for good. Amherst added a run in the 2nd for a 3-0 edge, and put the game away with a four-run uprising in the 5th. Amherst pitcher Fred Shepard scattered six hits and didn't let a Cardinal runner reach third base until the 9th inning.
The all-NESCAC team is due to be announced Wed., May 15.