Baseball Uses Long Ball to Down Amherst, 8-6, in 1st Game of Critical NESCAC West/Little 3 Series
The Cardinals used three home runs over the opening five innings to build a 7-1 lead, then hung on to post a vital 8-6 road victory vs. Amherst Fri., April 25 to improve their NESCAC West record to 9-1. The teams complete their series with a double-header in Middletown Sat., April 26 with both games slated for a webcast. One win during the twin-bill would give Wesleyan its second straight NESCAC West and Little Three crown. A sweep by Amherst would secure the same accolades for the Lord Jeffs.
Wesleyan grabbed a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning when Jon Dennett '15 (#12, photo insert upper right) lofted a ball that just cleared the left-field fence by a few feet two yards inside the foul pole. On board to make it a three-run homer were Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 (#9, main photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com), who singled, and Robby Harbison '17, who doubled. A two-run homer by Guy Davidson '16 (#6, photo insert lower right) to left upped the margin to 5-0 in the 4th as Dennett, who walked, scored ahead of him. After Amherst got one back with a solo homer in the bottom of the 4th, Wesleyan moved out to a 7-1 lead on the two-run round-tripper by Goodwin-Boyd to left.
Amherst narrowed the difference to 7-5 in the bottom of the 5th, chasing starter Nick Cooney '15 from the mound as he went 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and five runs with five walks and 10 strikeouts. Sam Elias '15 eventually took over to get the last two uts of the frame and went 3.2 innings in relief, giving up the final Amherst run in the 8th, but not before the Cardinals added their eighth run in the 7th, courtesy of Will O'Sullivan's '17 high chopper to third that brought hime Dennett with his third run of the game. He had walked and moved to third on a double by Davidson. Davidson, Goodwin-Boyd, Harbison and Nick Miceli '17 all had two hits for the Cardinals.
When Elias ran into trouble in the bottom of the 9th, walking the first batter, Jimmy Hill '14 came in to get a force out at second, but yielded a single to put the tying run on base. Goodwin-Boyd came over from his spot at first base to take over on the mound and after walking a batter to load the bases, got the final two outs via strikeout as the Cardinal pitchers racked up 16 in the game. It was the second save for Goodwin-Boyd this year. Wesleyan batters fell by strikeout just seven times in the contest.