Baseball wraps up Florida trip with fourth straight win

Craig Sandford '19 (Josh McKee photo)
Craig Sandford '19 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College Continentals took the lead with a five-run fifth inning and held on for a 9-8 non-conference victory against the Worcester State University Lancers at Lake Myrtle Field in Auburndale, Fla., on Thursday.

Hamilton (4-7 overall) wrapped up its annual Florida trip with its fourth straight win. The Continentals have scored 36 runs during their current win streak. Hamilton is scheduled to host SUNY Canton for a doubleheader on Sunday, March 25. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Craig Sandford '19 led the Continentals' offense with two hits. Sandford owns a .364 batting average with eight hits in 22 at-bats. Matt Zaffino '21 and Nate Goodman '20 added a double apiece, and Zaffino drove in two runs. Zaffino finished the Florida trip with 11 runs batted in and a .741 slugging percentage.

Arlyn Lopez '21 picked up his first collegiate win after he came on in the top of the fifth inning and pitched into the seventh. Lopez allowed three earned runs on three hits and struck out two batters in 2.1 innings. Ian Nish '19 got the final four outs for his second save in the last three games. Nish allowed one unearned run on no hits and fanned one.

Cooper Bigelow had three hits out of the ninth spot in the lineup for Worcester State (2-9). Mike Ferrara chipped in two hits and two runs batted in, and Ben Palatino went 2-for-4. Patrick Grow's three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning pulled the Lancers within 9-7. Luke Brennan suffered his second loss on the mound as he allowed five earned runs on three hits in 4.1 innings. Brennan, who struck out seven batters, got into trouble by issuing six walks and left the game after throwing 121 pitches.

Worcester State grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning but Hamilton seized a 2-1 advantage by scoring on an infield error and a groundout. The Lancers came right back with two unearned runs off Continentals starter Spencer Vogelbach '18 (4 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 3 K) in the top of the fourth. Hamilton tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ethan Wallis '21 that scored Sandford.

The Continentals sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning. Dean Rosenberg '18 drew a one-out walk and came around to score on Zaffino's double to left center. Zaffino moved to third base on a wild pitch and Goodman walked, which set up a perfectly executed double steal and led to Zaffino scampering home for a 5-3 advantage. After a single by Sandford, David Braverman '19 singled to left and plated Goodman. Wallis' base hit between first and second loaded the bases, and Jordan Northrup '19 came through by coaxing a two-out walk out of the reliever that forced in Sandford. Braverman made it 8-3 when he scored on a wild pitch.

Hamilton added a huge insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Rosenberg and Zaffino led off the inning with walks and Sandford's single to left-center field scored Rosenberg from second base.

The Continentals' defense, which committed six errors, nearly gave the game away in the top of the ninth. The first two Worcester State hitters reached on infield miscues to put runners at the corners. The Lancers put on a double steal that resulted in the run that cut Worcester State's deficit to 9-8, but the runner going to second was cut down by Sandford. With the bases clear, Nish punched out the next batter on a called third strike, and ended the game by getting the No. 7 hitter to pop out into foul territory on the first-base side.