Lyons shift gears to NEWMAC Championship series this weekend
NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College baseball team dropped a 5-3 non-conference decision in ten innings to Amherst College on Thursday evening at Sidell Stadium on Senior Day.
Prior to today's contest, Wheaton seniors Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep), Zach Bombard (Belchertown, Mass./Cathedral), Zach Horton (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro), Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical), Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville), Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) and student assistant coach Brian Mylett were all honored for their contributions towards the program.
Amherst sophomore reliever Chris Baldi (Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah) earned the win (1-1) on 2/3 of an inning, two hits and one strikeout. First-year Sam Schneider (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla) locked down his first collegiate save with a deep line out to right center and a foul out to the third baseman in the tenth.
Sophomore starter Jackson Volle (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) received the no-decision on 8 2/3 innings pitched, six hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and a game-high six strikeouts.
Wheaton first-year reliever Chris Fowler (Centerville, Mass./Barnstable) was tagged with the loss (0-1) on 2/3 of an inning, three hits, two runs (both earned), two walks and a strikeout. The Lyons used nine pitchers in total in the matchup. Six of those relievers did not allow a run, which was highlighted by sophomore Jack Fant's (McLean, Va./McLean) two shutout innings (fourth and fifth).
Tied 3-3 in the top of the tenth, the Jeffs rallied for a pair of runs with two outs in the frame to claim their only extra innings victory of the season.
Senior Brendon Hardin (Riverside, Conn./Brunswick School) kept the inning alive with a hard-hit double down the left field line. Classmate Tyler Jacobs (Westport, Conn./Staples) took the first two pitches he saw in the next at-bat and eventually was intentionally walked by Wheaton to set up a force at any base.
First-year Sam Ellinwood (Stamford, Conn./Staples) followed with a ground ball between short and third base, but Lyons' sophomore shortstop Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) made a fantastic diving stop in the hole to keep Hardin from scoring the go-ahead run.
First-year Harry Roberson (Arlington, Mass./Belmont Hill School) then came through with the big hit for Amherst, a two-run single through the left side, in the next at-bat to take a 5-3 lead.
After Fowler issued a walk to junior Andrew Vandini (Walpole, Mass./St. Sebastian's School), Wheaton junior Mike Koperniak (Adams, Mass./Hoosac Valley) shut down any chance of a bigger inning for the Jeffs with a pop up to Peluso at second base.
In the bottom of the tenth, De La Cruz put a jolt into a fastball in the left center gap with runners on first and second and one out, but Jacobs tracked down the potential line drive double to maintain the two-run advantage. Schneider then induced a foul to third to end the game.
Wheaton struck for one run in the first as junior Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Amherst countered with a solo run in third on RBI bunt single off the bat of junior Mike Odenwaelder (Goshen, Conn./Wamogo Regional).
The Lyons went on to score one run in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, before Amherst mounted its comeback win.
In the fourth, Silvestro stole home on a failed squeeze play, while Lavanchy scolded an RBI single to right center in the fifth.
The Jeffs evened the score in the seventh on a throwing error and an RBI single up the middle by Vandini.
Wheaton (24-13) travels to MIT this Saturday to play the Engineers in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship best of three series. Saturday's games will be played at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, while Sunday's if necessary game will get underway at 1 p.m.
Amherst (20-10) visits Springfield College on Saturday for a non-conference doubleheader at 12/3 p.m.
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