On Wednesday, the baseball team picked up a win in the first game of its northeast schedule this season. Although the game was scheduled for last weekend, facilities were not ready in time due to the remaining snow. After rescheduling, Wesleyan took on Eastern Connecticut State University on Wednesday, earning a 5-2 victory. The teams played at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), a neutral field, to take advantage of the artificial surface that CCSU uses as Dresser Diamond continues to undergo preparations for the remainder of the season.
Of the 31 times this in-state rivalry has met, Wesleyan won for just the fifth time.
The scoring opened up in the third inning, when Eastern Conn. scored two unearned runs off Cardinal starter Peter Rantz ’16. Two outs and an error followed by a double to right and an infield single led to two runs for the Warriors.
However, Wesleyan struck back in the bottom of the inning. Picking up three runs on four hits and an error, the Cardinals would take the lead for good. After two Cardinals reached based, Guy Davidson ’16 drove them home with a two-run triple. Davidson would go on to score by an RBI knock to the left field by Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15.
Davidson drove in another run for the Redbirds, this time in the bottom of the fourth frame with a sacrifice fly to left. The final run came in the seventh inning, when Nick Miceli ’17 doubled to left, bringing home Jon Dennett ’15, who had reached base via walk.
Cardinal pitching did not allow an earned run in the game. Rantz pitched six strong innings, allowing five hits, no earned runs, and picking up four strikeouts. Sammy Elias ’15 relieved Rantz, pitching two lights-out innings of relief. He recorded five strikeouts and only allowed one hit. Miceli closed out the game for the Cardinals, recording the save and picking up two strikeouts.
Wesleyan leadoff hitter Andrew Yin ’15 nabbed two hits for the Cardinals, as did Goodwin-Boyd, and Davidson paced the Cardinals in RBIs, finishing the day with three. In all, the Redbirds recorded 10 hits, outpacing ECSU’s eight.
After the game, The Argus was able to catch up with Cardinal outfielder Dennett.
The Argus: How would you describe the successes and failures of this season so far?
Jon Dennett: I think the major success of the team has yet to come. We really kick it into gear when we are up north and that’s when we are going to truly assert our NESCAC dominance. Coming back from Arizona, I don’t think the trip was a huge success or failure. We beat a top team but also lost two games that we really should have won. What determines whether it was a success or failure is how we respond. Are we going to crave that feeling after beating Cal Lutheran and play like a nationally ranked team? Or are we going to coast and drop non-conference games due to a lack of intensity and focus? If we can continue to be hungry and play our game, this season will be a grand success.
A: How does being a senior influence your views on leadership? What do you do to lead?
JD: I think we have a tremendous amount of leadership on the team. As a senior and upperclassmen-filled team, we have the luxury of experience going for us. I think that experience is a huge advantage and will allow us to win the close games due to mental toughness. I think the most important part of our leadership came in the offseason. We all knew what it would take in the fall to prepare us for this spring and we all were extremely dedicated to make it happen. When you’re struggling at the plate in NESCAC play it’s easy to get those extra swings in before games or practices. But it’s harder to anticipate problems and fix them in the fall before they become an issue. That is what Wesleyan leadership has done for this team. It is a work ethic that never stops whether it’s the day before Amherst or in September.
A: Have there been any challenges playing here in the northeast versus out west over break?
JD: The first and most obvious challenge has been the physical field. Our first series had to be postponed due to bad weather. Additionally, our game [against ECSU] had to be moved to a turf field since ours was not ready. We had to shovel off snow and move parts from storage to Andrus in preparation for Saturday’s game against Williams.
A: What do you hope to accomplish this season, both from an individual and a team standpoint?
JD: I hope to win a national championship this year. I want my last game ever playing baseball to be a victory. I have made the best friends of my life over the past four years and all I want is to end my career with a dogpile.
A: Finally, what does collecting your 100th career hit earlier this season mean to you?
JD: Achieving my 100th hit has been a nice accomplishment. It’s nice to know my name will be on the website as a member of the 100 hit club but it still means I am 90 or so behind Donnie Cimino. I think with this team, stats aren’t important. Everyone is locked in on wins and losses as the most important factor of success.
Wesleyan is currently ranked 30th in the country and fourth in New England. They will begin NESCAC play this weekend against conference and Little Three rival Williams with a three-game series.