Baseball Builds Momentum for CAC’s

By Jordan Howell, Staff Writer

The Middlebury Panthers are currently on a three-game winning streak after doubleheaders versus Trinity College and Skidmore College.  The Panthers sit three games above 0.500 with a season record of 16-13.

On Saturday, April 29, the Panthers split a doubleheader against the Trinity College Bantams. In the first game the frames remained empty until the top of the third inning when Trinity’s Erik Mohl loaded the bases and walked in Jason Lock ’17 to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

The Bantams got of the jam, however, with an inning-ending double play stranding three Middlebury baserunners. Though the Panthers held a 2-1 lead, things started to go awry for Middlebury as Trinity opened up for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Leading 6-2, the hosts tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to lead 9-2.

Middlebury secured another run in the top of the seventh, but Trinity’s defense held and the Bantams escaped with a 9-3 win. Colin Waters ’19 recorded the loss allowing six runs (three earned) while striking out three.

In the nightcap, the hosts were not as successful as Middlebury’s offensive found its usual groove.

The Panthers took an early 1-0 lead when Justin Han ’20 homered to deep left in the top of the first. Middlebury scored again in the third when Han tripled into the right center gap and scored on a single by captain Lock. Trinity scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth, but the Panthers were quick to retaliate and did so in impressive fashion.

The top of the sixth started when Bantam’s pitcher Matt Koperniak loaded the bases followed by Han taking pitch to the back for the first run of the inning. Lock blasted a deep fly ball to center field allowing the runner on the third to tag up and score — Sam Graf ’19 followed behind with a triple in the right-center gap scoring two more. Leading 6-1, Johhny Read ’17 came into pinch hit and blasted another triple to right center scoring Graf. Finally, with a 7-1 lead, First Year Kevin Woodring ’20 — on the first pitch of his at bat — blasted a 360 foot shot over the left field wall into the bullpen.

Trailing 9-1, Trinity managed to push one run across the plate, but the Bantams proved unable to overcome the deficit and recorded the 9-2 loss. Robert Erickson ’18 earned the win, pitching five innings and allowing one, while Dylan Takamori ’17 allowed one run in two innings of relief.

After enjoying a home-cooked meal at Alan Guild ’20’s residence, the Panthers headed up to Saratoga Springs for a doubleheader against the Skidmore Thoroughbreds.

Colby Morris ’19 started game one for Middlebury on Sunday, April 30 and could not be touched through seven innings, tossing his third complete game. The hosts scored their only run in the top of the first inning and the Panthers easily matched that in the top of the third when Read drew a walk, stole second and scored on a double by Gray Goolsby ’20.

The Panthers built on their lead in the top of the fourth scoring two more runs thanks to a sacrifice fly by Raj Palekar ’18 scoring Graf and a triple by Grant Elgarten ’20 scoring Guild.

Elgarten drove into two more runs in the top of the sixth smashing a single into left field — he would finish 2-3 with three RBI’s.

In the nightcap, the Thoroughbreds put some offensive pressure on the visitors scoring first in the second; but, the Panthers were unphased as Guild ripped a triple into left center scoring Graf and Han in the top half of the third.

Skidmore fought back pushing two more across in the bottom half of the frame and held the lead 3-2 through a scoreless fourth. In the top of the fifth, Middlebury’s offense once again came alive as Graf reached on first on a single and scored on a double by Woodring. Elgarten, with men on second and third, blasted a moonshot over the left field wall for his first of the season giving the visitors a 6-3 lead.

Spencer Shores ’20 earned the win going five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Conor Himstead ’19 came out in the sixth and seventh, pitching two scoreless innings, and earning his NESCAC-leading sixth save of the season.

“We just took care of business,” said Lock of the doubleheader sweep. “Our goal is to be a championship team. Championship teams go on the road and beat opponents during the week and on the weekends. Like I said, it was us taking care of business.

The Panthers are on a three game win streak and return to action on Saturday, May 6, against the Bowdoin Polar Bears and Sunday, May 7, against the nationally ranked Tufts Jumbos.