The Jeffs opened up the season with a 3-1 victory over Clarkson University. Standout pitching by co-captain starter Duncan Webb ’04 earned him his first win of the season. Webb gave up only two hits in five innings. Brian Donahue ’07 struck out the side in the sixth, and closer Ed Imperatore ’05 took care of the rest, earning his first save. The team took this momentum into game two, routing 13th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan University 10-2 the next day. Co-captain Tom Sullivan ’04 led the offensive onslaught with three hits and two RBIs. Juniors Dave Powers and Kyle Lavery each added two hits and an RBI.
Despite a bases-clearing triple by pinch hitter Joe Houkal ’05, the Jeffs fell 6-5 to Messiah College the next day. Donahue struck out seven in five strong innings of work. Sullivan continued to dominate, adding two more hits and an RBI. First baseman Dave Levinson ’06 and leftfielder Dave Powers ’05 each added a pair of hits as well.
The Jeffs lost 9-1 to UMass-Boston the following day, evening their record at 2-2. Sullivan continued to shine, extending his hitting streak to four games with a double.
Sullivan and shortstop Zach Schonberger ’06 teamed up on Wednesday to lead Amherst over St. Lawrence University. Sullivan continued his amazing performance, going 4-for-5 at the plate, with a double, a home run and three RBIs. Schonberger was 4-for-6, blasting a pair of doubles and driving in four runs. Webb picked up his second win of the season, striking out seven, and reliever Joe Vladeck ’06 earned his first save.
After suffering a 7-0 loss to 19th-ranked Rowan University on Thursday, the Jeffs bounced back to win two in Friday’s doubleheader. Nick Kehoe ’07 earned his first career victory in a 5-3 win over MacMurray College, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Centerfielder Paul Whiting ’04 smashed a two-run homer, while Dave Levinson ’06 was 3-for-3 with a walk.
In the second game, Donahue threw a complete game to earn a 9-4 victory over Otterbein College. He struck out three and gave up only three runs to earn his first collegiate win. The Jeffs offense dominated as Powers led the way with his three-run bomb. Levinson knocked in two runs of his own and classmate Rob Anderson added an RBI on two hits. Second baseman Mark Mazzone ’07 notched three singles and an RBI.
Webb noted the performance of rookies in the early games. “We were all very impressed by Donahue and Kehoe. Some of the younger guys like Mazzone and Jared Banner ’07 also really stepped it up on the field,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on everyone down there and for the young guys to respond to that pressure is huge.”
The Jeffs fell to 21st-ranked Denison University 12-9 on Saturday. Josh Santry ’05 had a great game, collecting four RBIs on two hits and a sacrifice fly. Whiting also excelled, ripping a pair of doubles and adding three RBIs. Matt Potter ’04 had three hits and Mazzone had his second consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. However, despite Amherst’s brilliance at the plate, the team’s record fell to 5-4.
In the spring break finale, the Jeffs dropped a 6-1 decision to the University of St. Thomas. Whiting continued to stand out with his two-hit performance. Webb took the loss for Amherst, though he only allowed two earned runs in five innings. Webb is confident that the team is prepared for the upcoming conference schedule. “We have a good group and we’re still learning as a team,” he said. “Now we know what we need to do to win. We just have to take care of business.”
“We had some great games hitting the ball and some great ones on the mound,” said Donahue. “We just need to put it all together now.”
The Jeffs open conference play in a doubleheader Saturday at Wesleyan University.