MIDDLEBURY — Finally playing on its home field, the Middlebury College baseball team dropped three weekend games to NESCAC West rival Amherst. The second-place Jeffs moved to 21-5, 7-1 in league play, while the Panthers fell to 4-15, 2-10. They have been eliminated from postseason play.
On Friday, The Jeffs swept a doubleheader, 3-0 and 2-1 in 10 innings.
Middlebury threatened early in game one but could not score, loading the bases in the second and third innings and leaving seven men on base through three innings.
Amherst took a 1-0 lead in the second on a single, two stolen bases and a groundout, and added its final two runs in the fifth on a single, a sacrifice, a double steal, a wild pitch, a hit batter, and an infield hit followed by a throwing error.
Middlebury put two more runners on in the sixth, but again could not score. Cooper Byrne (1-3) suffered the loss, allowing two earned runs and four hits over 6.1 innings. Joe MacDonald finished with a pair of hits for Middlebury, which outhit the Jeffs, 9-4.
The nightcap featured a pitchers’ duel between Middlebury’s Eric Truss and Amherst’s John Cook.
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE JUNIOR Matt Leach looks for a call on a tag at second base during Saturday's game against Amherst. The runner was called safe. Independent photo/Trent Campbell
In the top of the fifth, Amherst broke through against Truss when it pushed across an unearned run. The game remained that way until the bottom of the seventh when the hosts knotted the score at 1-1. Jason Lock doubled down the left field line, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Werner and scored on a wild pitch.
A leadoff homer in the 10th off Truss broke the tie before Jake Stalcup came on to record the final three outs. Cook worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning for the complete-game victory. Truss (0-5) allowed one earned on eight hits.
On Saturday, Amherst used three big innings in an 11-3 win. Middlebury took a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Alex Kelly and Johnny Read, a double steal, and MacDonald’s sacrifice fly.
In the top of the second Amherst took the lead with five runs on six hits. The Panthers produced a single run in the bottom of the second. Werner reached on an Amherst error in the outfield, moved to second when Matt Leach was hit by a pitch, and scored on a Kelly double.
Amherst pushed its advantage back to four at 6-2 with a run in the fourth, and Middlebury cut the lead to three at 6-3 in the fifth when Max Araya doubled home Kelly, who had singled and moved to second on a groundout.
Middlebury came no closer as the Jeffs tacked on two in the seventh and three more in the eighth for the 11-3 final.
Kelly raised his season average to .427 with a four-hit day. Logan Mobley (1-2) took the loss for Middlebury, giving up five runs on seven hits in 2.0 innings. Dylan Kane logged five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, while Sawyer Olson and Dylan Takamori each threw an inning.