Baseball opens weekend with walk off win over Williams

Baseball opens weekend with walk off win over Williams

The Hamilton Continentals opened their final NESCAC West Division series of the season with a dramatic walk-off win, beating the visiting Williams Ephs 7-4 Friday evening at Hamilton's Loop Road Baseball/Softball Complex. Ryan Wolfsberg '17 hit two home runs, including the three-run game winner in the bottom of the ninth.

The Continentals evened their record at 14-14 and are 2-7 in NESCAC West play. With at least three games left, Hamilton is two wins away from matching the school record for wins in a season; the Continentals have posted 16 victories three times in the past four years.

Wolfsberg's walk-off shot tied one career record, broke another, and extended two more (that he'd set earlier in the game). The home run was the 13th of his career, tying John Porges' '07 school mark. Wolfsberg also hit a two-run home run in the first to account for Hamilton's first scoring; his five runs batted in raised his career total to 91, passing Pat McGarry '07, who drove in 88. His two home runs and a single on the day pushed his career tally to 215 total bases, giving him another Continental record; Sam Choate '12 had recorded 206 to set the previous mark. Wolfsberg also became the program's all-time hits leader with 137. Joe Jensen '15 held the old mark of 135 hits.

The ninth inning opened with Jordan Northrup '19 reaching on an infield hit when his slow roller toward third came to a stop on the third base line. After a one-out walk to Brett Mele '17, Wolfsberg sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for the win.

The dramatic win came after the visiting Ephs (15-10, 4-6 NESCAC West) had loaded the bases in the top of the inning. Nate Michalski reached on an infield single to lead off the ninth but was cut down at second on an attempted sacrifice when Mele fielded the bunt from behind the plate and forced him at second. A walk and hit batter loaded the bases before reliever Tom Riley '20 retired the Ephs' third-place hitter on a fly ball to center field.

Riley earned the win, the first of his career, after coming in with two outs in the ninth.

The visitors took a one-run lead twice in the first three innings, then tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the seventh.

After Williams scored a run in the top of the first, Hamilton needed just three batters to take the lead. Chris Collins '17 led off with an infield single and two batters later Wolfsberg sent an opposite-field home run over the fence.

The Ephs strung together four hits in the third to go up 3-2. Alex Panstares led off with a double and scored two batters later when Jack Cloud doubled into the left-field corner. Jack Roberts gave the Ephs their final lead with a single to right center.

Hamilton pushed across an unearned run in the sixth to pull even. Dean Rosenberg '18 walked with one out and a single by Robert Morris '17 put runners on first and second. Northrup hit a ground ball to the pitcher but the Ephs' attempt at an inning-ending double play resulted in a wild throw to the outfield and Rosenberg scored on the error.

Hamilton starter Finlay O'Hara '17 allowed seven hits over his six innings of work. Justin Schirmacher '20 got the next eight outs, allowing two hits before handing the ball over to Riley.

Cloud finished with three of the Ephs' eight hits. He doubled to lead off the game and scored on a Roberts sacrifice fly. He also preserved Williams' lead with a diving catch to end the bottom of the fifth inning as Hamilton left the bases loaded.

The Continentals' defense had cut down a run in the top of that inning. Michael Stamas singled and moved to third on a wild pitch and a ground ball. Kellen Hatheway followed with a sharp grounder to third but Rosenberg fielded it and threw Stamas out at the plate with Mele applying the tag.

The two teams conclude the weekend series with a noon doubleheader Saturday.