April 9, 2012

The Middlebury College baseball team pounded out 17 runs on 15 hits on its way to a 17-3 win over Plattsburgh (13-11) in the team’s home-opener on Forbes Field. The Panthers (8-5) used eight pitchers in the game, each tossing one inning aside from sophomore starter Dylan Kane (Sands Point, N.Y.), who picked up the win.

Leading 5-1, Middlebury struck for eight runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, sending 12 batters to the plate. Junior Thomas Rafferty (Chicago, Ill.) doubled and later scored on a single from sophomore Alex Kelly (Rockville, Md.). RBI singles from rookie Dylan Sinnickson (Sands Point, N.Y.) and senior Will Baine (Rye, N.Y.) plated a pair later in the inning, while first-year player Hunter Merryman (San Marino, Calif.) scored two with a single.

Sophomore Kyle Finck (New York, N.Y.) tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth, while junior Thomas Driscoll (New Canaan, Conn.) and Baine each earned RBI singles later in the inning. Plattsburgh scored twice in the eighth, while Middlebury answered in the bottom of the inning for a 17-3 final.

Merryman finished the game 4-6 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Baine was 3-6 with three runs scored and two driven in. Driscoll had a 3-4 afternoon with four runs scored and a triple.

Ben Hoynes highlighted a four-run first inning for Wesleyan with a three-run double and Mike Barsotti logged his second straight complete game as Wesleyan hung on to defeat visiting Middlebury, 5-4, in the first game of their three-game NESCAC West series.

Wesleyan moved out to an early 4-0 advantage by batting around in the first inning despite a smart defensive effort by Middlebury. Kyle Weiss started off with a slashing double to left field but he was tossed out going to third base on a heads-up play by junior pitcher Michael Joseph (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) on a bunt by Cardinal Alex Meadow. Singles by Donnie Cimino and Joe Giaimo for the RBI plated Meadow for a 1-0 lead. Chris Bonti was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Joseph fanned senior David Skura for the second out. Hoynes then smacked a double into left to clear the bases and make it a 4-0 game.

In the fifth inning, Middlebury got its first run on an RBI single by Driscoll, who had also doubled to lead off the game. He knocked in senior Matt Wassel (Rumson, N.J.), who opened the frame with a hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Barsotti worked out of further trouble by getting the final out on a grounder to third with runners at the corners.

Wesleyan got what proved to be an all-important run in the bottom of the fifth when Weiss singled to left and moved to second on a throwing error on the play. This time, the sacrifice was successful by Meadow, moving Weiss to third and a grounder to the right side by Cimino was good enough for an RBI and a 5-1 margin.

The Panthers narrowed the gap to a lone run with three in the sixth by lashing four of their 11 hits off Barsotti including a deep triple to right centerfield by Sinnickson to bring in the final run. Earlier, a run scored when the ball came out of Barsotti's hand on a fake pickoff try with runners at first and third, and senior Tyler Wark (Burlington, Vt.) brought in a run with a single to right. Again, Barsotti got out of further trouble with a groundout to strand Sinnickson at third.

Middlebury got a runner into scoring position in both the seventh and eighth inning, including runners at second and third in the eighth, but Barsotti got the last out by strikeout. In the ninth, Barsotti retired the Panthers one-two-three on a soft liner and two groundouts. He finished the game with five strikeouts and one walk.  Just as effective was Joseph for Middlebury as he allowed nine hits with five K’s and no walks in going the distance, the first complete game this season for the Panthers. Wesleyan's unearned run in the fifth was the difference in the game.

While Sinnickson and Driscoll both had two hits for Middlebury, Panther senior Zach Roeder (Keene, N.H.) was the only player with three hits in the contest, going 3-5 with a run scored. Weiss and Hoynes had two hits each for the Cardinals.

Wesleyan got outstanding starting pitching from Brett Yarusi and Jeff Blout to complement a ferocious 22-hit attack by the Cardinals over the double-header to take both games against visiting Middlebury, 10-1 (7 inns.) and 10-3 (9 inns.) in a NESCAC West twin-bill. Wesleyan took all three games in the conference series, having won game one on Friday, 5-4.

While Wesleyan hit .349 as a team to sweep the double-header, Middlebury was held to six hits and a .111 average.  In the first game, Yarusi went six innings, allowing four hits and one run with three strikeouts and four walks.  Wesleyan blew the game open with a seven-run outburst in the third inning. A bases-loaded triple to right-center by Sam Goodwin-Boyd brought in runs five, six and seven in the game and Goodwin-Boyd then scored the eighth on a sacrifice fly to cap the inning and give the Cardinals an 8-0 bulge. Middlebury had the bases loaded twice in the game but managed just one run from the opportunities as Yarusi got a key strikeout to end the threat in the fourth and a double-play grounder in the sixth brought in the only Panther run. Kelly had half the Middlebury hits in the game. For Wesleyan, Goodwin-Boyd, Joe Giaimo and Chris Bonti all had a pair of hits as the Cardinals collected eight in the contest.

Wesleyan scored more consistently in the second game, pushing across runs in five of the eight frames, including three in the first to erase a 1-0 deficit. Giaimo's single to center with the bases loaded plated a pair to put Wesleyan ahead for good, 2-1. Giaimo went 2-5 in the game with three RBI, giving him a team-leading 27 on the season. Middlebury used its only hit off starter Blout in the top of the first to get the early lead as Driscoll led off with a double, eventually stole third and scored on a ground out to the right side by junior Michael Morris (Scarsdale, N.Y.). Blout then went the next six innings without allowing the safety as only three Panthers reached base, one on a walk and two on errors. Two of them were wiped out on a caught-stealing situation and a double-play ball.

Already ahead 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, Wesleyan added another three runs with Kyle Weiss singling in two runs with his safety to left with the bases loaded. Donnie Cimino, who like Weiss had three hits in the game, doubled in the third run of the frame to make it 9-1.

Middlebury got a pair in the eighth off the Cardinal relief staff, using a hit, two walks and two Wesleyan errors to push across a pair of unearned runs.
• Baseball team record: 8-8
• Up next: 4/11 @ Skidmore, 4/13 @ Hamilton, 4/14 @ Hamilton (2)