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Baseball's rally falls short in 5-3 loss to Amherst in NESCAC tournament

Connor Russell threw five and a third innings out of the bullpen on Saturday, May 13, 2017 in the NESCAC tournament against Amherst. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College).

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Amherst Mammoths jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on from there to defeat the Bates baseball team by a final score of 5-3 in the NESCAC tournament Saturday morning.

With the loss, Bates (16-18) is eliminated from the double elimination tournament while Amherst advances to play the loser of Tufts and Middlebury later in the day. 

Already leading 2-0, Amherst scored three in the fourth to extend its lead. 

With two outs and nobody on, Ryan Hardin singled to right. Max Steinhorn followed with a single of his own and Harry Roberson walked to load the bases. Yanni Thanopoulos singled home a pair of runs and Bates brought in junior Connor Russell (Cumberland, Maine) out of the bullpen.

Russell allowed a run-scoring single to Anthony Spina but settled down after that and tossed five and a third innings of shutout ball the rest of the way. He allowed only three hits and finished with no walks and two strikeouts.     

Russell's performance on the mound allowed the Bobcats to get back in the game. 

First-year Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) singled to start the bottom of the fourth. He advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. One out later, junior Asher MacDonald (Hillsborough, N.C.) tripled home Arend to trim the deficit to 5-1.

Bates got two more runs back in the seventh. First-year Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) doubled to begin the frame. Senior captain Ryan McCarthy (Plaistow, N.H.) doubled him home and one out later McCarthy advanced to third on a fly out. Arend singled in McCarthy and Bates trailed 5-3. But a fielder's choice ended the inning.

Bates went down in order in the eighth and the ninth as Amherst held on for the win.

Drew Fischer (2-0) tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing only two hits to pick up the win. George Long earned the save with two innings of perfect ball out of the bullpen. 

The Mammoths got to Bobcat starter Connor Speed for one run in the first inning. Steinhorn walked to begin the game. Roberson followed with a double, moving Steinhorn to third. Bates gave up a run for an out when Yanni Thanopoulos grounded out to score Steinhorn from third. After a hit by pitch, Speed '18 (San Diego, Calif.) induced a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the inning without any further damage.

Amherst pushed across another run in the third. Roberson singled to start the frame and proceeded to steal second base. After Thanopoulos got hit by a pitch, Spina grounded out, moving both runners up 90 feet. Ariel Kenney drove in Roberson with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 2-0.

Speed (1-7) pitched three and two thirds innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out one. 

Amherst outhit Bates 10-5. Arend led the Bobcats on offense, going 2-4 with a run scored and a run batted in.

The loss concludes Bates baseball's 2017 season.