Baseball Splits With Amherst on Forbes Field

Joe MacDonald picked up the win with eight innings of work, going 3-4 at the plate.
Joe MacDonald picked up the win with eight innings of work, going 3-4 at the plate.

The Middlebury baseball team dropped game one 8-7, but bounced back for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap against #25 Amherst on a windy Forbes Field. The Panthers (9-15, 6-6), who conclude their NESCAC West play with a 6-6 mark, return to the diamond on Tuesday when they host Skidmore at 4:00 p.m. Amherst (19-8, 6-3) will play at Rensselaer on Tuesday at the same time.

Middlebury scored four runs in the first inning and three in the second, taking a 7-1 lead early in game one. Trailing 1-0, John Luke doubled to right center to drive in Jake Turtel and Garrett Werner, who had singled. Max Araya singled to left, while Brendan Donohue was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Raj Palekar, who drew a walk to plate a run. The fourth run crossed the plate on a line-drive sacrifice fly to left field by Phil Bernstein, plating Araya.

Amherst rallied in the second, loading the bases before a 1-2-3 double play and a strikeout ended the threat.

Turtel reached on an error for the second-consecutive inning to begin the second before moving up a base on a wild pitch and to third on a ground out. Luke walked before Araya singled to right to drive in Turtel. One batter later, Donohue tripled down the right-field line to plate Araya and Luke, making it a 7-1 game.

Amherst got a run back on a solo homer to center by Dave Cunningham in the fifth and another round tripper in the fifth, this one from Yanni Thanopoulos. The Purple & White loaded the bases in the fifth, but Middlebury pitcher John Bunting worked out of the jam.

The Amherst bats came alive in the sixth, earning five runs on seven hits, while leaving a pair on base. RBI singles from Thanopoulos, Conner Gunn and Sam Ellinwood aided the attack, as did an RBI double by Max Steinhorn and a run-scoring triple from Harry Roberson. The outburst left the Purple & White with an 8-7 lead after five and a half innings.

Middlebury went quietly in the sixth and left a runner on first in the seventh, as Andrew Ferrero picked up his second save of the season. Riley Streit (3-2) earned the win, allowing seven runs, two of them earned, along with nine hits over five innings of work with a pair of strikeouts and walks. Mike Castiglie tossed a scoreless sixth.

Bunting (1-5) took the loss for Middlebury, giving up seven runs, six of them earned, along with 12 hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Dylan Takamori gave up a run and three hits in the sixth, while Donohue pitched a scoreless seventh.

Araya went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Johnny Read also had a multiple-hit game, going 2-3.

Thanopoulos went 3-5 with a double, homer, three runs scored and two RBI for Amherst, while Cunningham was 3-3 with a double, homer, two runs scored and an RBI.

Middlebury again jumped out early in game two, as a two-run single by Read drove in Sam Graf and Donohue. Luke later walked with the bases loaded to give his team a 3-0 edge.

A sacrifice fly by Max Steinhorn drove in an unearned run for Amherst in the third, before the Purple & White added another unearned run in the fifth.

Middlebury countered in the bottom of the inning when Palekar singled to left, driving in Joe MacDonald, who led off with a double down the left-field line.

The Panthers led 4-2 when Amherst plated a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Middlebury quickly answered when MacDonald helped his own cause with a double to left center in the sixth, driving in Luke, who hit a one-out single.

Amherst battled back in the eighth, tying the game up on a base hit to center from Cunningham, driving in pinch runner Ryan Hardin.

Middlebury plated the game-winning run in the eighth when Werner walked and was pinch-run for by Alex Deutsch. Luke followed with a single through the right side as Deutsch moved up to second. Araya then hit a single that landed just inside the right-field line to drive in Deutsch with the go-ahead run.

Amherst put runners on first and second in the ninth, but Donohue got out of the jam to earn his second save of the year. MacDonald (2-1) threw a gem in his longest outing of the season, allowing just one earned run (5 runs) on eight hits with three walks and strikeouts over eight innings of work. At the plate, he finished 3-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Luke went 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI, while Werner and Read each had a pair of hits, with two RBI from Read.

Ferrero (1-1) took the loss in relief, allowing one run on two hits during the eighth inning. Four other Amherst pitchers saw action in the game. Gunn went 2-3 to pace the Amherst offense.