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Amherst Hands Baseball a 16-4 Defeat in SC's Home Finale

Drew Michael Box Score

Springfield, Mass. -- Drew Michael went 3-for-4, but he proved to be the only bright spot for the Springfield College baseball team as Amherst College defeated the Pride, 16-4, this afternoon under sunny skies at SC's Berry-Allen Field.

With the loss, Springfield is 9-25, while Amherst improves to 16-11. Prior to the game, Springfield honored its seven seniors who were playing at Berry-Allen for the final time in their careers. Springfield also briefly honored Amherst's Bill Thurston, who is in the process of closing out his 44-year career as head coach of the Lord Jeffs.

On the afternoon, Amherst had 20 hits, and took advantage of five Springfield errors.

Amherst got off on the right foot when leadoff hitter John Wagner (Evanston, Ill.) wallopped the first pitch of the game for a home run to straightaway left field. The Lord Jeffs added three more runs in the top of the first to take a 4-0 lead. With two outs and a man on first, senior 3B Brendan Powers (Walpole, Mass.) singled in a run. The third run of the inning came home on an error. And sophomore LF Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, Mass.) then knocked in another with a hard single to right. Overall in that inning, Amherst had five hits and was aided by two SC errors.

Springfield cut the margin to 4-1 in the bottom of the second when senior 3B Luke Gabordi (Ledyard, Conn.) tripled to lead off. Moments later, he scored when Michael, a senior centerfielder, doubled down the left field line.

Amherst then put the game away with a 6-run top of the third. In that inning, the Lord Jeffs sent 10 men to the plate. The first four men singled. with senior 1B Angus Schaller (Leucadia, Calif.) knocking in the first run. Sophomore CF Scott Shaffer (Boulder, Colo.) knocked in the inning's sixth run with a sacrifice fly to left, and Amherst led, 10-1.

The Pride got one back in the fifth when Michael led off with a triple. One out later, sophomore catcher Zach Carhart (Wilbraham, Mass.) plated Michael with a single to center.

Amherst scored twice in the seventh after the first two batters walked. Kevin Heller (1-0), who pitched the first five innings and picked up the victory, knocked home the first run with a solid single to center. Later on, freshman catcher Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, Minn.) drove in another with a sacrifice fly.

The game's scariest moment came in the bottom of the seventh. Shaffer had come in to replace Heller on the mound to start the sixth inning. Actually, Shaffer and Heller had simply switched positions, with Heller going to centerfield. In the seventh, Michael opened the inning with a double, his third extra base hit of the day. The next two batters went down on a fly out and a soft liner. Michael had moved to third on the fly out. Freshman Mike Corletta (Westtown, N.Y.) came up to pinch-hit. Corletta then hit a hard line drive that hit Shaffer flush on the forehead. The ball skipped away with Michael scoring, but all the attention was on Shaffer. The game was held up for several moments, but Shaffer did manage to get up and gingerly walk off the field. He was later prescribed with a concussion and was taken to Bay State Hospital for precautionary observation.

Shaffer was replaced by senior LHP Ryan Platzbecker (Westlake, Ohio), who promptly gave up a double to junior RF Joe Kropa (Cranford, N.J.), moving Corletta to third. Corletta then scored on a wild pitch, and it was 12-4, Amherst.

Amherst then added one more in the eighth and three more in the ninth to salt it away.

For Springfield, junior RHP Ryan White (Colchester, Conn.) started and took the loss, giving up the first 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings. He is now 1-5.

For the Lord Jeffs, Wagner went 2-for-5, including that first inning home run. He also walked twice and had two RBI's overall. In addition, Schaller went 3-for-4, all singles, plus a walk.

Springfield will close its season tomorrow when it plays a 4 pm tilt at Williams. Amherst will play at Hamilton Saturday in a NESCAC West match-up.

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