April 18, 2011

          The Middlebury College baseball team fell to Skidmore mid-week, before dropping two of three to Wesleyan with all games taking place at home.

Four Skidmore pitchers allowed just four hits over nine innings, combing for a 6-0 victory over Middlebury on Forbes Field. The Thoroughbreds (14-5) led 3-0 late, before plating three runs in the ninth to gain some breathing room and pick up the victory.

          Zach Rudman (2-1) earned the win, tossing three innings of no-hit ball, striking out three. Jordan Keysor also tossed three shutout innings, followed by Bobby Stafutti with two and Issac Forman, who closed out the game.

          Skidmore took a 1-0 lead in the first when Matty Tatkow singled to center and later scored on an RBI groundout by Zach Brown. The Thoroughbreds scored twice in the fourth, with RBI singles from Mike Pannozzi and Tatkow to make it a 3-0 game. Middlebury first-year starter Dylan Kane (Sands Point, N.Y.) (1-1) was chased from the game in the fourth, giving way to sophomore  Andy Dittrich (Woodbury, Minn.) who threw 3.1 scoreless innings.

          Skidmore added three more runs in the ninth inning, with the big blow coming on a two-out double to center by Rudman to plate Brown and Rob Rubenstein. Junior Dirk vanDuym (Madison, Wis.) was lifted, with junior Will Baine (Rye, N.Y.) coming on to retire the final batter of the inning.        

          Along with earning the win, Rudman went 2-5 with a double and two runs scored, while Logan Arena was 2-4 and Tatkow went 2-4 with two runs scored. Junior Zach Roeder (Keene, N.H.) and sophomores Thomas Rafferty (Chicago, Ill.), Michael Morris (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and sophomore Thomas Driscoll (New Canaan, Conn.) each singled for the Panthers.

Middlebury led 10-2 early and held on for a 12-7 win over Wesleyan in game one of a three-game NESCAC West series on Middlebury’s Forbes Field.

          Wesleyan came out swinging in the first inning, with Justin Freres drilling a two-run shot to left after Julian Sonnenfeld had walked. Middlebury answered strongly in the bottom of the inning scoring six runs on six hits, sending 10 men to the plate. After a lead-off walk by senior Tyler Wark (Burlington, Vt.), seven of the next eight batters singled off Wesleyan starter Jimmy Hill, who entered with a 4-0 mark and a 1.26 ERA. Driscoll had a two-run single to center in the inning, leaving the Panthers with a 6-2 lead after one inning of play.

          Middlebury added to the lead in the second, chasing Hill from the game after a lead-off single to center by Baine. After an RBI single up the middle by Morris, sophomore Joseph Conway (Hummelstown, Pa.) followed with a three-run bomb to left center, making it a 10-2 game.

          Middlebury senior starter Nick Angstman (Williston, Vt.) gave up a run in the third and four more in the fourth, giving way to Dittrich who tossed 2.1 scoreless innings. Seven of the first eight Wesleyan batters reached base in the fourth, with run-scoring singles from Kyle Weiss, Alex Meadow and Freres.

          The Panthers added two more runs in the sixth, with a run-scoring double to left center by senior Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.) and an RBI single from Roeder to make it a 12-7 final.  Sophomore Tyler Buckingham (Montclair, N.J.) (2-0) tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless ball to pick up his second win over the season. Sophomore John Popkowski (New York, N.Y.) threw a scoreless ninth for the Panthers.

          Baine finished the day 4-5 with three runs scored, while Conway was 3-4 with a homer, three RBI and two runs scored. Roeder and Morris also had multiple hit days for the Panthers.

          Wesleyan blanked Middlebury 6-0 in game one and then scored five runs in the ninth to pick up an 11-10 win over the Panthers in game two. After a 12-7 win by Middlebury on Friday, the Cardinals took the series 2-1, improving to 15-13 overall and 5-4 in NESCAC play. The Panthers fall to 8-9 on the year, also 5-4 in league play.

