Baseball Completes Sweep of Hamilton

Phil Bernstein had a walk-off single in game one, finishing the day 3-5.
Phil Bernstein had a walk-off single in game one, finishing the day 3-5.

Middlebury rallied late in both games, picking up 6-5 and 7-6 victories over Hamilton (10-12, 0-5) in a NESCAC West series played on Forbes Field. The Panthers (9-10, 5-4) return to action on Wednesday when they host in-state foe St. Michael's at 3:30 p.m., while the Continentals visit Cortland on the same day.

Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Craig Sandford drove in Chris Collins with an RBI groundout, after Collins led off the game with a single.

The Continentals added three runs in the third inning on a pair of hits. Collins walked before Kenny Collins was hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Brett Mele delivered with a two-run double down the left-field line to make it a 3-0 game.

Hamilton loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but a great diving play at first base by Jason Lock ended the scoreless rally.

Middlebury got on the board in the fifth inning, taking advantage of two Hamilton errors. Justin Han reached on a miscue, moving to second on the errant throw. Brooks Carroll followed with a single to left to drive in Han, moving to second on the throw home. Lock kept it going with a base hit to center field, plating Han with the second run of the inning. Sam Graf was next, singling to left as Lock moved to third on the hit. Raj Palekar flied out to left, but a throwing error allowed Lock to score from third, making it a 4-3 game.

The Panthers kept things going in the sixth when Alan Guild led off with a walk before being pinch run for by John Tipps. Grant Elgarten was hit by a pitch, while Han followed with a bunt single. One out later, Carroll lined out to right as Tipps scored on the sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4.

Hamilton went back on top in the seventh, with Kenny Collins leading off with a triple down the right field line. Middlebury starter Colby Morris was then lifted in favor of closer Conor Himstead. Ryan Wolfsberg followed, driving a single to left through a drawn-in infield, putting the Continentals up 5-4.

Graf walked to lead off the seventh and moved to second and third on a wild pitch and throwing error. Palekar reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on a throwing error as Graf scored the game-tying run. Gray Goolsby bunted Palekar to third as Phil Bernstein was brought on to pinch hit, delivering a walk-off single up the middle to plate Palekar.

Himstead (1-0) picked up his first career win with a scoreless seventh inning. Morris allowed five runs on eight hits, while striking out five over six innings of work.

Hamilton starter Finley O'Hara allowed nine hits, four runs, two of them earned, over six innings. Callum Slater (1-3) suffered the loss in relief.

Carroll finished the game 3-3 with a run and two RBI for the Panthers. Kenny Collins, Wolfberg, and Andrew Haser each had two hits for Hamilton.

In game two, Hamilton again took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, this time on an RBI single to right center by Haser, plating Kenny Collins.

Middlebury tied the game in the bottom of the second after Palekar led off with a triple to right center and scored on a ground out by Bernstein.

The Continentals went back on top in the third when Ian Nish drew a bases-loaded walk, as Hamilton left the bases loaded.

Hamilton made it a 3-1 game in the fourth with an RBI ground out by Kenny Collins, scoring Jordan Northrup, who had singled. They nearly scored again later in the inning, but a great running catch in left by Graf prevented another run.

The Panthers made it a one-run game in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases before an RBI ground out by Guild drove in Graf, making it 3-2.

Hamilton took a 6-2 lead in the sixth with three runs on three hits, aided by a pair of Panther errors.

Middlebury came right back in the sixth with four runs to tie the game. Guild tripled off the base of the fence in left center, driving in Han and Bernstein. He later scored on a wild pitch before Carroll singled through the left side to drive in Andrew Corcoran, knotting the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the eighth with two outs, Lock was hit by a pitch. Graf stepped to the plate and lifted a high fly ball down the left field-line that no one could get to, as his double drove in Lock with the go-ahead run.

In the ninth, Hamilton's Dean Rosenberg singled through the left side to lead off the inning. John Carey came on to pinch run and stole second base. Northrup followed with a single to center, which appeared to be enough to score Carey, but Panther centerfielder Ryan Rizzo fired a bullet to the plate to gun the tying run down, preserving the win.

Robert Erickson (1-2) picked up the win in relief, throwing two scoreless innings. Starter Colin Waters went 5.1 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.

Tom Riley (0-1) suffered the loss for Hamilton, allowing one run and one hit over 1.2 innings of work with a pair of strikeouts.

Rizzo, Carroll and Bernstein each went 2-4 in the game, while Graf hit a pair of doubles. Han finished 2-2, while Guild was 1-3 with a triple and three RBI.

Northrup paced Hamilton with a 4-5 effort, while Haser and Rosenberg each had two hits.