Getting three of its five hits from Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 (#9, photo lower right), Wesleyan scored the tying run of its schedule seven-inning Little Three/NESCAC West baseball game in the bottom of the 7th on a solo home run by Goodwin-Boyd, his third of the year and second in two games vs. Amherst. Goodwin-Boyd then led off the bottom of the 9th with a line double to left field, moved to third on a ground out to the right side by Robby Harbison '17, and scored on the first pitch to Jon Dennett '15, who put down a perfect squeeze bunt to give the Cardinals a 2-1 victory. Coupled with their 8-6 triumph at Amherst Friday, Wesleyan locked up both the NESCAC West title with a 10-1 league mark, and the Little Three crown (team photo) with a 5-0 record vs. Amherst and Williams. Wesleyan won both titles in 2013 as well. Goodwin-Boyd, who went 6-for-12 vs. Amherst with two homers, was honored by the NESCAC as its Player of the Week.
Wesleyan and Amherst were slated to play a double-header Sat., April 26 but bad weather forced a late start. The third game of the series was played in Middletown Sun., April 27. The contest went 11 innings and Amherst claimed a 5-3 win.
It was a pitcher's battle throughout the afternoon as Jeff Blout '15 (#7, photo lower left) handled the opening eight innings for Wesleyan, allowing five hits and one run while pitching out of a few jams due to five walks. Amherst left the bases loaded in the 3rd and two men on in the 5th after scoring its only run in the 2nd on an infield single to shortstop, a stolen base, and a two-out single to right field. Jimmy Hill '14 got the win for Wesleyan, throwing the 9th inning, allowing one hit with a strikeout, raising his record to 2-0 with a save. In four starts against NESCAC opponents in 2014, Blout has three complete-game seven-inning wins, including a shutout, and has thrown 29 innings, allowing 21 hits and four runs with 18 strikeouts and nine walks. He has a 1.24 ERA and an opposing team batting average of .208 over the four contests.
Amherst junior lefty John Cook gave up just four hits and one run over eight innings, that run the solo blast by Goodwin-Boyd to straight-away left field. Goodwin-Boyd, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, his team-high 32nd, also had an infield hit in the 4th inning. Cook came into the game with a 2.83 ERA and opposing batting average of .235. But senior Eric Kotin, who came in to pitch the 9th, gave up the double to Goodwin-Boyd and absorbed the loss, his first in 15 relief appearances this year with two saves.
Amherst has also clinched a spot in the NESCAC playoffs as the second seed in the West. The tournament begins Fri., May 9 at the site of the East Division champion which is still up for grabs with Tufts the front-runner while Bates is still in the mix. Wesleyan will play the second seed from the East while Amherst will play the host squad in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.
In the final game of the series with Amherst, Wesleyan erased a 1-0 deficit in the 5th inning, collecting five singles in the frame after coming into the inning with just one hit througn four innings. Goodwin-Boyd opened the inning with a single, and moved to third on a Dennett single. When Dennett stole second, the ball got away and Goodwin-Boyd scored. Both Guy Davidson '16 and Andrew Yin '15 followed up with RBI singles. Amherst tied it in the 6th with a two-run homer and the score stayed unchanged until the 11th. Gavin Pittore '16 had an excellent effort on the mound, going a season-best nine innings whle allowing seven hits and three runs with eight strikeouts and a walk. The final two Amherst runs were both unearned as Amherst got just one infield single in the 11th. An error, a passed ball and some heads-up base-running by the Lord Jeffs accounted for the runs.
Wesleyan moved out of conference for its next outing, visiting MIT Tues., April 29. Goodwin-Boyd and Dennett continued hot at the plate as each went 2-for-4 with Dennett knocking in both Cardinal runs, but a run by MIT in the bottom of the 8th broke a 2-2 tie as the home squad went on for a 3-2 victory. Peter Rantz '16 had a no-hitter going for the Cardinals through six innings along with 12 strikeouts as Wesleyan had a 1-0 lead behind a Donnie Cimino '15 single and Dennett RBI double. But Rantz was met by a leadoff homer in the 7th, followed by a walk and a double for a 2-1 MIT margin. Dennett knocked in Goodwin-Boyd, who doubled in the 8th, with a single to knot the count. An unearned run in the 8th for the Beavers with a misplay at first base on a relay throw in an attempt to turn a double-play made the difference in the game. Wesleyan outhit its host, 8-3.
The Cardinals close out the home slate Sat., May 3 with a double-header against Trinity. The games will feature LiveStats.