Mixed Results as Baseball Preps for Amherst
The NESCAC West series of the year awaits us this coming weekend, as Wesleyan baseball travels up to Amherst for a Friday road game before hosting the Lord Jeffs on Dresser Diamond for a Saturday doubleheader. Amherst currently leads the West by just one game over the Cardinals, and the winner of this series will be in prime position to take the division crown. But in the interim, Wesleyan had two nonconference games to play as a tune-up before its Little Three rival; the team rode a hot streak into Southern Vermont before getting stifled in Mansfield, Conn. by Eastern Connecticut State.
There is no more concise way to sum up the drubbing Wesleyan delivered to Southern Vermont this past Tuesday than the scoreboard: 22-4 in just seven innings. The Cardinal offense was firing on all cylinders, which embarrassed Southern Vermont pitchers, who just could not stop the bleeding and were backed up by fielders who were credited with an absurd 10 errors on the day. Due to the way the home team perpetually extended innings with poor fielding, Wesleyan was only credited with four earned runs on the game, while the other 18 were unearned.
Donnie Cimino ’15, Joe Giaimo GRAD, and David Skura ’12, the heart of Wesleyan’s order, spearheaded the offensive outburst. The trio combined for 10 Cardinal RBIs, as Cimino and Skura each tripled, while Giaimo and Skura both homered (Giaimo’s fifth of the year, Skura’s third) to lead the attack. On the mound, Chris Law ’14 improved his record to 4-0 with three scoreless innings in his start, and the Cardinal pitching staff stymied Southern Vermont to the point that a double off Derek Lukin ’13 in the final frame was the lone extra base hit Wesleyan allowed on the day.
On Wednesday, the story was completely different for the Cardinals, who had no answer themselves for what Eastern Connecticut Sate was throwing at them. Chase Levi ’14 was caught off guard by the ECSU bats; he allowed five runners to reach base and let up three runs while just recording two outs before getting yanked in favor of Sam Elias ’14, who registered a called strikeout to get Wesleyan out of the inning. The Cardinals cut it to 3-1 in the top of the second on an RBI single by Andrew Yin ’15, but ECSU got to Elias over the next three innings before he left the game with seven earned runs to his name and with Wesleyan in a 10-1 hole.
The tandem of Nick Cooney ’15, Jimmy Hill ’14, and Brett Yarusi ’12 did help right the ship for the Cardinals, pitching the next 3.2 innings and allowing just three hits and no runs. At the plate, Kyle Weiss ’12 singled in the bottom of the seventh, and Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15 tacked on another run on the first home run of his collegiate career the next inning. But down 10-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the game was still safely in the home team’s hands. Goodwin-Boyd took the final inning on the mound for Wesleyan. The regular starting third baseman had a rough finish to his milestone performance; he allowed three more ECSU runs in an inning of work as the Cardinals returned home with a 13-3 loss. Levi’s record dropped to 2-2 on the year as a result.
Wesleyan now has an 18-14 record after these past two games, neither of which had any impact on its 6-3 record in NESCAC West play. Heading into this weekend, Amherst sports an imposing 20-7 overall record, but its record in the division still stands at 7-2. Whichever team can take at least two of the three games this weekend will hold the tiebreaker for the West division title and will control its own destiny from here until the NESCAC Tournament in May.