Baseball Ends Season At NESCAC's

May 14, 2011

The Middlebury baseball team saw its season come to an end with a 7-2 loss to Amherst in the NESCAC Tournament.  Amherst junior Kevin Heller smashed a grand slam to left center field, breaking a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Jeffs to the win in a game played at AIC Park in Springfield, Mass. The Panthers end their season with a 15-16 mark.

Middlebury struck first in the bottom of the second inning when senior Andrew Somberg hit his first home run of the season. Amherst left fielder Brian Merrigan appeared to have the second out of the inning as he drifted toward the left field fence, however Merrigan’s momentum carried him into the wall and the ball popped out of his glove and over the fence.

The Lord Jeffs evened the score with two outs in the next half-inning, as Merrigan came in from third when the Panther shortstop mishandled a shot to the hole by junior Thomas Wheeler .

Somberg put the Panthers back on top in the bottom of the fourth inning with a one-out single to right field. After senior Donald McKillop and junior Zach Roeder singled to lead off the inning, sophomore Michael Morris moved them over with a sacrifice bunt. Somberg’s second hit of the day brought home McKillop from third, and Roeder scored when the right fielder’s throw to third missed its mark and rolled past the Jeffs’ third baseman.

Amherst tied the contest once again in the top of the seventh. The Jeffs managed to load the bases with two outs, and sophomore Bob Cook drove in two with a single to right field. Amherst could not grab the lead, though, as the next batter popped up to end the seventh.

The Lord Jeffs would get the winning runs in the next inning. Senior Scott Schaffer walked to lead off the inning, and the Panthers decided to make a change and bring in sophomore John Wiet to relieve classmate Michael Joseph. Wiet allowed a walk and hit a batter before Heller’s heroics put Amherst in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game.

The Panthers went in order in the bottom of the eighth and threatened in the ninth, leading off with back-to-back hits and loading the bases at one point, however rookie reliever Cam Windham shut the door to earn the save.

Senior Ryan Healy got the win on the hill for Amherst, tossing 8.0 innings and scattering eight hits while striking out six and surrendering just one walk. Middlebury’s Joseph was effective during his appearance, which lasted over 100 pitches in 7.0 innings for the no-decision. He allowed nine hits and three walks while striking out six.