Bats Erupt, Driscoll Sharp as Jeffs Sweep Westfield
Contact: Matthew Hart
AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Amherst College baseball team pounded its way to a 17-4 win in the opener and Dylan Driscoll ’14 tossed an efficient complete game in a 9-2 nightcap triumph as the Lord Jeffs (2-1) swept Westfield State on their second day of competition at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
After a hard-fought setback to 15th-ranked Western New England on Saturday, the Amherst bats erupted on Sunday against their second consecutive Pioneer Valley rival. Things started slowly in the opener as the Owls (3-4) grabbed a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but the Jeff lineup woke up in a big way, exploding for 16 runs over the final three frames en route to the lopsided win.
Catcher Conner Gunn ’16 led the onslaught, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Taiki Kasuga ’14 enjoyed his second consecutive two-hit game with an RBI single and a two-run triple. Andrew Vandini ’16 continued the hot start to his collegiate career, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and 3 RBI. In the leadoff spot, Brendon Hardin ’15 also enjoyed a 2-for-4 day, scoring a trio of runs as the top four slots of the Amherst lineup went a whopping 9-for-12 with nine runs scored and seven RBI.
Third baseman Nolan Stewart also enjoyed a strong opener, reaching base in all four plate appearances as he went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and three runs scored. On the mound, Fred Shepard ’14 pitched a strong five innings in his season debut, striking out eight and walking only one as he surrendered three runs (two earned).
Driscoll was the story in the nightcap as the junior worked all seven innings, surrendering just a single earned run as he needed only 69 pitches to complete the gem with five strikeouts and no walks. Vandini helped power the offense again, with his bases-clearing triple highlighting Amherst’s five-run top of the second. Eric West ’15 enjoyed a 2-for-3 day and catcher David Cunningham ’16 went 2-for-2 as eight different Jeffs found the hit column.
Amherst will play a single nine-inning game on Monday, battling UMass Dartmouth in a 3 p.m. contest on Chain of Lakes Field 2 in Winter Haven.