Jeff Blout '14 (#7, photo insert upper left) outdueled his Middlebury counterpart in the first game of a NESCAC West double-header between homestanding Wesleyan and Middlebury to give the host a 1-0 victory in the seven-inning battle Sat., April 5. In the nightcap, Nick Miceli '17 (#19, main photo) put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt on the first pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th to bring in the winning run in a 4-3 Wesleyan victory for a sweep of the twin-bill and the three-game series.
Blout scattered five hits and worked out of two problematic innings to post his first shutout of the season. Middlebury got two men on with one out in both the 5th and 7th innings but Blout got the final two outs each time to preserve the shutout. Wesleyan's lone run came in the 5th when a leadoff walk was followed by a pair of bunt singles, both intended to be sacrifices, by Andrew Yin '15 and Ellis Schaefer '17, loading the bases. After a fielder's choice out at home, Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 lofted a sacrifice fly into center to bring home Yin with the winner. Wesleyan managed just four hits in the contest but half came in the 5th. Blout had six strikeouts and just one walk.
In the second game, Wesleyan took a 3-1 lead into the 8th inning before Middlebury rallied for a pair of runs to even the count. But in the 9th, Wesleyan loaded the bases on a walk to Guy Davidson '16, a single by Jon Dennett '15 and an intentional walk to Robby Harbison '17, bringing Miceli to the plate with one out. Miceli bunted the first pitch back toward the mound as Davidson raced home with the winning run.
Wesleyan got its first three runs one at a time with runs in the 2nd, 6th and 7th innings. Middlebury got its other run in the 4th. Each team had an RBI double, with Wesleyan's coming from Eric Jones '16 in the 6th.
Both starting pitchers had strong efforts but didn't factor into the decision. Cardinal Gavin Pittore '16 went 6.0 innings, allowing six hits and one run with six strikeouts. Jimmy Hill '15 got the win for Wesleyan, getting the last four outs with one hit and two Ks.
Wesleyan was back in action Wed., April 9 at home vs. Western Connecticut in non-conference play. The Cardinals got just four hits but made them count with one in each of the first three innings to score a single run three times, leading to a 3-0 victory, running the Cardinals' northern record to 7-0. Chris Law '14 took over on the mound with one out in the 2nd inning and went 7.0 innings, yielding just three hits with four strikeouts and no walks for the win. Sam Elias '15 got the final two outs after WCSU got two men aboard in the 9th for his second save of the year. Donnie Cimino '15 drove in the first Cardinal run with a single through the right side. A single up the middle by Miceli brought in the second Wesleyan run. The third run scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15. Wesleyan is now 5-1-1 all-time vs. WCSU.
Up next for the squad is a critical NESCAC West/Little Three weekend with Williams. The teams play in Middletown Fri., April 11 in a single game that will be webcast. Both games of the double-header at Williams Sat., April 12 will be webcast as well.