Relive Wesleyan Baseball's 2015 NESCAC Championship
Guy Davidson '16 ) sent a ball over the left-field fence in the top of the 12th inning for his fifth home run of the year on the first pitch in the top of the 12th inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and propelling Wesleyan (28-9) to its second straight NESCAC baseball tournament title with a 4-3 decision over Amherst (26-13) at Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H. Sun., May 10. It was the second game of the day between the Little Three/NESCAC West rivals as Amherst forced a seventh and deciding game in the tournament with a 3-1 triumph in the day's opener. Wesleyan secured the automatic bid from the NESCAC into the NCAA Division III Championship. The Cardinals are the #2 seed in the New England regional and will take on Curry in a first-round game Wed., May 13 in Harwich, Mass. Amherst received an at-large selection when the tournament pairings were announced and will play in the New York regional. Wesleyan pushed the title game into extra innings when Andrew Yin '15 stroked his third double of the contest as it landed on the right-field line, bringing home Ellis Schaefer '17, who had been hit by a pitch with one out by senior John Cook. Cook was making his first relief appearance of the year for Amherst after eight starts as one of the Lord Jeffs aces. Amherst had erased a 2-0 deficit in the seventh inning, using the long ball to score all of its runs during a three-run frame. Junior Mike Odenwaelder started the rally with a bomb over the left-field fence to make it a 2-1 game. It was his team-leading seventh homer of the season. Four batters later with Wesleyan reliever Nick Miceli '17 on the mound, spelling starter Peter Rantz '16, freshman Sam Ellinwood hit a high fly to left that just eluded the glove of left fielder Marco Baratta '16 at the short brick wall about 310 feet from home plate. It fell over for a two-run homer with sophomore Anthony Spina aboard after a fielder's choice grounder following a walk. The Cardinals had scored single runs in the fifth and seventh innings with Yin scoring both runs after hitting his first two doubles. Davidson drove him in with a single in the fifth while Donnie Cimino '15 did the honors in the seventh. Amherst used seven pitchers in the title game with Odenwaelder the last of the group as he took the loss in his only pitching appearance of the year, giving up just the one hit and one run in the final two innings. Wesleyan's Ethan Rode '17 made his sixth appearance of the year in relief and gave up just one hit over the final two innings to get his first win of the year. He was the fifth Cardinal pitcher. The only hurler on the day to go more than 2.1 innings was Wesleyan's Rantz as he went 6.1 inning, giving up only three hits and two runs. Wesleyan outhit Amherst, 12-9, led by Yin and Cimino with three hits each. Odenwaelder and Ellinwood both had two safeties for Amherst. In the day's first encounter, won by the Lord Jeffs, Amherst broke a 1-1 deadlock in the fourth inning with a pair of runs, courtesy of an Odenwaelder single and a sophomore Yanni Thanopoulos double to right field, plating the go-ahead run. When Thanopoulos stole third base, the throw was wide of the bag and into left field, allowing the third Amherst run to score. Wesleyan had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as a two-out double to center field by Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 brought home Yin, who led off the frame with a single to right. The Lord Jeffs came back to tie in the third inning with an unearned run. Senior Tyler Jacobs began the stanza with a single on the left side, went to second on a passed ball and advanced twice by sacrifice bunts, the last a squeeze well-executed by freshman Harry Roberson. Amherst third baseman Ellinwood helped keep it a 3-1 game in the sixth inning with a great fielding play on a hard grounder by Goodwin-Boyd that he snagged backhand on one hop and turned into a double play with a Cardinal runner at first at the time. Wesleyan threatened in the ninth inning after Amherst reliever sophomore Mike Castiglie, working his second frame, issued walks to Jon Dennett '15 and Baratta to being the inning. After a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position, Castiglie got two Cardinals to pop up foul to the right side to end the game and pick up his team-leading fifth save of the season. Freshman Sam Schneider, who tossed four scoreless innings of relief with four hits allowed, improved to 4-1 on the season with the win. Wesleyan's Sam Elias '15 suffered his first loss of the campaign against seven wins, going the distance while yielding nine hits and two earned run with six strikeouts and no walks.