Panthers Sweep Bowdoin Behind Walk-Off Hit and Pitching Gem

Robert Erickson twirled a complete-game four-hit shutout in Sunday's nightcap.
Robert Erickson twirled a complete-game four-hit shutout in Sunday's nightcap.

Middlebury utilized a walk-off hit for the second day in a row during the day's first game, followed by a complete-game shutout from Robert Erickson in the nightcap for a doubleheader sweep of Bowdoin on Sunday. The Panthers took game one by a 5-4 count, and completed the sweep of the three-game weekend series with a 3-0 triumph in the second contest. Middlebury (10-13) is back on the diamond Wednesday with a road contest at Plattsburgh State, while the Polar Bears (11-16) take on Division I Maine that same evening.

The visitors jumped out to the early lead, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first. Brendan O'Neil gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with a single through the right side, while Jack Wilhoite doubled the advantage with a line drive single to center field, scoring Joe Gentile,

Middlebury needed only one swing of the bat to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the second, as Sebastian Sanchez singled up the middle with the bases loaded to plate a pair of runs.

Bowdoin reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth, taking advantage a pair of Panther miscues. Brandon Lopez scored from third base with two outs on an infield throwing error.

The Polar Bears added a run in the top of the seventh when Lopez singled through the left, scoring Connor Lee from third for a 4-2 lead.

The Panthers rallied in their half of the seventh, plating three runs to win in walk-off fashion for the second-straight game. Henry Strmecki started the inning with a single to center field and scored one batter later on a double to left-center field by Justin Han. Trailing by a run with two outs, Brooks Carroll delivered a two-run double, scoring Han from third and Alan Guild from first to complete the 5-4 victory.

Jack Miller (2-0) earned the win for the Panthers in relief, while starter Colby Morris went 6.2 strong innings, allowing three earned runs. Carroll and Han each produced doubles for the Panthers, while Sanchez went 1-3 with two RBI.

For Bowdoin, Gentile, O'Neil, Wilhoite and Lopez each finished with two hits at the plate. Ryan Winn (0-2) suffered the loss, throwing 2.1 innings of relief. Starter Max Vogel-Freedman allowed two runs on five hits over the first 4.1 innings of the contest.

In the nightcap, Erickson improved to 2-2 with his first complete of the spring. The tall righty allowed just four hits over the seven innings, striking out four.

After a scoreless first, Jake Dianno got the Panthers on the board in the bottom of the second, smacking the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for his first career home run.

The Polar Bears threated with their best scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth. Owen Gideon-Murphy drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a bunt single by James McCarthy. After a strikeout, he advanced to third on a flyout to center. The scoring threat was thwarted when Gideon-Murphy was cut down at the plate as part of a double steal attempt.

Middlebury tacked on two insurance runs in the home half of the sixth with two outs. Andrew Hennings singled through the left side and stole second, while Phil Bernstein walked. Sam Graf drove home both runners with a double to right center for a 3-0 advantage. Erickson set down the side in order in the top of the seventh for the final 3-0 victory.

The hosts were led by a 3-3 performance with a run scored by Hennings, while Dianno, Han and Graf had the other three hits.

Four different Polar Bears had hits in the contest, each of them singles. Ben Osterholtz (3-2) took the loss, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and four walks over 5.2 innings. Ryan Dixon came on to record the final out for Bowdoin.