This past weekend, Wesleyan baseball accomplished something that they had not for 13 years. Thanks to brilliant offensive displays and a few dominant pitching performances, the Cardinals swept Little Three rival Williams for the first time since 2000.
Entering the first game of the series, Wesleyan was coming off of a 2-1 series win over Hamilton and some well-played games against non-conference competition that brought their season record up to 10-8. Williams had opened their NESCAC play with an identical 2-1 series victory over Middlebury. The Ephs had a 9-8 record, and on paper the two teams seemed evenly matched. This is, if nothing else, a great indication of why the games are played. Wesleyan was completely dominant in the series, and gave the Dresser Diamond faithful something to cheer about with the resounding victories.
The first game was played in Williamstown, Mass. It was a tale of two starkly different offenses, as the Cardinals pounded 18 hits (including five for extra bases) while the Ephs scraped out seven hits, five walks, and one grand slam that accounted for over half of their total runs. While Williams scored in just two frames (the fourth and the sixth), the Cardinals kept digging in and managed to plate runs in all of the final six innings. When all was said and done, Wesleyan won by a score of 16-7. It was a total team effort—every player in the lineup got a hit, while seven of the nine got on base multiple times. Williams also committed eight errors, which clearly contributed to their loss.
The next two games took place back in the friendly confines of Dresser Diamond. A doubleheader at the foot of Foss Hill saw the Cardinals take both games on a combination of untouchable pitching and relentless offense. The first game was an 11-0 shutout in seven innings, and the second was a 9-1 victory in nine.
In the first game, Wesleyan trotted hard-tossing righty Jeff Blout ’14 to the mound, and he did not disappoint, tossing his second complete-game shutout of the season. In the more recent iteration, the lanky ace only gave up five hits and no walks for a miniscule .71 WHIP. He also managed five strikeouts for good measure. The offense again was highlighted by the bat of captain Steve Moran ’13, who helped himself to a double and two singles along with a pair of runs and RBIs. Jonathan Dennet ’15 led the team in RBIs with four to complement a 2-3 day from the plate that included a double.
The final game of the series went much like the previous two. While Williams took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, it didn’t last through the second. By the end of the third, the game had already reached its apex, and the 9-1 score would stand through the next six frames. Gavin Pittore ’16 pitched the first 6.1 innings for the win, and Sam Elias ’15 closed out the easy game. Pittore struck out six in his time, while Elias retired every hitter he faced, adding three strikeouts for good measure. The offense again performed above par, rapping 13 hits compared to only five from Williams. Sam Goodwin Boyd ’15 led the onslaught, going 3-5 with a three-run home run.
“[The sweep was] just great all-around baseball,” said pitcher Chris Law ’14. “36-8 over three games speaks for itself. Both the pitchers and hitters did their jobs.”
To date, Wes has compiled an astronomical .355 batting average and holds a 5-1 record in NESCAC play. The Cardinals are on pace to contend for the conference title if they maintain this level of play. Their next game will be against non-conference foe Western Connecticut on Wednesday, April 10, followed by a return to NESCAC action in a Sunday doubleheader against Bates on the Dresser Diamond.