Baseball Drops NESCAC West Home Weekend Series to Wesleyan

Eric Truss went the distance on the mound for Middlebury in Saturday's opener.
Eric Truss went the distance on the mound for Middlebury in Saturday's opener.

The Middlebury baseball team was swept last weekend during a three-game NESCAC West home series against Wesleyan at Forbes Field. The Panthers fell by an 8-5 score to the Cardinals during Friday’s single game, while the visitors took both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 4-2 and 18-1.

On Friday, Wesleyan jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two innings and held off a late Middlebury comeback attempt on its way to the three-run win.

Wesleyan got on the board with two runs in the top of the first and a single tally an inning later. In the first, Andrew Yin started the game with a single and Donnie Cimino walked. The pair executed a double steal and moved up to second and third. Following a pair of pop outs sandwiched around a hit by pitch that loaded the bases, Jordan Farber ripped a two-out single that snuck through the infield and plated Yin and Cimino. An inning later, Cimino took a 2-0 pitch and laced a rope that cleared the left center field fence for a 3-0 Cardinal lead.

The score remained a three-run Wesleyan advantage until the top of the fifth when Jonathan Dennett placed a 1-0 fastball down the left field line for a double. After a fly-out, Eric Jones hit nearly the exact same spot down the line as Dennett for a run-scoring single bringing Dennett home from second.

The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the frame. Rookie Raj Palekar (New Rochelle, N.Y.) doubled to the gap in left center and raced around to score on a single off the bat of sophomore Johnny Read (Washington, D.C.) that hit the mound and bounced high into the air and through the infield.

With Wesleyan ahead 4-1 in the seventh, Cimino singled through the right side and stole second before Dennett induced a walk. The two runners moved up on a wild pitch, and both scored via a single down the left field line from Sam Goodwin-Boyd to take a five-run edge at 6-1.

Middlebury scored a run in the bottom of the inning when sophomore Jason Lock (Foster City, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved up to third on consecutive walks induced by junior Joe MacDonald (Pepperell, Mass.) and sophomore Ryan Rizzo (Needham, Mass.). Following a pop up on the infield, Read sent an opposite-field single off the end of the bat into right center scoring Lock. The Cardinals got out of the inning with a pop up and a pickoff at first base to end the threat.

An inning later, the Panthers cut the Cardinal lead to three at 6-3 when rookie Jake Turtel (New York, N.Y.) began the frame with a pinch-hit single up the middle. He moved to second when junior Max Araya (Redding, Conn.) was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a single to right by Lock. With the bases full, MacDonald sent a sacrifice fly to left as Turtel sprinted home from third.

The visitors pushed their advantage back to five runs at 8-3 in the top of the ninth with a run-scoring single from Ellis Schaefer and a sacrifice fly from Ben Hoynes.

In the bottom of the frame, the Panthers put a pair of runs on the board with one out. Read walked on four pitches and scored on rookie Andrew Corcoran's (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) first career home run on a 2-0 pitch to left center. Wesleyan pitcher Nick Miceli ended the game with a strikeout and a fly-out.

Read finished 2-3 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored, while five other Panthers each recorded a hit.

Cimino went 3-4 with a homer and three runs scored, while Farber was 3-5 with two RBI for the visitors. Dennett pounded out two doubles and scored twice for Wesleyan.

Rookie Robert Erickson (Dallas, Texas) took the loss for Middlebury, giving up four runs on six hits in 6.0 innings of work. Senior Eddie DeArias (Sudbury, Mass.) worked a pair of innings surrendering two runs on four hits and three punch-outs, while classmate Cooper Byrne (Ridgewood, N.J.) logged the final inning.

Nick Cooney improved to 5-1 working the first six innings. The lefthander allowed two runs on three hits, struck out eight and walked four. Wilson Flower pitched the seventh with a run on two hits, while Miceli was credited with his fourth save throwing the final two innings.

In Saturday’s game one that went seven innings and took just 85 minutes to play, Wesleyan's Gavin Pittore and Middlebury senior Eric Truss (Port Washington, N.Y.) were locked up in a pitcher's duel as the wind was blowing in hard from center field. The Cardinals got to Truss in the top of the first with a single tally. Donnie Cimino drew a one-out walk, stole second and raced around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Sam Goodwin-Boyd.

An inning later, Ben Hoynes singled through the left side for Wesleyan, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored an unearned run on a throwing error.

In the bottom of the inning, Lock led off with a hard-hit single off the mound. The very next batter in MacDonald grounded out to second, but Lock never stopped running, rounding second and headed to third. When the Cardinal first baseman tried to get Lock at third, his throw sailed over the third baseman's head and allowed Lock to score.

The score remained a 2-1 Wesleyan lead until the sixth. Goodwin-Boyd was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, moved to second on a single to right from Jonathan Dennett as the pair both moved up on a failed pickoff attempt. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Nick Miceli and Ellis Schaefer plated Goodwin-Boyd and Dennett.

Trailing by three, the Panthers scored a run in the home half of the sixth. Rizzo roped a one-out single down the right field line. He moved to second on a groundout and came home on a laser-like double off the bat of senior Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, N.Y.) to right center.

Neither team scored in the seventh as the Cardinals hung on for the 4-2 win.

Rizzo, Sinnickson and Lock were each 1-3 at the plate for the Panthers, while Rizzo and Lock both scored a run. Truss went the distance on 81 pitches allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits with a strikeout.

Hoynes finished 2-2 with a walk and a run scored to lead the Cardinals. Pittore gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits with six strikeouts and a walk.

In the nightcap with the wind completely switching directions and blowing out hard to center, the Cardinals jumped on the board in the second inning for three runs, all after two were out. Dennett singled to center followed by walks to Jordan Farber and Schaefer. Andrew Yin drew a base on balls to plate the first run, while Eric Jones brought home two with a base knock through the left side. 

The visitors put a pair on the board in the third when Guy Davidson induced a five-pitch walk and scored on a home run over the center-field fence by Goodwin-Boyd. Wesleyan tacked on three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, fourth in the seventh, two in the eighth and one more in the ninth.

Middlebury broke up the shutout in the ninth when rookie Alex Deutsch (Princeton, N.J.) started the inning with a pinch-hit single down the right field line. Deutsch moved to second a single through the left side by Sinnickson and was forced out on a fielder's choice as Sinnickson moved to second. With two outs, rookie Drew Coash (Concord, Mass.) placed a base hit into center as Sinnickson raced home for the Panthers.

MacDonald worked the first 4.1 innings for the Panthers, while sophomore Jake Stalcup (Manchester, Vt.) pitched an inning, Corcoran hurled 1.1 innings and senior Mark Dickerson (Bristol, Vt.) and rookie Ben Karlin (Atlanta, Ga.) each logged a frame.

Davidson finished the second game 3-4 with a homerun, double, four RBI and three runs scored. Hoynes also finished 3-4 with a double, two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Dennett went 2-4 with a homer for the Cardinals, while AJ Ferrara also added a pinch-hit round-tripper in the ninth.

Sam Elias improved to 5-0, going the first seven innings giving up two hits and striking out 11 against one walk. Asher Young worked the eighth and Ethan Rode pitched the ninth for the visitors.

• Baseball record: 1-17
• Up next: 4/21 vs. St. Michael’s (DH) – 2:00, 4/23 vs. St. Joseph’s (Vt.) – 4:00, 4/25 @ Trinity (DH) – 12:00