It has been said that pitching by committee doesn’t work. Many people believe that baseball has a simple rubric for success: the starter throws six-plus innings, then a set-up man or two help bridge the gap to the closer, who slams the door shut on his opponent and ensures the victory. This conventional logic went out the window on Wednesday, April 24 as Wesleyan (19-12-1 overall, 7-2 NESCAC) defeated Southern Vermont College (11-21) in a crazy 6-5 game that went down to the wire.
Wesleyan trotted out nine different pitchers, none of whom recorded more than four outs in the contest. The first three to go out to the mound were Chris Law ’14, Derek Lukin ’13, and Andrew Hove ’15. Each pitcher allowed just one baserunner apiece, never allowing SV to threaten. After Hove came back to the bench, the Cardinal offense went to work, scoring two runs on a double by hot-handed Andrew Yin ’15. The second baseman extended his hit streak to 26 games and crept even closer to joining his teammate Donnie Cimino ’15 on the elusive 100-hit plateau as sophomores.
SV responded with hits against Jimmy Hill ’14, who came out to pitch the fourth for Wesleyan. Hill gave up one run on two hits and a walk, but the Cardinals got out of the inning still clinging to a 2-1 lead. Wes didn’t answer back, and in the top of the fifth things got rocky for the Cardinals. The away team knocked Gavin Pittore ’16 out after two-thirds of an inning and turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead. Jonathan Dennett ’15 came around to score in the sixth, but the Cards remained down one until Jordan Farber ’16 tied the game up 4-4 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.
The drama was not yet over. Wilson Flower ’16 took over on the mound in the ninth, ceding one more run to put Wes down 5-4. At this point all seemed lost for the Cardinals, with only three outs separating them from a fifth straight nonconference defeat. Wes started the inning with a hit batsman and a single, and both runners ended up in scoring position after a failed wild pitch. Yin came to the plate and drove one to left field, which was good enough to score the runner on third on a sac fly. After intentionally walking Cimino to bring up Dennett, the sophomore made them pay. He smacked a single into left field, giving the Cardinals a 6-5 win to remember.
The Cardinals return to action this Friday, April 26 on the Dresser Diamond against rival Amherst to determine both playoff seeding and who will be crowned Little Three champions.