Baseball ends season with 8-2 NESCAC West win over Amherst

Brian Lawson '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Brian Lawson '20 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College Continentals ended 2018 with an historic 8-2 NESCAC West Division win against the Amherst College Mammoths at Trinity College's Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium on Thursday night.

Hamilton (17-17, 4-8 NESCAC West) set a program record with its 17th victory this year. The Continentals had won 16 games in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Hamilton started the season with seven straight losses but posted a 17-10 record the rest of the way.

The Continentals received a dominating performance from their three pitchers, who combined to hold Amherst (19-11, 6-3) to two hits. The Mammoths average seven runs per game and are hitting .304 as a team.

Brian Lawson '20 (3-3) started on the mound and allowed one run on just one single and struck out five in five innings. Lawson finished the season with a 2.33 ERA in 38.2 innings. Gavin Schaefer-Hood '21 gave up one run on one hit in three innings of relief, and Dan DePaoli '18 wrapped up his Hamilton career by tossing a perfect ninth.

Matt Zaffino '21 led the Continentals' offense with two singles and two runs batted in. Zaffino finished his first year with a .359 batting average, 22 runs batted in and 30 runs scored. Designated hitter Matt Carney '21, who had two hits coming into the evening, went 3-for-5. Matt Cappelletti '21 singled and smashed his second triple.

Max Steinhorn and Nick Nardone had the hits for Amherst, and Nardone and Ariel Kenney drove in the runs. Starting pitcher Davis Brown (5-3) allowed six runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings and took the loss.

Hamilton jumped all over Brown right away in the top of the first inning. Jarrett Lee '21 was hit by a pitch and Nate Goodman '20 and Zaffino loaded the bases with singles to center field and nobody out. Craig Sandford '19 drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and, after a base hit by Cappelletti loaded the bases again, Graham McOsker '20 plated another run with a fly ball to center field.

The Continentals took a 3-1 lead in the third inning when Zaffino singled and scored on Cappelletti's two-out triple to left field. Hamilton moved out to a 6-1 cushion with three runs in the fourth inning. Sam Rowley '20 singled, John Carey '19 drew a walk, and Rowley eventually scored on a pair of wild pitches. Lee drove in Carey with a single to right field and later scored after a Goodman walk, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to right field by Zaffino.

Another run in the eighth gave the Continentals a 7-1 advantage. Carey led off with a single and Lee drew a walk. Both runners moved up on Goodman's sacrifice bunt and Carey scored on Zaffino's flyout to left field.

Hamilton added one more run in the ninth thanks to some miscues by the Mammoths. McOsker reached base on an infield error and Carney singled. After both runners moved up on a passed ball, Joe Suski '21 drove in McOsker with a fly ball to right field. The sacrifice fly was the fifth of the night by Hamilton batters.

DePaoli finished off the win -- and the Continentals' record-setting season -- by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the ninth on a strikeout and two pop-ups in the infield.