          Wesleyan’s Brett Yarusi tossed a three-hit shutout in game one (seven innings), improving to 3-3 on the season. The righty faced just five batters over the minimum, striking out a pair, while walking one. The Cardinals scored two runs in the second, fourth and seventh to pick up the victory.

          Singles by Justin Freres and Joe Giaimo started the second for Wesleyan, with Freres scoring on a fielding error and Giaimo crossing the plate on a single to left by Noah Feingold.

          A bases loaded fielder’s choice by Kyle Weiss scored Feingold, with Alex Meadow also scoring on the play after an error.

          Middlebury had its best chance to score in the fifth, but left the bases loaded.

          The Cardinals tacked on two runs in the seventh with an unearned run scoring on a throwing error and another crossing the plate on a wild pitch.

          Feingold finished the game 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI, while Giaimo went 2-4 with a run scored. Roeder, Driscoll and rookie Alex Kelly (Rockville, Md.) each had singles for Middlebury, as sophomore Michael Joseph (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) (1-2) threw the complete game, suffering the loss.

In game two, Wesleyan scored four two-out runs in the first inning. After letting up a two-out single, Middlebury sophomore John Wiet (Morristown, N.J.) allowed a single and hit the next two batters to load the bases. A wild pitch by Wiet, during Jake Skinner’s at bat, allowed one run to score. After Skinner earned a walk to load the bases again, a passed ball with Meadow at the plate, scored another run. With runners on second and third, Meadow followed with a double to left-center, scoring two runners for a 4-0 lead.

After Middlebury scratched a run in the bottom of the first, the Panthers exploded with six runs in the second inning. After singles by Conway and Driscoll, Kelly reached on a fielder’s choice, but a throwing error on the play kept the bases loaded. Tyler Wark followed with a base-on-balls, plating Conway. With the bases still loaded, another error on a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by Baine allowed Driscoll to score from third. McKillop reached on a fielding error as Kelly scored from third. Roeder followed with a two run single, pushing McKillop to third. The final run came on an infield ground-out by Thomas Rafferty, allowing McKillop to score for a 7-4 lead.

Each team added runs in the middle innings, setting the score at 10-6 heading into the top of the ninth. Wiet stayed on the mound, looking for a complete game victory, facing the 8-9-1 batters to start the frame. Those hitters, Feingold, Stefan Sundseth and Weiss each singled, to load the bases.

Middlebury senior Scooter Scott (Marlboro, Vt.) came in and struck out Ryan Coffee. Julian Sonnenfeld singled through the right side for an RBI. Freres followed, hitting into a potential 4-6-3 game-ending double play, but a fielding error allowed all runners to advance, cutting the Panther lead to 10-6.

Scott was replaced by Popkowski with the bases-loaded and one out. Giaimo followed with a single through the right side, scoring two more runs, tying the game at 10 apiece. After Popkowski plunked Skinner to re-load the bases, Meadow reached on a fielder’s choice to short, beating out a potential double-play ball scoring Freres from third, giving the Cardinals an 11-10 lead.

In the final frame, Giaimo took the mound and struck out Driscoll to start the inning. The side-arm throwing lefty, who was playing centerfield for Wesleyan, allowed a single to Kelly, before striking out Wark and enticing Baine into a game-ending pop out for his second save.

          Middlebury pounded out 18 hits, as every Panther in the lineup earned at least one. Roeder went 4-5 with three RBI, while Driscoll and Michael Morris each went 3-5, as Morris added a double.

Wiet went eight innings, allowing nine runs, seven earned, striking out six. Scott (1-1) took the loss for Middlebury, going 0.1 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, as Popkowski finished the game pitching the final 0.2 innings fanning one.
• Baseball team record: 8-9
• Up next: 4/19 @ Castleton – 4:00, 4/20 @ St. Michael’s – 3:30, 4/22 vs. Hamilton – 4:00, 4/23 vs. Hamilton (2) – 12:00