Baseball Splits With Amherst, Sets Up Sunday Game For Tournament Bid

Colby Morris became the school's all-time leader in innings pitched (183).
Colby Morris became the school's all-time leader in innings pitched (183).

Middlebury blanked Amherst 7-0 in game one, but the Mammoths (20-12, 7-4) took game two 6-3 on Saturday afternoon at Forbes Field. The teams will play game three of the NESCAC West series on Sunday at noon, with the winner earning a bid to the upcoming NESCAC Tournament.

The Panthers (16-14, 6-5) got things going in the third inning, with a two-run single to left by Brooks Carroll. Two batters later, Sam Graf reached on a base hit to left, driving in Carroll for a 3-0 advantage.

The lead doubled in the fourth when Middlebury plated three runs on four hits. Justin Han doubled to center to drive in Henry Strmecki, who reached on a fielder's choice. Hayden Smith followed, belting another double, this one to left center as Han scored. One batter later, Carroll knocked a base hit to center, driving in Smith for the 6-0 lead.

Middlebury added to its lead in the seventh inning, when Jake Dianno drove in Han with a sacrifice fly to center. Han previously led off the inning with a base hit.

Colby Morris (5-4) threw the seven-inning complete-game win, allowing just three hits, while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 1.71, placing him second in the NESCAC, with a league-best 63.1 innings pitched. Morris has now thrown 183 innings at Middlebury, more than any other pitcher in school history.

Han, Smith, Carroll, Dianno and Graf each had two hits in the game for the Panthers. Han scored three times with a double, while Smith also had a double with two runs scored.

Andrew Ferrero (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) and 11 hits over six innings of work. Three different Mammoths had hits in the game, including a double from Harry Roberson.

Middlebury went up 1-0 in the second inning of game two. Grant Elgarten reached on an error and later scored on an infield single by Strmecki.

Amherst answered in the top of the third, scoring three runs on three hits. William Murphy walked, stole second and scored on a single to left by Severino Simeone. During the next at-bat, a throwing error on a pick-off attempt allowed Simeone score for a 2-1 Amherst lead. Nick Nardone drove in the final run of the inning, belting a double down the right-field line to drive in Roberson.

Leading 3-1, Amherst added a pair in the seventh. Simeone led off with a homer down the left-field line, while the Mammoths added an unearned run later in the inning.

Amherst went up 6-1 in the ninth when Simeone tripled to left center and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Roberson.

Middlebury rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth. Graf singled to left with one out and moved to second when Dianno was hit by a pitch. The runners moved up on a ground out, before scoring on a base hit to center by Phil Bernstein.

Mike Dow came on in relief to record the final out of the game for his fifth save of the season. Sam Schneider (4-2) earned the win for Amherst, giving up three runs on four hits over 8.2 innings with five strikeouts. Simeone finished the game 3-4 with a triple, homer, three runs scored and two RBI.

Robert Erickson (3-2) suffered the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work. Four different Panthers had singles in the game. The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for Middlebury.