This past weekend, the 2015 baseball squad became the first team ever to post a perfect 12-0 record in NESCAC West play. Since the 12-game schedule was implemented 15 years ago, Williams has been the closest to achieving the feat with an 11-1 record in 2001.
As a result, in addition to being the defending champs, the Cardinals will be the top seed from the NESCAC West for this weekend’s conference tournament in Nashua, N.H. Wesleyan will face Bates in the first round, and the winner of the double-elimination tournament will receive the NESCAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
In the opener against Hamilton on Saturday, May 2, Gavin Pittore ’16 took the mound for the Cardinals. He held the Continentals to two hits, both singles, and mixed in a string of five consecutive no-hit innings. In addition, he recorded eight strikeouts while walking three, and posted his sixth-straight complete game.
Wes provided only one run of support for Pittore, but it was all he would need. Ben Hoynes ’15 singled to left and later scored on a double by Nick Miceli ’17, which proved to be the deciding run.
In the later game, Wesleyan’s bats came alive. The Cards collected 18 hits in the contest while standout pitcher Sammy Elias ’15 took the mound for the Cardinals. Elias allowed merely a single run over eight innings, improving his record to a perfect 7-0 and his ERA to 1.52 on the year. Over his last 33 innings, Elias has allowed only one run. He recorded five strikeouts on the day as well.
At the plate, Captain Donnie Cimino ’15 gave the Cardinals their first lead in the third inning. After a single from Andrew Yin ’15, Cimino blasted a two-run home run to left field, providing the only run support Elias would need on the hill. It was Cimino’s third home run of the season. Wesleyan added six more runs over the next two innings, and tacked on five more in the eighth. With round-trippers from Jordan Farber ’16 and Marco Baratta ’16, the Cardinals cruised to a 13-1 victory.
Yin went 3-for-4 in the game, while Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15 recorded three hits as well. With his performance over the weekend, Yin moved into second place on the Cardinals all-time hit list, trailing only his teammate and fellow senior Cimino.
Goodwin-Boyd offered his opinion on what the sweep meant to the squad.
“This was a big weekend for us,” Goodwin-Boyd said. “Teams that win in the playoffs are the ones that get hot at the right time. I feel like we’re playing our best baseball of the year right now, and that puts us in a great spot to do big things moving forward.”
The slugging first baseman also shared some thoughts on what a perfect conference record means to him and his fellow teammates.
“The seniors on our team have had a running joke about our bucket list, things we’ve yet to do as a team but want to [accomplish] before we leave,” Goodwin-Boyd said. “Going 12-0 in NESCAC play was one of them. That’s about it though; we still have a ways to go. Regular season accomplishments are nice, but playoff wins are the ones that people remember.”
In its final regular-season game, Wesleyan headed to Trinity, where it picked up yet another win over a NESCAC foe.
Peter Rantz ’16 performed admirably in long-relief duty of Goodwin-Boyd, who started the day on the mound for the Cardinals. Rantz threw 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits.
Cimino led the way for the Cardinals at the dish, going four-for-five with two doubles, two runs and one RBI. Yin picked up two more hits on the day, including an RBI double in the third inning. Miceli recorded the final five outs of the game to snag the save, working out of trouble in the eighth following three Trinity runs, before shutting the door on the Bantams in the final inning. The win marked the 25th of the season for the Redbirds, setting an all-time regular-season record in school history.
According to the box scores, Goodwin-Boyd has been a consistent contributor at the plate this season. However, there are some things he still wants to improve upon.
“I honestly haven’t been hitting the way I would like to for much of the year,” Goodwin-Boyd said. “The only reason this hasn’t driven me insane is because of the rest of the guys on the team. We’re so talented that people relish the opportunity to pick guys up when they are struggling. It’s a great feeling, and it’s a testament to our team as a whole. Playing with the guys we have on our team has allowed me to keep at it, and to keep trying to [improve].”
The NESCAC tournament begins this Friday in Nashua, N.H., and will continue through Sunday.