Panther baseball improves to 13-6

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College baseball team won three out of four recent non-league games, including its Sunday home opener, to improve to 13-6.
The Panthers will visit Williams this weekend for a three-game NESCAC West series. The Ephs are 13-3, but 1-2 in league play. The Panthers are 2-1 in league play, while Amherst, Hamilton and Wesleyan all sit at 3-3 in a crowded five-team race for two playoff berths.
On Sunday the Panthers pounded out a 15-6 win over Plymouth State (9-11) in the Panthers’ home opener. Middlebury took a 6-1 lead early on and then scored seven runs in the fifth on five hits, doubles by Andrew Hennings and Phil Bernstein and singles by Sam Guild, Brooks Carroll and Kevin Woodring.
Michael Farinelli (2-1) picked up the win, allowing one run on three hits over six innings while fanning eight. Spencer Shores tossed a scoreless seventh.
Bernstein finished the game with three doubles and three RBIs, while Carroll doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in two runs. Guild had two hits, four runs, two walks and two RBIs, while Woodring came off the bench to double and single and drive in a run.
The Panthers also stole seven bases to up their total to 69 in 10 games, 10 short of the program record set a year ago. Carroll (14 steals), Justin Han (11) and Henry Strmecki (10) lead the team. As of Monday they were running 2-3-4 in the league in the category.
 On Saturday the Panthers split a doubleheader with NESCAC East team Tufts (15-4), losing the opener, 4-3, in eight innings and winning the nightcap, 9-6.
In the opener, Tufts took the lead in the second on Justin Mills’ two-run single. Middlebury made it 2-1 in the third on a Hennings RBI double. Middlebury took a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Carroll walked and Jake Dianno singled, both stole bases, and Sam Graf singled them home. But the Jumbos tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a JP Knight homer off starter Colby Morris.
Tufts scored in the eighth on a walk, a Will Shackleford double, and a Mills sacrifice fly off losing pitcher Alex Price. Tufts reliever Aidan Tucker allowed just one walk over two innings and struck out three to earn the win.
In the nightcap, Middlebury scored two in the first on a Dianno sacrifice fly and a Hayden Smith RBI single, one in the second on a Bernstein RBI, and one in the third on a Strmecki homer to make it 4-0.
Tufts cut the margin to 4-2 in the fourth, but the Panthers responded with four runs in the fifth, when Ryan Hanrahan drilled a three-run homer after another RBI single from Smith. Smith added a sacrifice fly in the ninth after a Panther double steal.
Andrew Martinson picked up the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, and Bobby Sullivan earned his first career save.
On April 3 the Panthers crunched host RPI, 14-7, overcoming an early 7-2 deficit and clinching the win with six runs in the ninth. 
Strmecki homered, singled twice, scored twice, stole two bases and drove in three runs to pace the Panthers. Woodring tripled, singled and scored twice; Carroll poked two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases; Graf drilled an RBI double; and Gray Goolsby had a hit and drove in four runs. Price picked up the win with 2.1 innings of relief, allowing two hits and one unearned run.

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