Wesleyan beat Tufts, 6-4, to win its first-ever NESCAC championship on Sun. May 11. The Cardinals recovered from a 10-0 loss to the Jumbos in the first potential title game on Sunday morning. The Cardinals received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, making their first appearance in the NCAAs since placing second in 1994.
Wesleyan got on the board first in the NESCAC title game when Guy Davidson '16 doubled to the base of the fence in left-center field, moved to third base on a passed ball and scored on a ground single up the middle by Ellis Schaefer '17 in the top of the 2nd inning. A solo homer by Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 (bottom photos, right side) over the 367-foot sign in left-center field spotted Wesleyan, and pitcher Chris Law 14, making just his second start of the year, a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning. Law was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week for his outstanding effort in the title game while Goodwin-Boyd, who had four timely hits and four RBI over the course of the playoffs, was named NESCAC Player of the Week. He also became the 47th Cardinal with 100 career hits during NESCACs, now with 103. A three-run outburst in the 5th made it a 5-0 Cardinal advantage. The first run of the frame scored after Matt Sorkin '15 roped a single into left-center field and raced to second base when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. After a walk to Andrew Yin '15, Donnie Cimino '15 (bottom photos, left side) lined a single to right field, bringing in Sorkin as Yin and Cimino advanced a base on the throw home. Jon Dennett '15 followed with a timely single to center field, scoring both Yin and Cimino.
Sorkin was instrumental in Wesleyan's sixth and final run as he walked in the 7th, stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by the catcher. Cimino than lofted a sacrifice fly to right, plating Sorkin for a 6-0 bulge. An inning earlier, Law, who allowed just one hit through five innings, was touched for a pair of hits to start the 6th and was relieved by Jeff Blout '14, who quelled the rally and also pitched a scoreless 7th.
Tufts picked up three runs in the 8th inning without a hit, courtesy of four walks and two hit batsmen with Goodwin-Boyd allowing four of the free passes, Blout the first, and Nick Cooney '15, who ended the inning, the last one. Cooney also started the 9th, but alfter a hit batter and a walk, gave way to Gavin Pittore '16, who logged the final three outs, two via strikeout, to end the game and pick up his first save of the year.
In the first game of the day, Tufts scored four runs in the 1st inning, added three in the 6th, and topped it off with three in the 8th for the 10-0 decision. Tufts outhit Wesleyan, 13-7, in the game. Wesleyan went on to outhit its host, 9-4, in the title game. Cimino went 3-for-8 on the day to lead the Cardinals while Sorkin, Schaefer, Goodwin-Boyd and Nick Miceli all had a pair of safeties during the two contests.
Wesleyan was shipped to the Mid-Atlantic Regional, hosted by Misericordia U. in Moosic, Pa., as the #7 seed in the eight-team regional and faced #2-seeded Rowan in a first-round game Wed., May 14. Both Tufts and Amherst received at-large bids and were seeded third in the New England and New York Regionals, respectively, despite losing two of three games each to Wesleyan. The Cardinals fell to Rowan, 7-2, and take on Keystone in an elimination game Thurs., May 15. LiveStats and a webcast (without sound) are available.
Now with a 27-11 record, the Cardinals hope to build on the second-highest seasonal win figure in program history as they close in on the 30-win season of the 1994 NCAA squad. It didn't happen in the NCAA opener as Rowan scored twice in the 1st inning and never looked back en route to its 7-2 win. Cooney had control trouble from the outset, walking a pair, then being touched for a two-run double, before walking a third batter. He was relieved by Jimmy Hill '14 with no outs in the first. Hill got out of the inning with a double play and strike out, then cruised through three more scoreless frames before being touched for a run in the 5th, making it 3-0. Two Rowan hits, combined with a pair of Cardinal errors, made it 7-0 in the 6th. Wesleyan got on the board with two runs in the 8th as Goodwin-Boyd, who went 3-for-3 in the contest, lofted a sacrifice fly to left after two Prof errors and a groundout allowed Wesleyan runners to reach second and third. Dennett added an RBI single to center to finish off Wesleyan's scoring.
When the NESCAC announced its all-conference squad Wed., May 14, four Cardinal players and Head Coach Mark Woodworth (bottom photos, middle) were duly part of the group. Woodworth repeated as Coach of the Year, having been named in 2013 as well. It was his third time overall as he earned his first such recognition in 2002. Cimino was first-team for a second straight year after debuting as a second-teamer in 2012. Goodwin-Boyd joined Cimino in the first team after being on the second team last year. Cooney was back on the second team where he held a spot in 2013. New to the list was Davidson as a second-team choice.