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Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Review: Men's Baseball

<span class="photocreditinline">Middlebury Athletics</span><br />Jack Torpey ’24 impressed on Saturday, scoring and tallying one RBI.
Middlebury Athletics
Jack Torpey ’24 impressed on Saturday, scoring and tallying one RBI.

Men’s baseball (2–6) concluded its regular season this past weekend, splitting a double-header with division leader Amherst College (8–3). Sitting at the bottom of the NESCAC West Division, Middlebury will miss out on the playoffs, with only the top team from each division — Amherst and Tufts (9-2) — playing in a single three-game series to determine the league champion. 

In the first match, the Panthers played a competitive game but fell short, losing 8–5. Middlebury jumped out to a quick two-run lead in the first inning, capped by a solo home run from Lucas Cai ’24. Henry Gustavson ’24 started on the mound for Middlebury and put in a solid effort, striking out three and giving up four runs. He would leave the game after the fourth inning with the Panthers down 3–4.   

Amherst tallied two runs in each of the next two innings to give the Mammoths a five-run lead going into the last inning. Middlebury was able to put the game in striking distance with RBI singles from Baker Angstman ’24 and Jack Torpey ’24. But with the tying run at the plate, Evan Hunter ’24 could not quite repeat his heroics from the week before, grounding out to the shortstop to end the game. 

The Panthers continued their resilient play in the second game, completing the comeback this time to finish the season with a win.

Andrew Gatland ’23 was on the mound for Middlebury and delivered his best performance of the season, giving up just one run off of one hit and two walks while striking out two. He attributed his good outing to the stellar defensive play of his teammates. 

“I felt like I pitched well and that my pitches were working well, but I have to give a lot of credit to the defense,” Gatland said. “They were making all the outs for me and it felt like we really put everything together in this game.”

Cai would give the Panthers the lead with an RBI single in the following inning before Amherts scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Mammoths a 4–2 lead going into the final inning. 

But the Panthers fought back yet again. Andrew Ashley ’24 delivered a sufficient RBI groundout, leaving a runner on third with only one out. Middlebury came down to its final out, but a timely error by the Amherst right fielder saved the game, tying it at four apiece. 

After a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh, a walk and a sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth put a runner in scoring position for Sammy Smith ’24 who delivered with the RBI single that would give the Panthers the lead. 

“I took it as an opportunity to see how relaxed I could be in a situation like that,” Smith said when asked about his approach to the at-bat. “I just let all the work I put in the offseason come into play then and not really think about the situation.” 

Charlie Kutz ’24 was nearly perfect in relief for the Panthers, striking out four and giving up only one hit in just over two full innings of relief. He picked up the win and earned the save.


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