LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College baseball team scored six runs in the sixth inning to score a 6-2 win in Game 1, then used a five-run third inning in Game 2 for a 6-4 win to sweep a doubleheader from Williams College on Sunday at Leahey Field.
Though both schools are NESCAC members, they are in separate baseball divisions, so the games counted as non-conference contests. Williams (16-19) has already clinched second place in the NESCAC West and will play in the NESCAC Baseball Championship next weekend, starting with a game at trinity on Friday at 3pm.
Bates has won eight of its past nine games and improved to a 23-16 record, the second-most wins in program history. The Bobcats will finish the season with a nine-inning game on Wednesday at St. Joseph's College of Maine.
Two-time NESCAC Pitcher of the Week Harry Marino started Game 1 for Williams and held Bates scoreless over four innings while striking out nine batters, leaving the game with a 2-0 lead. Reliever Ben Oliva (0-1) started the fifth inning and got through it unscathed, but Bates reached Oliva for four hits against just one out in the sixth before he gave way to Jimmy Ray.
First-year Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) laced a single up the middle to lead off the inning, followed by a sharp single to left by sophomore Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine). Sophomore Kevin Davis (Andover, Mass.) bunted the runners over, bringing up sophomore Jeffrey Gunn (Atlanta, Ga.), a mid-game defensive substitution, for his first at-bat of the game. Gunn ripped a single through the left side to score Hyde and Curit, evening the game at 2-2. Junior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Conn.) followed with a triple over the head of Williams center fielder Darren Hartwell, scoring Gunn and prompting Williams' second pitching change.
Ray immediately got the second out of the inning, but Sonberg then came home on a passed ball for a 4-2 Bates lead, and Bates continued on a two-out rally with three straight hits: a double to right field by sophomore Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.), followed by an RBI single up the middle by senior Mike Ciummei (Acton, Mass.) and an RBI single by junior Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.) to center field.
Bates sophomore lefthander Tom Baroni (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) then got the first out of the top of the seventh inning before giving way to sophomore lefty Brad Reynolds (Louisville, Colo.), who got K.C. Murphy to fly out. The Ephs, however, loaded the bases when Reynolds walked Luke Pierce. Reynolds struck out Hartwell swinging to finish off the Game 1 win, giving Reynolds his fourth save of the season.
Baroni held Williams scoreless until the fifth inning, when Marco Hernandez led off with a single and scored on Murphy's two-run home run to left field, his first round-tripper of the season.
Baroni went 6.1 innings and allowed two runs, both earned, scattering six hits and one walk to move to 3-4. It was Baroni's sixth straight quality start of 6-plus innings with three or fewer earned runs allowed.
Bates senior righthander Karl Alexander (Cambridge, Mass.) started Game 2 and extended his team career wins record to 17, going 6.1 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) for his career-best sixth win of the season and a 6-4 record. Sophomore righty Dean Bonneau (Amherst, Mass.) allowed one inherited runner to score, but otherwise held the Ephs in check, going 2.2 shutout innings and allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out three for his first save.
Williams again got on the scoreboard first in Game 2, plating three runs in the second inning. Luke Pierce and Ray both singled, and Murphy drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and Pierce came home on Chance Reuger's groundout. Hartwell then legged out a triple to right center to score Ray and Murphy for a 3-0 lead.
Bates answered the next inning with five earned runs off of Williams' starter, lefthander Steve Marino. Curit drew a one-out walk, then moved to third on a double to left field by Sonberg that nearly left the yard. After Curit came home on a wild pitch, Steve Burke followed with another double to right center, scoring Sonberg. Bates loaded the bases with two outs with a Tewksbury walk and McGregor's hit-by-pitch, bringing up Hyde, who laced a single to center field to score Tewksbury and Burke and give Bates the lead at 4-3. Gunn dropped a single into center field to score McGregor before Steve Marino could escape further trouble.
Thomas Murphy started the fourth inning for Williams and allowed another Bates run, as Sonberg lofted a high fly over the fence in left field for his first career home run, which also gave him the cycle for the day (over two games).
Williams' third pitcher of the game, Matt Berdoff, threw two perfect innings and struck out three, but Bonneau matched him in preserving the win for Bates. Williams got one run closer in the seventh inning, as Hartwell led off by reaching on a muffed ground ball, moved to second on a groundout by Oliva, got to third on a wild pitch by Bonneau, then scored on Taylor Mondshein's triple to right. Bonneau induced two straight outs to get out of the inning.
Tewksbury and Hyde joined Sonberg in Bates' four-hit club for the day, each going 4-for-7. Gunn was 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs.
The games were the final ones in a Bates uniform at Leahey Field for Alexander, Ciummei and one other Bates senior, pitcher Demetrios Gatzogiannis (Wells, Maine).