Baseball hands Amherst first loss of the season

By Ben Fields '15

After a great start to the season, men’s baseball has been enjoying one of their best years in a long time. Since their dominating win in the Jackie Robinson Classic over Utica College, the Continentals have gone 5-5 in a difficult stretch. Travelling to Middlebury on April 13, the Conts managed to walk away with a win against their NESCAC rivals. After their road trip, they eked a non-conference win over Cazenovia College, 7-6, in Rome, NY on April 15 and split a doubleheader against Keuka College on the 17th. This past weekend, Hamilton hosted the conference leading Lord Jeffs of Amherst College. In an impressive pitchers duel, the Conts handed Amherst its first conference loss of the season, while Amherst took the other two games. The Conts then pulled out a nice win against St. Lawrence University, 10-7.

This past weekend against Amherst, the Continentals’ pitching keyed their impressive win in the series. Against a loaded Amherst roster that had yet to lose a NESCAC West game, the Conts held their ground and ended a nine-game win streak for the Lord Jeffs. In their first game of their three game series, Hamilton kept it competitive with a strong showing from starting pitcher Alex Pachella ’15. He allowed only two earned runs on seven hits while striking out a season-high eight batter in over five innings. Sophomore Joe Jensen began his impressive weekend of base-running with two stolen bases. Although Hamilton lost 4-1, they started off their weekend with several positives and were able to go into the next day’s double-header with confidence.

Opening the day on Sunday, JJay Lane ’15 had one of the most impressive pitching outings of the season. Going seven innings and allowing only five hits, Lane brought his earned run average down to an impressive 0.94 and kept his 13-inning scoreless streak alive. On the impressive pitching, Coach Tim Byrnes remarked, “I really thought we competed at a very high level this past weekend […] Our pitching was outstanding.” Coming in for relief, junior Tommy Moriarty pitched a scoreless eight inning picking up the win for the Continentals. Continuing his stolen base streak, Jensen stole two bases to set up the wining run in the eighth inning. On top of the impressive pitching, captain Gabe Klein ’13 had a strong defensive game and continued to lead the team both on and off the field.

The second game of the double-header brought less luck to the Continentals. Although they went up 2-0 in the third inning, the Lord Jeffs were able to cut the lead in the fourth inning. Amherst put the final nail in the coffin in the sixth inning scoring an insurance run on top of their 5-3 lead. Although they split the pair of games with Amherst, the Continentals finally broke the strangle hold Amherst has had on the series since 2009.

Hamilton looks to take their momentum into their final NESCAC West series against Williams College this coming weekend. The team has a chance to finish with a .500 conference record for the first time in program history. Although this will be a tough final home stand, Coach Byrnes is confident “that if our guys can stay focused and continue improving […] we have a chance to accomplish this feat [winning the series].” The Ephs are currently in the basement of the NESCAC West, giving hope to the Conts to pull of the needed three-game sweep.

This has already been a very impressive season for the Continentals. Currently they sit in a distant third place in the NESCAC West, but they have pulled out some impressive non-conference wins as well as their victory against Amherst. “This season has already surpassed my expectations, this team has really grown up quickly…” Coach Byrnes remarked. With a young team of 19 underclassmen, they have relied on the leadership of a core group of seniors. This leadership has lead to a solid season, and Byrnes believes that “if we can finish out this season on a successful run, we will carry over great momentum into the 2014 season!”

The Continentals stay at home for the rest of the season. They take on Williams this weekend in a three-game series at Royce Field. Following their NESCAC West season, they finish out the year with a double-header versus the SUNY IT Wildcats in Rome, NY on April 30.


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