The Cards stole two wins from under the cleats of Williams this past Saturday, with victories captured from two walk-offs in a doubleheader at Dresser Diamond. In both games, Wes went into the last inning trailing the Ephs. And in both games, the Birds rallied to stay alive. The first comeback of the day ended with Will O’Sullivan ’17 sliding under a tag at the plate, sealing the win 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh. The second was even tougher. After rallying for six runs to tie the contest in the bottom of the ninth (O’Sullivan crossing the plate again for the tie), the Red and Black managed to sneak in two more in the tenth to win 9-8. On Sunday, the Cards followed Amherst home for an away game to complete the series. The results were more bleak. After struggling to find any momentum at the plate, the squad lost 4-1. However, the team still boasts a strong 13-5 record and an even stronger 4-1 in the ’CAC.
The Saturday games against Williams were marked by errors from both teams. The first game started quickly for Wes, as Nick Miceli ’17 crossed home in the second with the help of two errors on Williams’ side. The Ephs then followed up with three runs of their own in the fourth, two of which came off an unforced error. O’Sullivan cut the deficit with a double in the sixth, scoring off a single from Matt Jeye ’18.
Down 2-3 in the seventh and final inning, Ellis Schaefer ’17 started off the Birds’ comeback by taking one for the team: the senior infielder was hit by a pitch with one out. Pinch hitter Jonny Corning ’20 followed up with a single to right. With a few more hits and wild throws from the Ephs, Wes managed to bring home Schaefer and pinch runner Dylan Millhouse ’18. An infield dinker from Ryan Earle ’19, along with another Ephs’ throwing error, allowed O’Sullivan to cross the plate for the win.
Miceli also scored the opening run in the following game, trotting home after Corning walked with the bases loaded. Williams scored a tying run in the fifth and then crashed into the eighth and the ninth to score a combined six runs, racking the score up to 7-1. Jeye then kicked off the Red and Black rally in the bottom of the ninth, driving in two RBIs, which Jesse Levy-Rubinett ’20 followed with a tying RBI single to make the score 7-7. Williams scored at the top of the tenth off a wild pitch but Jeye would answer once again, tallying another RBI in the bottom of the inning to even the score. Jeye then ran home off a wild throw for the winning run.
While Wes didn’t give their top performance in the early innings on Saturday, the team proved their ability to fight back under pressure.
“It was great to steal two games from Williams when we really weren’t playing at our best,” said pitcher Mike McCaffery ’19.
O’Sullivan, one of the team’s senior captains, sees his great performance that day as the result of the team’s tenacity.
“It’s always great to beat a Little Three rival,” said O’Sullivan. “It’s even better when you can beat them in a heartbreaker. No one on our team thought for a second about giving up and both games were complete team victories.”
Sunday’s game against Williams started out close, but the bottom of the third proved damaging for Wes starting pitcher Stephen Howard ’18. Williams drove in three runs before relief pitcher Alec Olmstead ’20 came in to sew up the hemorrhage. Down 4-0 in the top of the ninth, a run by Andrew Keith ’19 hinted at the conception of another rally, but this potential went unfulfilled as the following batter flied out to strand men on second and third.
Head coach Mark Woodworth ’94 focused on what matters, notably the team’s impressive achievements on Saturday.
“What an epic day for Wesleyan Baseball,” said Woodworth. “To come back and have two walk-off celebrations is a credit to the entire team for their spirit and commitment to being great. We had two fantastic pitching performances from Mike McCaffrey and Ethan Rode [’17], and for the guys to keep battling for them was a testament to teamwork. These games will be remembered for a long time.”
In the upcoming week, the Cards will play away at Salve Regina University today (April 11) and then at Coast Guard Academy tomorrow. Wesleyan will then return to Andrus on Saturday for a doubleheader against Endicott University and will then face Eastern Connecticut State University on Monday.