The first game against Bowdoin began as a pitchers’ duel, as Amherst hurler Miya Warner ’05 and Bowdoin’s Erin Hanley each recorded three of their four strikeouts in the first two innings. The Jeffs faltered in the third, however, as Warner allowed a run on a leadoff walk and two consecutive singles. With one out and runners on first and second, Bowdoin attempted a double steal, causing an error and allowed a second run to score. A fly ball to right field secured the second out, but the errant throw to the plate gave Bowdoin the third run of the inning.
Amherst responded valiantly in the bottom of the inning when Warner’s rocket single to left field gave the Jeffs their first base runner of the game. The Polar Bears escaped the inning unscathed, however, retiring the side as Hanley induced several ground ball outs.
The rally caps reappeared with two down in the fifth after Warner reached base on a walk. Senior captain Jessica Allen followed with a hard-hit grounder that was misplayed by Bowdoin shortstop Danielle Chagnon, whose overthrow put two Amherst runners in scoring position. Bowdoin again maneuvered out of trouble by forcing a grounder to end the inning.
The sixth inning again saw a Jeff reach third base with two outs, but another infield grounder ended Amherst’s hopes of a comeback. Warner finished the game solidly, allowing only five hits in the 3-0 loss.
Led by rookie pitcher Hilary Little, Amherst returned hungry for revenge in the second game. Bowdoin scored first on an Amherst error in the top of the first. Amherst retaliated in the bottom of the inning when Allen singled up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Greta Anderson. With two outs, sophomore Laura Trigeiro came through with a double to left center, scoring Allen and tying the game.
The Jeffs manufactured a second run in the third when rookie third baseman Caroline Polales scored on a passed ball. Polales reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second and moved to third on sophomore Rachel Hoerger’s sacrifice bunt.
When Little struck out the first batter of the seventh, the Jeffs stood just two outs away from a 2-1 victory. However, it was not to be. The Bears’ next batter reached on a walk, stole second and then crossed home to tie the score on a double to right field.
Despite a leadoff walk by junior Elizabeth Staunton, Amherst was unable to rally in the bottom of the seventh, forcing the game to a deciding eighth inning. Bowdoin started the inning with automatic runner Megan Rodgers on second base. After a failed bunt attempt, Amherst looked as if it would get out of the inning easily. Yet, Rodgers advanced to third on an Amherst throwing error. After Polar Bear Gillian Stevens, who reached base on the throwing error, swiped second, Sarah Thomas drove both runners home with a single to right. Amherst fought back, but to no avail. The 4-2 final score left Bowdoin the victors.
“Both Bowdoin games were disheartening losses,” said Allen. “After the first game we were able to regroup and play hard in the second, and it was a good game, but we just couldn’t pull it out in the end.”
The losses came as a surprise after Amherst’s two weekday wins. The Jeffs handed non-league foe WPI a 1-0 loss on Wednesday on a complete-game one-hit shutout performance from Little. Polales again had a standout day going 2-3 at the plate, while teammate Trigeiro went 1-2. Amherst’s lone run came in the sixth, when Trigeiro came up with a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. A hard-hit shot to second base by Hoerger forced an error and allowed Trigeiro to score.
“The midweek games were fun,” said Allen. “The wins helped us build confidence and morale, we played hard and worked through some rough innings to come out on top. Hopefully we’ll be able to rely on these experiences in upcoming games.”
Amherst will play a doubleheader at Westfield State College on Wednesday and a game at Brandeis University on Friday. The Jeffs do not return to home field action until Saturday, April 24 when the they take on archrival Williams College.