Hero, Vandini Power Jeffs to Eph Sweep
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – Alex Hero ’14 was a triple shy of the cycle and Andrew Vandini ’16 also homered and had a three-hit day as the Amherst College baseball team completed a three-game NESCAC West sweep of archrival Williams College with a 7-2 victory at Memorial Field on Sunday.
Running their win streak to eight games while Improving to 16-5 overall and remaining unbeaten in conference play at 6-0, the Lord Jeffs have now swept three consecutive regular-season series from the Ephs (9-16, 2-7 NESCAC West) after notching 2-1 and 10-3 wins in Williamstown on Saturday.
Dylan Driscoll ’14 got the start for Amherst on Sunday and ran his record to 5-0 as he worked five innings, yielding two runs on six hits while striking out six and walking two. The lineup gave him more than enough support, scoring in each of the first five innings as Hero and Vandini went yard in back-to-back frames to build a 5-0 lead. The visitors scratched two across in the fifth to end Driscoll’s day, but Eric Kotin ’14 and Adam Medoff ’13 each hurled a pair of shutout innings to preserve the win.
Hero finished 3-for-4 with three RBI while Vandini was 3-for-3 and drove in two to lead the Amherst charge. Darren Hartwell (2-4, R, RBI) and Luke Pierce (2-5) were the only Ephs with multiple hits on the day.
Driscoll walked the first two Eph batters of the game, but the junior settled down and worked out of the jam unscathed. Amherst rewarded him with a lead in the bottom half as Taiki Kasuga ’14 worked a one-out walk, stole second, then scored when Hero blasted a ground-rule double to right.
The Jeffs added another run in the second when Vandini singled with one down and Brendon Hardin ’15 delivered a two-out RBI with a line drive up the middle. With Driscoll settling in, Amherst continued its consistent attack, with Kasuga singling to start the third before Hero’s high arcing blast to right made it just over the fence for a 4-0 Jeff lead.
With Arnie Capute coming on to relieve Williams starter Daniel Smith in the fourth, Vandini gave the new hurler a rude welcome, blasting a one-out solo shot over the wall in right for his first collegiate homer.
Driscoll finally ran into trouble in the fifth, with Beau Horan singling and scoring on an RBI knock by Hartwell before Phil McGovern’s double to the left-center gap made it 5-2. The Amherst righty got out of the frame without further damage, however, thanks to Hardin’s nice running catch in center on a drive by K.C. Murphy.
The Jeffs got the pair back in the bottom half, however, scoring two unearned runs off Eph reliever Charlie Baxter. Hero singled, stole second, and moved to third on senior Bob Cook’s groundout before coming home with two outs when third baseman Taylor Mondshein threw away rookie Mike Odenwaelder’s grounder. The first-year came around to score on Vandini’s RBI single to make it 7-2.
Andrew Bishop quieted the Jeff bats with three innings of scoreless relief but the damage was done as Kotin scattered two hits over his two innings and Medoff struck out three in a pair of hitless frames. Smith took the loss for Williams, lasting just three innings and surrendering four runs.
Amherst hits the road next weekend, traveling to Hamilton for a four-game set beginning with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, April 20.