Baseball took a break from NESCAC play this past week to face a series of six non-conference opponents. After suffering two consecutive losses on the road against Salve Regina University and the Coast Guard Academy, the Cards went on an upswing, splitting a two-game series against Endicott College. The team proceeded to shut out Eastern Connecticut State University and throttle Mitchell College. The Redbirds will plunge back into the fray this weekend, with three games against Middlebury and then a grudge match against Amherst to determine the Little Three title.
Despite dropping two games to Salve Regina and Coast Guard, Wes’ batting improved markedly over the course of these two contests—an adjustment that will be key heading into the rest of the season. Versus Salve Regina, the Cards displayed a fierce offense early, going up three in the top of the third with the help of an RBI triple from Jesse Levy-Rubinett ’20. After a five-run Salve rally, Matt Jeye ’18 then hit an RBI double in the fifth, drawing the game to a one-point difference at 5-4. Two Cardinals were stranded on third and second when Salve Regina clinched the win by a score of 6-4.
Against Coast Guard the following day, the Birds looked even more menacing at the plate, with Jeye, Andrew Keith ’19, and Will O’Sullivan ’17 all getting two hits apiece. Down 11-3 at the end of the fifth, Wes exploded in the top of the sixth, beginning with Danny Rose ’19 batting home two runs and concluding with Jeye’s third RBI of the contest. In the ninth, Levy-Rubinett’s two-run homer to right field gave the Cards a sliver of hope, but a determined Coast Guard defense fended off the comeback and emerged victorious, 11-9.
Returning to Dresser Diamond the following weekend, Wes managed to continue its strong performance at the plate to defeat Endicott in the first game of the day, 6-3. In the next game, however, the Wesleyan pitching squad found itself against what can only described as artillery at the plate. Endicott blasted a three-run homer in the top of the first, then proceeded to score a walloping sixteen runs. Wes stayed strong at the plate, with Jeye slugging a left-field homer for two of the team’s four runs.
On Monday, the pitchers would redeem themselves, leading the squad to a 1-0 shutout over Eastern Connecticut. Nick Miceli ’17, Asher Young ’17, and Ryan Earle ’19 all threw menacingly from the mound, easily handling Eastern at the plate. The victory marked Young’s third win on the season. The only run of the game came from a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Keith.
Against Mitchell, the Cards fired on all fronts, excelling both on the mound and at the plate while coasting to a 9-3 win. Alec Olmstead ’20 and Earle sniped from the mound and gave up only three hits on the day, garnering Olmstead his second victory of the season. Rose led the batting effort with three runs for the day, including a home run in the third.
“Things are really starting to come together for us this week,” said Young. “Eastern Connecticut and Mitchell are both really solid teams, so getting a couple wins against them is huge for us. The best part is that we’re firing on all cylinders; our hitters are crushing the ball, our pitches are throwing strikes and executing in clutch situations, and our defense has been phenomenal. We can’t wait to get to conference play this weekend.”
The Birds will flock north to Vermont this weekend to take on the Panthers. Everything is looking up from their last two games.
“I really think beating Eastern will be a turning point in our season,” said O’Sullivan. “We got great pitching performances and played perfect defense. I think these past two games will help us peak at the right time.”
As they head back into conference play and the last leg of the regular season, the time is now or never for the Cards. After Middlebury, the squad will face Wheaton College at Dresser before playing Amherst the following weekend. As the Mammoths recently swept Williams, Wes will face the rival for the Little Three title that weekend, as well as for critical postseason positioning.
“I think the team is starting to click at the right time,” said Jeye. “Pitchers and hitters are doing their jobs and it’s fun to watch. We have a very hardworking team that plays for each other and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”