The Middlebury baseball team split a pair of games against Williams in California on Saturday, taking the opening seven-inning game 6-1 before the Ephs won the nine-inning nightcap, 5-3. The Panthers (6-9, 2-1) take the three-game NESCAC West series, 2-1and travel to Wesleyan next weekend, starting another three-game conference series.
The Ephs (2-10, 1-2) began the opening game with a run in the top of the first inning, as Mike Stamas led off with a single and later raced home on a wild pitch.
Middlebury jumped out to the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring a pair of runs with two outs. Hayden Smith singled to center field and crossed home plate one batter later on a double to left center by Alan Guild. Sam Graf followed with a single to left, driving in Guild to give the Panthers a 2-1 advantage.
The home team broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth, tacking on four runs. Graf drove in the first run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, while Andrew Hennings was also hit by a pitch, forcing in another runner. Pinch hitter Henry Strmecki extended the margin to 6-1, delivering a two-run single up the middle.
Will Oppenheim (1-0) picked up his first collegiate victory, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts. George Goldstein retired all five batters he faced in relief for his second save of the spring. At the plate, Graf went 2-2 with two RBI, while Justin Han had two hits with a run scored.
Stamas finished 3-4 for Williams, while starting pitcher Kyle Dean (0-3) allowed six runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
In the nightcap, Middlebury took the early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Brooks Carroll drew a lead-off walk and came around to score on a ground out by Guild.
The Panthers plated a pair of runs in the second inning. Andrew Corcoran hit a sacrifice fly to left field and the other run came on another sacrifice fly, this time to right field by Smith.
The Ephs tied the game with a three-run third inning, with the first run coming on a passed ball that allowed Stamas to score. Jack Roberts tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run double down the left-field line. Williams added two more runs in the seventh to take a 5-3 lead, as Stamas produced an RBI single to left field and Eric Pappas drove in the other score with a base hit to right. Those runs closed out the scoring the game.
Smith, Gray Goolsby and Strmecki each had a pair of hits for the Panthers, while Smith also drove in a run. Colin Waters got the start on the mound for Middlebury and went five innings, while Robert Erickson (1-2) took the loss in relief, giving up two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings. Conor Himstead added 1.1 of scoreless relief.
Williams starter George Carroll (1-0) went seven innings for the win, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Bryan Woolley tossed two perfect innings of relief to earn the save.
Pappas went 2-3 with a run scored and drove in another, while Stamas was 2-5 with a RBI and a run.