Baseball Sweeps Williams to Secure NESCAC Playoff Bid

In a must-win three-game series, the baseball team decisively swept rival Williams. The Mammoths will now travel to Maine to play Bowdoin this weekend in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament.

Baseball Sweeps Williams to Secure NESCAC Playoff Bid
The team storms the field to celebrate the final win of their 3-0 sweep of archrival Williams. The series win clinched the No. 4 seed in this weekend's NESCAC playoffs. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

In what was easily their biggest series of the year, the baseball team showed they were more than up to the challenge, sweeping archrival Williams in a three-game series with a trip to the NESCAC playoffs on the line. With the No. 4 seed in the NESCAC West Division now secured, the Mammoths will travel to play Bowdoin, the No. 1 seed in the East Division, in a three-game series next weekend in the opening round of playoff action.

The Mammoths set the tone for the series in the opening game, which was played in Williamstown on Friday, April 29. They produced perhaps their best all-around offensive performance all season in clutch time. Every single player in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit and scored at least one run en route to a 16-7 victory over the Ephs — the 16 runs were the most the Mammoths have scored in a single game all year.

It was a back-and-forth affair for the first five innings, with the score tied 5-5 heading into the sixth. The Mammoths then seized control of the game, exploding for seven unanswered runs over the course of the sixth and seventh innings to take a 12-5 lead they would not relinquish. Williams managed to add one run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Mammoths added four more in the eighth and ninth. The Ephs scored one run in their final trip to the plate, ending the game with a whimper, and the Mammoths headed home with a convincing 16-7 victory.

Ryan McIntyre ’25, Jack McDermott ’25, and Jackson Reydel ’23, the first three batters in the Mammoths’ lineup, each went three for six on the day. Reydel finished with one RBI, while his first-year teammates had three RBIs apiece. McDermott also slugged a double and a triple as a part of his three-hit outing, and scored two runs as well. Chris Murphy ’22 also went three for six with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI. Pitcher Nick Giattino ’24 earned his fourth win of the year from the mound — he pitched six innings, allowing nine hits and five earned runs and tallying two strikeouts in the contest.

The Mammoths returned to Memorial Field on Saturday, April 30, for games two and three, needing just one win to clinch a playoff berth. Saturday was also the team’s Senior Day, and the Mammoths recognized and celebrated their four seniors — Charlie Estes ’22, Murphy, Sachin Nambiar ’22, and Daniel Qin ’22 — prior to first pitch.

Game two was similarly close in the opening frames of the contest. The Ephs got on the board in the first, but the Mammoths responded to take the lead in the second. A big fourth inning for the Ephs saw the lead change hands once again, but the Mammoths responded immediately in the following half-inning, scoring five runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 8-4 lead. They added yet another run in the fifth off a Christian Fagnant ’24 RBI double to stretch the lead to 9-4. Williams could only counter with a single run in the final inning of the seven-inning game, and the Mammoths earned both the series win and a spot in the NESCAC playoffs with a 9-5 victory.

McIntyre led the way from the leadoff spot once again, going three for four with two runs, an RBI, and a stolen base. Qin also had a big day at the plate, finishing two for four with a double, a run, and an RBI. Jacob Ribitzki ’24 started the critical game and was just as impressive as in his complete game victory from last weekend against Middlebury — he went the full seven innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits and tallied a strikeout. His second complete-game victory of the year, occurring in back-to-back weeks, brings his record to 4-2 on the year. He leads the Mammoths with a team-best 4.47 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season.

Though the final game of the series did not have any playoff implications, no Amherst team would pass up the opportunity to sweep the Ephs. This was evident in the Mammoths’ resilience in game three, which was an absolute marathon of a game that took over three and a half hours and 402 total pitches to finally complete. The two teams combined for 29 runs on 36 hits, 18 walks, and five hit batters, and both teams committed six errors apiece.

Riding high from their crucial win in the previous game, the Mammoths jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first two innings. Both teams traded runs over the next few frames: Williams got three runs back in the third, but a solo home run from Christian Limon ’25 in the bottom half of the frame pushed the Mammoths’ lead to three. The Ephs scored again in the fourth, but the Mammoths again responded immediately with another run of their own. However, the Ephs then embarked on a scoring run to match the Mammoths’ early outburst — they scored seven runs over the final five innings to take a 12-8 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The Mammoths are no strangers to comebacks, and the excitement from the crowd as they stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth was palpable. After the leadoff hitter grounded out, Limon was hit by a pitch and Jack Dove ’23 doubled down the right field line. Then, McIntyre launched a three-run homer to right field, his second home run of the year, to cut the deficit to just one. The next two batters also reached base, and Luke Padian ’24 ripped a line drive to the outfield that bounced off the tip of the center fielder’s glove, allowing the tying run to cross the plate. Qin was then intentionally walked to load the bases with one out, but the next two Mammoths went down on strikes to send the game into extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, the Ephs strung together a two-out rally to take a 14-12 lead. With their backs against the wall once again, the Mammoths stepped up to the plate looking to walk it off against their rivals. The Ephs retired the first Mammoth batter on strikes, but the following three Mammoths reached safely to load the bases. A sharply hit ground ball to first base from Reydel allowed one run to score and put runners on second and third with two outs. Up stepped Padian in another massive spot, and he delivered once again, lacing a ground ball into center field, scoring both the tying and winning runs and sending the Mammoths into a frenzy. They had done it, recording a ridiculous 15-14 walk-off win for the sweep.

Qin showed out in a massive way, going four for five with a walk and three RBIs. McDermott, Reydel, Dove, and Limon all scored three runs each. Trevor Gasgarth ’24 earned his first win of the season in relief.

The Mammoths are 14-16-1 overall with a 5-7 record in conference play, though they have won their last five games. With the fourth seed in the NESCAC West Division secured, the Mammoths will now play the No. 1 seed in the East Division, the Bowdoin Polar Bears, in a three-game playoff series. The two teams met for a doubleheader during their spring training trips in Florida, splitting the two games — the Mammoths won the first contest 10-1 but fell in the second 10-5. Bowdoin is 8-4 in conference play but are 15-17 overall. The winner of the series will advance to the NESCAC semifinals.

Before their games against Bowdoin, the Mammoths will conclude their regular season against out-of-conference opponent UMass Boston on Wednesday, May 4. They will then travel to New Brunswick, Maine, for a doubleheader on Saturday, May 7. If necessary, the decisive third game will be played the following day.