Middlebury

BASEBALL DROPS SERIES TO HAMILTON

April 16, 2012

The Middlebury College baseball team fell 5-3 in game one of a three-game NESCAC West series at Hamilton on Friday. Alex Pachella allowed two earned runs over 7.1 innings to lead Hamilton to the win on Royce Field. Hamilton (5-19 overall, 1-3 NESCAC West) picked up its first NESCAC West win.

Pachella scattered six hits, struck out seven batters and didn't issue a walk. Tom Moriarty came on in relief with one out in the eighth inning and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings. Andrew Hove retired the final Middlebury batter to earn his first career save.

Sam Choate led the Continentals' offense with two hits, including a double. Choate drove in one run and scored another. John Wulf singled and scored two runs, and Sam Fuentes added a single and a run. Lukas Bridenbeck and Tyler Reinhold each singled and drove in a run, and Thomas Merriman had the other Hamilton hit.

Middlebury junior starter Michael Joseph (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) scattered six hits and allowed two earned runs in six innings of work for the Panthers. Joseph walked two batters and struck out six. First-year pitcher Logan Mobley (Ross, Calif.) pitched the final two innings and allowed one hit.

Junior Michael Morris (Scarsdale, N.Y.) paced the Middlebury offense with two hits, including a double, scored a run and drove in one. Senior Zach Roeder (Keene, N.H.) lined a two-run single, and sophomore Alex Kelly (Rockville, Md.) singled and scored two runs. Junior Thomas Driscoll (New Canaan, Conn.), senior Matt Wassel (Rumson, N.J.) and senior Will Baine (Rye, N.Y.) had the other three hits for the Panthers, who have lost five straight games.

Hamilton opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Wulf laced a leadoff double to left-center field and one batter later, Choate singled to put runners on the corners. After Choate stole second, Reinhold lined a single that deflected off Joseph and allowed Wulf to score. Bridenbeck followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to cap the inning.

The Continentals tacked on three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Merriman singled to lead off and moved to second base on a walk to Fuentes. After a fielder's choice forced Merriman out at third, Hamilton had runners on first and second with two outs. Klein laced a ball that got past the shortstop and allowed Wulf and Fuentes to score. Choate followed with an RBI double that scored Klein for a 5-0 lead.

Middlebury did not have a baserunner until the fifth inning. The Panthers got a run back in the top of the sixth inning when Kelly reached on a two-out error and scored on an RBI single by Morris.

Middlebury narrowed its deficit to 5-3 with two runs in the top of the eighth inning. Kelly lined a one-out single to left center and moved to third on Morris' double down the left field line. Roeder followed with a two-run single to left that scored both runners. The Panthers had the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth inning, but Hove got Morris to fly out to right field to end the game.

The Panther baseball team split a pair of games at Hamilton Saturday afternoon, taking the first contest 12-2 before falling 5-4 in the nightcap. With Friday's win, the Continentals take the series 2-1. JJay Lane allowed one earned run in six innings and Andrew Hove earned his second save in as many days as the Continentals earned the split in a NESCAC West Division doubleheader at Hamilton's Royce field on April 14. Hamilton (6-20 overall, 2-4 NESCAC West) won a NESCAC West series for the first time since 2009.

In game two, Lane scattered five hits, walked three batters and struck out six. Tom Moriarty allowed one earned run in 1.1 innings of relief. Hove came on with one out in the eighth inning and held the Panthers scoreless the rest of the way.

Tyler Reinhold paced the Continentals offense with two hits, including the first home run of his Hamilton career. Sam Choate added a homer and drove in two runs. Gabe Klein singled twice and drove in a pair of runs, and Lukas Bridenbeck and Colin Henneberger finished with two hits apiece.

Baine led the Middlebury offense with two hits and two runs. Kelly had two hits, including a double, and Morris smacked a solo home run. Driscoll had the other hit for the Panthers. Rookie starting pitcher Matt Leach (W. Hartford, Conn.) surrendered eight hits and five runs in six innings. Leach didn't issue a walk and struck out three batters. Junior Andy Dittrich (Woodbury, Minn.) held the Continentals scoreless over the final two innings.

Hamilton jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sam Fuentes singled to lead off and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by John Wulf. Klein singled through the right side to score Fuentes, and Choate followed with a blast to left field.

Middlebury (9-11, 3-6) got a run back when Morris led off the top of the third inning with a home run to left. Reinhold answered with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning that put Hamilton ahead 4-1.

The Panthers pulled within 4-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Baine lined a one-out single to center, stole second base and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by rookie Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, N.Y.).

The Continentals responded with a run in the bottom of the inning. Bridenbeck sent a two-out single to center field. After he advanced to second on a wild pitch, Bridenbeck scored on a single to right field by Henneberger.

Middlebury cut its deficit to 5-4 with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning. First-year player Hunter Merryman (San Marino, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and moved to second base on a single by Baine. Merryman and Baine each advanced on a groundout by senior Tyler Wark (Burlington, Vt.), and both scored on an error that allowed Sinnickson to reach first base. The Panthers had the tying run on third base in the top of the ninth inning, but Hove got the final Middlebury batter to ground out to the shortstop to seal the victory.

In game one, first-year starting pitcher Cooper Byrne (Ridgewood, N.J.) scattered three hits and one earned run over six innings of work for the Panthers. Byrne walked two batters and struck out four. Classmate Eric Truss (Port Washington, N.Y.) pitched a scoreless seventh inning and allowed one hit.

Wassel paced the offense with a double and a home run. Wassel scored two runs and drove in three. Baine collected three hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in a run. Merryman doubled and finished with three hits and two runs batted in, and Kelly singled twice and drove in a pair of runs.

Klein doubled and drove in two runs to lead Hamilton's offense. Fuentes doubled and scored a run, and Bridenbeck and Nick Taylor had the other two hits. Wulf finished with a walk and a run. Ryan Crawford started on the mound, pitched five innings and suffered the loss.

Middlebury scored in each of the first three innings to take an 8-1 lead after three. Morris lined a two-out single in the first inning and stole second base. Roeder walked and Wassel followed with a double to right to score Morris and Roeder. Merryman capped the inning with a double to right that gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

Hamilton got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Fuentes reached on a leadoff error, moved to third on Wulf's groundout and scored on Klein's sacrifice fly to center.

Middlebury stretched its lead to 5-1 with two runs in the top of the second inning. Wark reached on an error to lead off the inning and moved to third on Sinnickson's single down the right field line. Sinnickson stole second, Driscoll walked and Kelly followed with a single to right to plate Wark and Sinnickson. Roeder flied out to right and a strong throw by Reinhold cut down Driscoll at the plate to end the inning.

Wassel led off the top of the third inning with a home run to left field. Merryman singled and advanced to third on Baine's double to center. Wark followed with a single that scored Merryman, and Sinnickson capped the inning with a sacrifice fly that brought home Baine.

The Panthers added three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Hamilton got a run back on Klein's double that scored Wulf in the bottom of the inning, but the Continentals couldn't get any closer, as Middlebury added a run in the top of the seventh.

• Baseball team record: 9-11

• Up next: 4/20 vs. Amherst – 4:00, 4/21 vs. Amherst (2) – 12:0