Hamilton baseball earns split at Middlebury

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Hamilton College's JJay Lane '15 didn't allow an earned run in five innings in the first game of a NESCAC West Division doubleheader, and the Continentals earned a split with Middlebury College at Middlebury's Forbes Field on April 13.

The Continentals (9-14 overall, 2-3 NESCAC West) won the first game of a doubleheader for the first time this season after they scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory. Hamilton dropped the second game 5-4 as Middlebury scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch. The teams meet again at Middlebury for the rubber game on Sunday, April 14.

In the first game, Lane scattered five hits, gave up one unearned run and lowered his earned run average to 1.25 this season. Tommy Moriarty '14 (1-2) pitched two scoreless innings and picked up his first win this year. Moriarty has already made 17 relief appearances, which ties the single-season school record, in the first 23 games.

Gabe Klein '13 walked three times and forced in the game-winner with a bases-loaded walk for Hamilton. Colin Henneberger '14 and Steve LaRochelle '14 collected singles and Sam Fuentes '13 drove in a run.

Logan Mobley '15 (0-2), Mark Dickerson '15 and Noah Bakker '15 combined on a two-hitter for the Panthers. Mobley allowed one hit and one earned run in six innings, struck out four and walked five. Hunter Merryman '15 posted two hits, John Luke '16 had a double and Tom Rafferty '13 drove in the run.

Hamilton threatened in the first inning after a double steal put runners on second and third, but Henneberger and Klein, were left stranded in scoring position. Middlebury took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Thomas Driscoll '13 scored on Rafferty's sacrifice fly to right field.

In the top of the fifth inning, Nick Taylor '15 led off with a hit by pitch. Joe Jensen '15 attempted to move Taylor over on a sacrifice bunt, but the throw was muffed and both runners were safe. Henneberger successfully moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt and Klein's intentional walk loaded the bases. Fuentes' fielder's choice plated Taylor and tied the score. Hamilton tried to score another run as Klein intentionally got caught in a rundown, but Jensen was thrown out at the plate.

Brian Ferrell '16 and Taylor led off the seventh inning with walks, which knocked Dickerson out of the game. After a fly out by Jensen, Henneberger's bunt single loaded the bases. Klein plated pinch-runner Jared Friedberg '16 with his third walk of the game, and Hamilton left the bases loaded.

Middlebury (5-11, 2-6) made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh by putting the tying run on third base and the winning run on first. But Moriarty got Morris to ground out to second for the final out.

In the nightcap, Max Araya '16 and Alex Kelly '14 were hit by pitches as they led off the ninth inning. After Luke drew a walk to load the bases, Araya scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

Merryman and Morris racked up three hits apiece, and Merryman also drove in a run. Rafferty went 2-for-3 with a double and scored two runs. Andrew Lind '13 finished with two RBI.

Eric Truss '15 yielded two earned runs on six hits and struck out five in eight-plus innings, but received the no-decision. Andy Dittrich '13 (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the win.

LaRochelle was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Continentals in the second game. Zack Becker '16 scored two runs and Henneberger drove in a run and had a double. Fuentes and Tim Burke '16 also drove in runs.

Cole Dreyfuss '16 started on the mound and gave up three runs on nine hits and walked six in 4.1 innings. Moriarty allowed one run in two innings in his 17th appearance this season. Mike Williams '16 (0-4) took the loss after he loaded the bases in the ninth.

Hamilton struck first in the second game with a run in the top of the second inning. Three errors by Middlebury in the second ultimately allowed Becker to make his way around the bases and cross the plate.

Two runs in the third and one in the fifth gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Back-to-back singles by Dylan Sinnickson '15 and Driscoll put runners on first and second with no outs, but Sinnickson was thrown out at third trying to steal. With two outs, Rafferty walked and Merryman singled in Driscoll. Middlebury loaded the bases and Luke drew a two-out walk that plated another run. Rafferty led off the fifth with a double and later scored when Lind drew a bases-loaded walk.

The Continentals cut their deficit to 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Henneberger doubled with one out, Klein's single moved him to third and he scored on Fuentes' fielder's choice.

Middlebury extended their lead back to two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Merryman led off with a single through the right side, moved to second on a sac bunt and to third on a ground out, and came around to score on Lind's RBI single to center.

Hamilton tied the score with two runs in the top of the ninth. Becker led off with a single to left and scored on LaRochelle's double to left. With runners at the corners, Burke's suicide squeeze plated pinch-runner Steve Wright '13 and made it 4-4.