MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University baseball team swept a two-game doubleheader against NESCAC West Division-rival Middlebury on Saturday at Dresser Diamond, as juniors Mike McCaffrey and Pat Clare combined for a no-hitter during a 1-0 triumph during first-game action in Middletown, Conn.
The last Cardinals' no-hitter was recorded on April 11, 1981, by Ed Keohan '83 during a 7-0 win over Clark.
The Cardinals opened their NESCAC West slate with two wins, which is crucial because there are only 12 league games during the course of the spring, and the top-two teams from the East and West Divisions qualify for the conference playoffs.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 1, Middlebury 0 – 7 innings):
- The Cardinals (12-6, 2-0 NESCAC West Division) recorded the game-winning run in the first inning, as sophomore Chase Pratt tallied an RBI walk with one down and the bases loaded, and sophomore Alex Cappitelli scored from third.
- McCaffrey (2-2) was on fire all day on the mound, finishing with 10 strikeouts, as he did not allow a single hit through six innings of work. He gained momentum in the first inning by striking out the side, as the Warwick, R.I. native leads the team with 37 strikeouts on the season.
- Leading the way in the batting order for the hosts was sophomore Jake Alonzo, who went 2-for-3 at the dish, and Cappitelli chipped in with a single and a run. Senior Collin Andrews also contributed with a hit for Wesleyan.
- Junior pitcher Colby Morris (2-3) pitched exceptionally well for Middlebury (6-11, 2-3 NESCAC West Division), as he only gave up one earned run on four hits in six innings, to go along with eight strikeouts, but he was tagged with the loss. Clare threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning en route to earning the save for Wesleyan.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 12, Middlebury 8):
- The Cardinals took a commanding six-run advantage in the second inning, capped by a two-out, two-run single to center by Pratt, as junior Ryan Earle and senior Matt Jeye crossed home with the Cardinals' fifth and sixth runs, respectively.
- Freshman pitcher Kelvin Sosa (3-1) continued to impress during his rookie season, as he earned the win on the mound, giving up only two hits and no runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. He also sent 11 batters back to the dugout on strikeouts.
- Wesleyan added on another run in the third, and then Cappitelli pushed the advantage up to 8-0 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly to center, which scored junior Danny Rose. The lead ballooned up to 9-0 in the sixth on an RBI ground out to third by sophomore Tanner Fulkerson.
- In the seventh, the Panthers' bats woke up, as sophomore Brooks Carroll connected on a two-out RBI triple to right-center, and then with the bases loased, sophomore Alan Guild drove a deep fly ball down the right-field line, and an error by the right fielder allowed three more runs to score, as the visitors were within 9-4.
- In the bottom of the seventh, Wesleyan fired back with a trio of runs. Cappitelli drove an RBI single through the left side, which scored senior AJ Ferrara from third and sophomore Kevin Walek touched home off an error by the left fielder. A two-out RBI single to right by Earle gave the Cardinals a 12-4 lead.
- The Panthers did not go quietly in the top half of the ninth, putting four more runs on the board, with Guild tallying a sacrifice fly to left, and then with two down, senior Brendan Donohue slammed an RBI double to left, and senior Raj Palekar connected on a two-run single down the left-field line.
- Freshman starting pitcher Will Oppenheim (1-1) was tagged with the loss for Middlebury. Walek led the way in Wesleyan's lineup, as he went 2-for-2 with a double and three runs scored, while Pratt also posted a multi-hit game.
- The Cardinals will take on Middlebury in the series finale on Sunday at noon from Dresser Diamond.