The Cardinals had a chance to reclaim the top spot in their division last weekend with a series against the Amherst College Mammoths but fell short in two of their three games to stay in second place.
The team traveled to Amherst for the first game of the series, and though they scored first with a two-run first inning, it would be the only two times that the Cards crossed home plate that day. As the Mammoths would go on to score seven runs that game, these two runs proved to not nearly be enough.
Returning home for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 21 after their 7-2 loss the night before, the Cardinals came prepared to compete. If the first game had not been cut short to only seven innings, they may have had a chance to avenge their previous loss to Amherst, but time restraints got the better of them.
Amherst scored first in the second game of the series, with their first three runs coming in unearned in the first and second innings. They would stretch their lead to 5-0 in the sixth, and then 6-0 by the top of the seventh inning with two more unearned runs, giving the Cardinal offense lots of ground to make up. AJ Ferrara ’18 started off a late-game rally after Chase Pratt ’20 was hit by a pitch, bringing Ferrara home. Danny Rose ’19 then hit an RBI single to center field to score two more, followed by a single to left field from Andrew Kauf ’20, which made the score 6-4.
With bases loaded, two outs, and momentum in their favor, the Cardinals looked poised for an improbable comeback. But when the Mammoths decided to change pitchers, bringing in Mike Dow to finish the game, the Cardinals’ momentum was slowed, and Dow was able to secure the save for his team.
This late surge in Wesleyan energy seemed to propel them to the next game. They scored twice in the first two innings, coming out to an early 2-0 lead off of RBI singles from Kauf and Alex Capitelli ’20. Amherst’s lineup answered in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring four unanswered runs to put them up 4-2. But the Red and Black’s offense found their rhythm again in the eighth, spurred by an RBI single from Tanner Fulkerson ’20. Capitelli and Kauf added to the comeback as well, hitting RBI an double and single, respectively.
Kelvin Sosa ’21 played his part on the mound, pitching five innings while only allowing four hits and one walk to get his third win of the season. Ryan Earle ’19 came in to close out the game in the sixth inning, and only allowed one earned run to earn another save.
Amherst attempted to stop the Cardinals from flying away with the game, scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth on an infield error. Still, the Cards’ defense remained strong and was able to get the third and final out of the game to come away with the win. With a seven-run eighth inning, Wesleyan was just able to avoid being swept by the Mammoths, winning the last game of their series 9-6.
Sosa’s performance this game, though not his best, perfectly exemplifies how he has worked towards the goals that he set earlier this season.
“Early on in the season I walked seven guys in 10 innings,” Sosa recalled. “If I could figure out a way to limit that, my success will equal the team’s success.”
With only one walk against Amherst, it is clear that he has worked on his control as he intended.
The team then suffered their third loss in four games against the Wheaton College Lyons this past Tuesday. Offensively, Wesleyan struggled to put balls in play. Five Wheaton pitchers aided the team’s shutout, as they collectively recorded seven strikeouts and just five hits. Wesleyan’s pitchers also seem to struggle, as starter Sam Phipps ’21 suffered his first loss on the season. Phipps allowed five hits in the two and two-thirds innings he pitched, and was followed by a string of five more Cardinal pitchers who similarly struggled to evade Lyon bats. Wheaton recorded two doubles, a triple, and a home run to round out their 8-0 victory.
This weekend, the team will face their other little three rival, Williams College, in a three game series that starts with Senior Day at the Dresser Diamond on Friday afternoon. The team will then play a doubleheader against the Ephs on Saturday, and prepare to head into their final week of regular season play.
Earle emphasized the importance of winning this weekend in meeting their goals for the season.
“We want to try to win every game in our league, win a NESCAC Championship, and go on to win a National Championship,” said Earle. “Also, we never want to lose to Purple.”
If the Cardinals do not, in fact, lose to Purple this weekend, they will be well prepared for a run to the NESCAC Championship.
Rose Griffin can be reached at email@example.com.