April 5, 2010

The Panther men's baseball team split a pair of games at NESCAC West foe Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon, falling in game one 10-2 before taking the nightcap, 7-2. Wesleyan now stands 15-6 overall and 4-2 in NESCAC West play, while Middlebury moves to 4-7 on the season and 2-4 in the division.

Wesleyan used a six-run 4th inning in game one to break a 2-2 tie and take the lead for good. Joe Giaimo led off with a single and advanced to second on a double by Chris Bonti. Giaimo came around to score on a single by senior Jeff Bizinkauskas, who advanced to second on a throwing error by the Middlebury center fielder. A second throwing error allowed Bonti, who had advanced to third on Bizinkauskas' hit, to score with the Cardinals' fourth run. Bizinkauskas moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jon Sheehan and scored on a double by Kyle Weiss, who came home on a single by Alex Meadow. The scoring concluded on consecutive singles by Derek Dettorre, senior Brice Kelly, and Giaimo, accounting for two more runs, giving Wesleyan a six-run cushion.

Wesleyan had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second, beginning its half of the inning with walks by Kelly, Giaimo, and Bonti. Middlebury rookie John Wiet (Morristown, N.J.) induced a grounder and pop-up, but Weiss doubled to left-center to score Kelly and Giaimo.

            Middlebury answered with a pair of runs in the 3rd. Junior Joey Liberator (Avon, Conn.) led off with a single to left, and sophomore Will Baine (Rye, N.Y.) followed with a walk. A balk by Wesleyan's Brett Yarusi advanced both runners, and a grounder to short by senior Danny Seymour (Weston, Conn.) plated Liberator. Baine advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by junior Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.).

Wesleyan added two more runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded double by Dettorre that scored Bizinkauskas and Weiss, who had singled.

Yarusi went the distance for Wesleyan, scattering six hits and walking one while fanning six to pick up his team-leading fourth win. Wiet took the loss for Middlebury, allowing eight runs on nine hits and three walks in 3.2 innings of work before giving way to classmate Michael Joseph (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.).

            Middlebury struck first in the nightcap, building an early 3-0 lead that would turn out to be all it needed. With two outs in the 2nd, rookie Joseph Conway (Hummelstown, Pa.) blasted a solo home run--the first of his career, and just the second of the season by Middlebury--to left field. The Panthers added two more in the 4th on a sacrifice fly by senior Erich Enns (Lansdale, Pa.) and a single by sophomore Matt Wassel (Rumson, N.J.). Wesleyan cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Bonti and Sheehan.

            Middlebury increased its cushion to 4-2 in the fifth. With one out, first-year player Thomas Driscoll (New Canaan, Conn.) smacked a double to left-center. Wesleyan's Derek Lukin induced a pop-up from Seymour and a grounder to third by McKillop, but a throwing error allowed Driscoll to score and McKillop to advance to second.

Sophomore Zach Roeder (Keene, N.H.) led off the 6th with a home run to left to make it 5-2 in favor of the visitors, and Middlebury added another round-tripper in the 8th for a four-run lead. Wassel ripped a two-out shot to deep center, as Weiss collided with the fence while giving chase. Wassel crossed the plate for an inside-the-park homer just as the throw from Kelly, who ran over from right field, hit the cutoff man in the infield.

Middlebury added an insurance run in the 9th as Roeder was plunked by Wesleyan's Michael Cifuentes, who replaced Lukin in the 9th after a leadoff single, with the bases loaded.

Senior Matt Lowes (Houston, Texas) picked up the win for Middlebury, going the distance while scattering seven hits and walking three over nine innings of work. Lowes faced only one batter over the minimum over the final five innings, aided by a pair of double plays while not permitting a Wesleyan runner to advance past first.

            In game one on Friday, the Cardinals trailed 6-2 in the game, before plating the game-winner in the seventh for a 7-6 win.

Sophomore pitcher Mike Barsotti collected a career-high 16 strikeouts in going the distance in the mound, earning the win for the Cardinals. Sophomore Kyle Weiss drove in the winning run for Wesleyan with a single up the middle with two outs in the 7th.  Senior Jeff Bizinkauskas had walked and stolen second to get into scoring position before Weiss delivered his second hit of the contest.

Middlebury built a 5-0 lead in the 3rd as McKillop stroked the key hit, a bases-loaded double to left that cleared the bases for a 3-0 lead. Roeder then brought McKillop home with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch for the five-run margin.

Wesleyan cut it to 5-2 in the bottom of the frame as Weiss scored on an error after starting the inning with a hit and moving to second on a passed ball.  Junior Joe Giaimo added an RBI single before Middlebury starting pitcher junior Nick Angstman (Williston, Vt.) got out of his second bases-loaded situation over the opening three stanzas. 

A solo home run by Liberator put the Panthers ahead 6-2 in the 4th. The Cardinals got that run back in the 5th when junior Julian Sonnenfeld stroked his 15th double of the season (in 19 games) and scored on senior Brice Kelly's single. Wesleyan evened the count in the 6th with sophomore Alex Meadow driving in a pair with a double to right and scoring on a junior Derek Dettorre safety with two outs.

Barsotti, with his third complete game of the season in five starts, struck out at least two batters in six of the nine innings he pitched including the last out of the game with runners at second and third due to a Wesleyan  throwing error. Barsotti, now 3-2 on the season, gave up 10 hits and three earned runs with two walks along with his 16 Ks. Angstman yielded seven hits and five earned runs with four walks and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work for Middlebury.

• Baseball record: 4-7

• Up next: 4/6 vs. Castleton - 3:30, 4/7 vs. Plymouth - 3:30, 4/10 vs. Bowdoin - 3:00, 4/11 vs. Bowdoin (2) - 12:00