Forecast is up in the air for baseball

Pitcher Brant Ford ’06 expressed the team’s frustration over the cancellations. “It’s been hard because we are all so anxious to play,” he said. “We’ve been preparing for so long that we should be ready to play when the weather finally permits.”

The team did, however, manage to squeeze four games in among the wet weather and sodden field conditions. On March 27, Amherst traveled to Wesleyan University (5-8, 2-1 NESCAC) to play a NESCAC West series. After splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, March 27, the Jeffs then lost the rubber match and the series on Monday, dropping their record to 1-2 in NESCAC play and 6-7 overall.

In the first game of the doubleheader, the exceptional pitching of Wesleyan hurler Tom Bloss baffled the Jeffs. Bloss held the Jeffs to only three hits in a masterful seven-inning complete-game shutout. Sophomores Dave Levinson and Rob Anderson and senior Paul Whiting were the only Jeffs able to scratch a hit apiece off Bloss.

Amherst pitcher Duncan Webb ’04 took the loss despite a strong performance. Webb scattered just five hits and allowed only two runs, both of which were unearned. Wesleyan centerfielder Jeffrey Maier, of New York Yankee fame, scored the winning run in the Cardinals’ 2-0 win.

The Jeffs came back with a vengeance in the nightcap however, dominating the Cardinals 6-0. Amherst ripped 12 hits as the entire lineup managed to reach base safely. Third-baseman Josh Santry ’05 led the way with a pair of hits and two RBIs. Levinson and shortstop Zach Shonberger ’06 also doubled, while centerfielder Whiting collected three singles.

Brian Donahue ’07 shone, earning his second win of the season. Donahue tossed a complete-game shutout for the Jeffs, allowing only three hits and striking out five batters. “We really got the bats going in the second game and the offense relieved a lot of pressure,” said Donahue.

Sunday’s game was supposed to have been played at Hitchcock Field, but the game was moved to Monday at Wesleyan due to poor field conditions.

Monday’s nine-inning contest went down to the wire, but Wesleyan came out victorious after third baseman Alex Mautone ripped an RBI double in the ninth. Schonberger had another good day at the plate for the Jeffs, going 3-5 with a two-run double. Outfielders Matt Potter ’04 and Dave Powers ’05 each added a pair of hits and an RBI. Amherst starter Nick Kehoe ’07 gave up five runs (three earned) on just five hits in five innings of work. However, senior Andy Kerns took the loss for the Jeffs after surrendering one unearned run on two hits in the final four innings.

In a move that Wesleyan coach Mark Woodworth would not have been able to make the day before, Tom Bloss came on in relief to shut Amherst down for a second time. The junior hurled two scoreless innings and picked up his second win of the series.

Amherst must now beat Williams to retain any hope of sharing the Little Three title. “We have all the talent and determination to win the division and the league,” said Donahue. “We just have to put our game together more in order to get there.”

Amherst returned to action yesterday in the team’s home opener, a makeup contest versus Westfield State. Despite 10 days without competition, the Jeffs showed no rust in a 6-2 win.

Webb and Donahue combined to hold Westfield State scoreless for the first six innings as Webb allowed just one hit in the first three frames and Donahue scattered four. Brandon Cody ’05 led the Jeff offense with two RBIs on two hits.

The Jeffs play host to 2002 Div. III national champion Eastern Connecticut State University on Wednesday and face Bowdoin College on Saturday.