Baseball earns NESCAC West split with Middlebury in Florida

Jordan Northrup '19 (Josh McKee photo)
Jordan Northrup '19 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Gavin Schaefer-Hood '21 pitched a gem in the opener and the Continentals split a NESCAC West Division doubleheader with the Middlebury College Panthers at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven, Florida, on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton (8-8, 1-2 NESCAC West) posted a 5-1 win in Game 1 but Middlebury responded with a 10-1 victory in the nightcap. The Panthers (10-5, 2-1) won the series by defeating the Continentals 7-2 on Friday.

Hamilton is off until another division matchup on Friday, April 5 against Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The contest starts at 4 p.m. 

Game 1

Schaefer-Hood improved to 4-0 by allowing just one run on five hits and three walks in seven innings. The complete-game performance helped lower his earned run average to 1.86 in 29 innings this spring.

Hamilton racked up nine singles and five players drove in a run. Brady Slinger '22 had two hits and scored two runs, Nate Goodman '20 singled twice, and Craig Sandford '19 collected a base hit, walked and was hit by a pitch. Slinger had hit safely in four straight games and was 8-for-16 during that stretch.

Middlebury's Brooks Carroll went 2-for-3 and Kevin Woodring walked twice. Michael Farinelli (1-1) allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings.

The Continentals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Goodman led off with an infield single and went to third on Sandford's base hit to center. Goodman eventually scored on a balk. The Panthers tied the score in the bottom of the third on Carroll's two-out single to center that plated Andrew Gough.

Hamilton took the lead for good on a pair of runs scored with two outs in the fifth inning. Ethan Wallis '21 had got on base with a fielder's choice and moved to second on a groundout to the shortstop. Wallis came around on Slinger's single to right field, Slinger advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit to center by Matt Zaffino '21.

The Continentals scored two more runs with two outs in the seventh inning. After an error, an infield single and a walk loaded the bases, Goodman drove in Wallis with a single to left field. Sandford was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded and that forced in Slinger.

Game 2

Hamilton boasted eight hits and four walks but left 11 runners on base. Jordan Northrup '19 topped the offense with three hits, Zaffino added two and Ethan Murphy '22 cracked his first double for the Continentals. Northrup had his first three-hit game since April 7, 2018. Brian Lawson '20 (1-2) struck out four in the first three innings and took the loss. Sam Thoreen '22 and Carl Maxwell '22 pitched one scoreless inning in relief apiece.

Middlebury scored three runs in the fourth, four more in the fifth and added the last three in the seventh. Justin Han, Carroll, Henry Strmecki, Hayden Smith and Sam Graf contributed two hits each. Gray Goolsby tripled and drove in two runs. Colin Waters (2-1) allowed one run on five hits and three walks and fanned seven in six innings for the win.

Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second despite Waters retiring the first two batters in the inning. Rich Marooney '21 singled to right field, Wallis walked and Northrup scored Marooney with a single to left.

Goolsby put the Panthers in the lead with a two-run triple in the fourth inning. Middlebury built a 7-1 cushion with four runs in the fifth on two hits, two errors and three hit batsmen. The Panthers had six of their 13 hits in their three-run seventh.