HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore starting pitcher Alec Olmstead of the Wesleyan University baseball team threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout action on Saturday in a 3-1 victory over Bates in Game 3 of the 2018 NESCAC playoffs, as the Cardinals fought off elimination in a must-win game at the Murren Family Field in Hartford, Conn.
Tufts and Amherst are facing off in Game 4 of the tournament on Saturday afternoon, and then 45 minutes after that game concludes, the Cardinals will play the losing team in Game 5, which will be a must-win battle for both teams. Bates (14-19) sees their run in the NESCAC Tournament come to an end, as they lost on Friday, 3-2, in 12 innings to the Mammoths.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bobcats starting pitcher Connor Russell and Olmstead each retired the side in order for their respective teams during the first inning.
- Wesleyan threatened in the top of the second behind a leadoff walk by junior Ryan Earle, and two-out singles by sophomores Jesse Levy-Rubinett and Jake Alonzo, loading the bases. Russell, who hails from Cumberland, Maine, was able to get out of the jam by striking out sophomore Kevin Walek looking.
- The Cardinals once again made some noise in the top half of the third, as junior Danny Rose went into scoring position on a two-out double down the left-field line. Earle, who grew up in Hanover, Mass., then ripped a line drive to second, and Bobcats sophomore Zach Avila made a leaping catch to end the inning.
- During the bottom of the third, Olmstead retired the first two batters he faced, but the Bobcats put runners on the corners with two down behind a walk from sophomore Jon Lindgren and a single by sophomore Jack Arend. Olmstead got out of the jam, forcing Avila – the Bobcats' No. 3 hitter – to fly out to center.
- In the fifth, Wesleyan broke the scoreless tie with a pair of runs, as Alonzo led off with a single, and then scored two at-bats later from third on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore Alex Cappitelli. Sophomore Andrew Kauf then reached on a fielder's choice and stole second with two done, before Rose came up with a clutch one-run single to center, doubling the Cardinals' lead to 2-0.
- In the bottom of the fifth, Bates sophomore Kyle Carter tallied a one-out single, and then sophomore Will Sylvia followed up with a walk, putting runners on first and second. Olmstead kept his composure, and fought back from 3-1 counts on the next two batters en route to recording two consecutive strikeouts to conclude the inning.
- With the Cardinals still holding a 2-0 advantage in the seventh, Earle entered the game in a high-pressure situation with runners on first and second and two outs. He immediately forced Arend to ground out to short, keeping the two-run cushion intact.
- The Bobcats finally made their way onto the scoreboard in the eighth, as the squad loaded the bases with one out courtesy of singles by juniors Dan Trulli and Justin White, and then sophomore Giovanni Torres reached on an error by the shortstop. The Cardinals recorded a force out at home on a ground ball to third by senior Connor DiVincenzo. With two down in the frame and the bases still juiced, Carter drew an RBI walk, scoring sophomore pinch runner Pat Beaton. The Cardinals were able to hold onto the one-run lead with Earle forcing Sylvia to ground out to first.
- In the top of the ninth, Walek drilled a one-out double to right, and then scored two at-bats later on an RBI ground out by Kauf, giving Wesleyan a huge insurance run.
- Alonzo earned his second save of the season, giving up no runs or hits in the ninth, to go along with a pair of strikeouts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Olmstead (5-3) only allowed three hits in 6 2/3 innings work, while striking out six and walking five.
- Russell (3-4) pitched well for the Bobcats, but he was charged with the loss, relinquishing two earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
- Alonzo went 2-for-4 with a run, while Rose registered a 2-for-5 effort with a double and an RBI for the Cardinals.
- Trulli recorded a multi-hit game for the Bobcats, going 2-for-5 at the plate.
- Wesleyan held an 8-5 advantage in hits, while the Cardinals made two errors and Bates was guilty of one.
- The Cardinals improved to 25-8 all time against Bates, and 3-0 in meetings coming during the NESCAC playoffs.