Panther baseball finishes trip at 5-6

ORLANDO, Fla. — After the conclusion of its annual weeklong spring trip to Florida, the Middlebury College baseball team will take a 5-6 record, including several close losses, into its NESCAC West schedule.

The Panthers were set to visit RPI on Wednesday after the deadline for this edition. Next up for the Panthers is a three-game set this weekend at NESCAC West foe Hamilton.

On March 23 the Panthers split two games, defeating Bowdoin, 11-8, before falling to Wisconsin Eau-Claire, 9-8.

The Panthers and Polar Bears were tied at 3-3 after four innings in the opener. The early Panther runs came on three singles in the first, an Alec Ritch double and an Andrew Ashley single in the second, and a John Collins homer in the third.

Bowdoin then took a 7-3 lead with four runs in the top of the fifth. The Panthers tied the game with four runs in the sixth on singles by Zip Malley, Nathan Samii, Sawyer Duarte and Kyle McCausland; a walk to Jack Stolper; and a wild pitch.

Stolper drilled a three-run homer in the seventh to provide the winning margin. Cole Crider earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief.

Stolper went three-for-three, Ritch doubled twice, and Duarte and Collins each knocked out three hits.

In the nightcap, Middlebury saw a rally from a 9-4 deficit in the sixth inning fall short. Trailing by 9-5 entering the ninth, the Panthers cut into the lead with Isaac Rosario’s two-run homer and another run keyed by Samii and Baker Angstman singles and a sacrifice bunt before the rally fizzled.

Beau Root scored twice and picked up an RBI during a three-hit day, Ritch drove in a pair, and Lucas Flemming stole home. Kunal Handa took the pitching loss for Middlebury.

On Friday the Panthers dropped a 10-inning game to Trinity, 10-9. The Panthers rallied to tie the game at 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth, but Trinity pushed a run across in the 10th for the victory.

In the Panther ninth, Mitchell Schroeder singled and scored on a Sammy Smith triple. Ashley singled in Smith and scored on Duarte’s two-out hit. George Goldstein then took the extra-inning loss when Trinity pushed a run across in the top of the tenth, and Middlebury’s attempt to tie ended in a double play induced by Trinity reliever Justin Olsen.

McCausland knocked out two hits, walked twice, drove in a run, and scored three times. Ritch (two hits, two walks, two runs), Schroeder (two-run double, single), Smith (two hits, two runs, three RBIs, two stolen bases) and Duarte (two hits, RBI) all had multi-hit games for Middlebury.

Middlebury concluded its Florida trip by splitting two games on Saturday. Trinity rallied for 10 unanswered runs to win, 11-8, in the opener, and the Panthers outlasted St. Olaf, 12-7, in the second game.

vs. the Bantams (6-4), the Panthers scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning on RBI singles by Duarte and McCausland, an Ashley two-run triple, a Ritch double, and a Schroeder RBI groundout.

Middlebury added a run in the fifth on a Collins RBI double and another in the sixth on a Samii double and McCausland single. But the Bantams scored four runs in the seventh and added six more in the eighth for victory.

Jackson Atwood (0-1) took the loss, tossing the final two innings for the Panthers and allowing six runs, two earned.

vs. St. Olaf (4-4), Middlebury scored six runs in the top of the second to take an early lead. David Byrne, Malley and Ashley keyed the rally with RBI singles. In the fourth, doubles by Schroeder and Stolper sparked a two-run rally that made it 8-0.

After St. Olaf cut the lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the fourth, Middlebury tacked on three more runs in the fifth, with Stolper driving in a run and McCausland adding a two-run single. St. Olaf pulled to within 11-7 before Root singled, his third hit of the game, and Byrne doubled him home in the eighth.

Alex Rosario (2-1) picked up the win, allowing seven runs (four earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts over five innings. Crider went the final four innings to earn a save, giving up two hits and whiffing six.

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