Middlebury Falls to Williams in NESCAC West Opener

Johnny Read had two hits for the Panthers.
Johnny Read had two hits for the Panthers.

Middlebury jumped out to the early lead in its NESCAC West opener, but Williams overcame the deficit on Friday to earn an 18-5 victory. The two teams conclude their three-game series Saturday in Arizona, playing a doubleheader with the first game starting at 12:00 p.m.  

The Panthers (3-6, 0-1) did not waste any time jumping out in front, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Ryan Rizzo led off the game with a double to right field and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to right by Sam Graf. Jason Lock immediately followed with a single, driving in Andrew Hennings for a 2-0 lead.

Williams (6-2, 1-0), which has won six-straight games, came right back in the bottom of the inning, tying the contest at 2-2. Jack Cloud touched home from third base following a balk, while Doug Schaffer plated the second with a base hit.

The Ephs took the lead with three runs in the third and extended their lead to 7-2 with two more runs in the fourth.

Middlebury closed the margin to 7-4, scoring single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Graf drove home Rizzo with a base hit to right field, while in the next frame Rizzo scored Johnny Read with a single to make it a three-run difference.

Williams pulled away with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and four more in the seventh, extending its lead to 16-4. Adam Regensburg had a key two-run double in the sixth, while an inning later Adam Dulsky belted a three-run double.

The Panthers collected another run in the top of the eighth, when Jake Turtel singled and later scored on another base hit by Graf.

The Ephs scored the game's final two runs in the bottom of the inning, making the final 18-5.

Rizzo finished the game going 3-5 at the plate for the Panthers with a pair of runs, while Graf went 2-4 and drove in three runs. Graf has now hit safely in all nine games this season. Read and Hennings also chipped in with two hits each. Robert Erickson (0-2) got the start for Middlebury and suffered the loss, giving up seven runs (three earned) on four hits in four innings.

For Williams, Regensburg went 4-6 with four RBI, while Dulsky went 2-2 with four runs batted in. Luke Rodino (2-0) worked into the sixth inning to earn the win.