Baseball Team Loses Two To Amherst
April 9, 2005
4/9/05 - Amherst completed its three-game sweep of Middlebury with 2-1 and 9-3 wins on Saturday, assuming sole possession of first place in the conference standings at 8-3 overall and 3-0 in league play. Middlebury falls to 7-7, 2-4 in NESCAC play.
Saturday's opener began as an old fashioned pitchers' duel between Amherst junior Joe Vladeck and Middlebury senior David Riester. The game remained scoreless until bottom of the sixth when Amherst senior Dave Powers drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI single by classmate Josh Santry, prompting Riester's exodus from the mound.
Down but not out, Middlebury rebounded with a run in the top of the seventh and final inning on a truly bizarre play. After the Panthers loaded the bases with back-to-back-to-back singles off Vladeck, Amherst brought senior closer Ed Imperatore into the game in a pressure-packed situation. Imperatore coaxed the Panthers into three straight pop-ups, which on an ordinary day would've ended the threat. But the second of the three was no run-of-the-mill fly - it was a sky-ball toward shallow right field that was tagged with the infield fly rule by the plate umpire. However, the ball fell earthward and landed softly on a patch of green grass, and the runner on third - Riester, who remained in the game as a defensive substitute - capitalized, tagging up and scampering home with the tying run. The confusion lay in the fact that the ball was never caught, and it was unclear if the infield fly rule should have in fact been enacted. But the play stood and the game seemed destined for extra innings, until Middlebury made two crucial errors in the bottom of the seventh, allowing Amherst junior center fielder Andrew Green to trot home with the winning run.
Middlebury rookie John Lanahan picked up the loss in relief, dropping to 2-2. Fellow first-year Ryan Whyte finished 3-for-3 with a trio of singles.
The second (nine-inning) game held a similar tone early on as Amherst entered the bottom of the seventh with a tenuous 3-1 cushion. The Jeffs drew first blood in the second inning as Powers doubled and scored on a single by sophomore right fielder Jared Banner, who also made a spectacular diving catch in Game 1. Junior DH Rob Anderson then plated Banner with an RBI double into the left-center-field gap to give Amherst a 2-0 cushion.
Middlebury managed a run off Amherst sophomore starter Brian Donahue in the fifth, but could've had much more, were it not for the second (and even more bizarre) play of the day. The Panthers started the inning with four straight singles, including a run-scoring hit by Whyte. But with the bases loaded and none out, Middlebury ran into some bad luck. First-year catcher Nick Lefeber squared and lined a bunt back toward Donahue, who made a sprawling catch and threw to Santry at third, doubling the runner there, before Santry threw to second to complete the triple play.
Middlebury had another golden opportunity in the top of the eighth, loading the bases against Donahue, but Imperatore came on again and forced an inning-ending ground out. The Jeffs then added four insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning to secure the win and Imperatore's second save of the season.
Senior Bryan Lodigiani, doubled singled and scored a run to pace Middlebury.
-- courtesy Amherst --