Baseball splits with Wesleyan, wins NESCAC West series

Photo by Josh McKee
Photo by Josh McKee

The Hamilton College Continentals and Wesleyan University Cardinals split a NESCAC West Division doubleheader at Hamilton's Loop Road Baseball/Softball Complex on Saturday.

The Continentals (12-11, 2-3 NESCAC West) took the opener 5-1 and Wesleyan prevailed 9-4 in the second game. Hamilton captured the series against the Cardinals by virtue of the Continentals' 3-2 victory on Friday. Hamilton posted its first series win against Wesleyan in at least 18 years.

The Continentals are scheduled to host Bates College -- a member of the NESCAC East Division -- on Tuesday, April 17 at 4 p.m.

Game 1: Hamilton 5, Wesleyan 1

Gavin Schaefer-Hood '21 boasted his best pitching performance thus far in his Hamilton career. Schaefer-Hood (3-3) didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning and ended up with a complete game gem. He allowed one run on three hits and two walks and fanned seven in seven innings. He lowered his ERA to 3.81 in 28.1 innings and he leads the staff with 27 strikeouts.

Matt Zaffino '21 extended his hitting streak to 15 games, a streak that ended later in the nightcap, with a double. Jarrett Lee '21, who has a .474 on-base percentage, drew a pair of walks.

While Schaefer-Hood was shutting down the Cardinals, the Continentals didn't generate much offense against Wesleyan starter Kelvin Sosa (3-2) either. Sosa allowed just one hit through the first three innings -- a single by Matt Cappelletti '21.

Hamilton finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth when Rich Marooney '21 coaxed a one-out walk and came all the way around to score on a double to left-center field by Graham McOsker '20.

The Continentals blew things wide open in the fifth with four runs on three hits and a hit batsman. Ethan Wallis '21 led off with a single through the left side and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lee. Cappelletti was hit by a pitch and Wallis put runners at the corners by stealing third base. Zaffino cleared the bases with a double over the left fielder's head, and he made it 4-0 when he scored on a triple to right by Dean Rosenberg '18. Shortstop Kevin Walek made a nice diving stop on a smash off the bat of Marooney but his throw was wild, and when it skipped away from the first baseman, it allowed Rosenberg to trot home from third.

The Cardinals (15-8, 4-2) seemed primed for a big inning in the top of the sixth when their first three batters reached base including Alex Cappitelli, who drove in Walek with a single through the left side, but Schaefer-Hood shut things down. He got the first out on a fielder's choice at third, induced a ground ball to second base, and ended the inning by striking out Chase Pratt with runners on second and third.

Schaefer-Hood shut the door in the seventh by allowing just a one-out single and striking out Walek to end the game.

Game 2: Wesleyan 9, Hamilton 4

Marooney went 2-for-3 with a walk and stole two bases for the Continentals, but pitcher Mike Borek '18 starred for Hamilton in the second game. After the Continentals fell behind 9-2 in the fourth, Borek tossed five shutout innings in relief, allowing just two hits and two walks. He had pitched just 7.2 innings in his Hamilton career coming into the day. Tom Riley '20 (1-2) pitched the first two innings and took the loss.

Alec Olmstead (3-1) earned the win by giving up just four hits and striking out nine in 6.2 innings. Olmstead did walk five and surrender four runs. Ryan Earle, who has four saves this year, moved from first base to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and didn't allow a run over the final 2.1 innings. Cappitelli doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in three. Kauf had three hits, including a double, and Matt Jeye singled, doubled and plated three runs. Nick Valicenti went 2-for-2 with two walks out of the ninth spot in the lineup.

Wesleyan scored two runs in the first inning, two in the second, four in the third and one more in the fourth. Two-run doubles by Cappitelli and Jeye in the top of the third gave the Cardinals an 8-0 cushion.

The Continentals countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Northrup '19 singled to right and went to third on Wallis' one-out double that the center fielder charged, dove for and missed. Northrup scored on Lee's ground ball to first base and Wallis made it 8-2 when he scampered home on a wild pitch.

Hamilton made it 9-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Goodman led off with a walk and went to second on a wild pitch. After two strikeouts, Marooney hit an infield single that was knocked down behind second base and Goodman went to third. Goodman scored soon afterwards when he and Marooney executed a double steal.

The Continentals nearly put together a big inning in the seventh. Wallis walked with two outs and advanced to second on Lee's infield single, which signaled the end of the day for Olmstead. Marooney greeted Earle with a single through the right side that scored Wallis. A walk to Zaffino loaded the bases but Earle recovered by striking out the next batter to end the inning. Earle allowed only a bunt base hit over the last two innings.