Baseball splits weekend doubleheader against Bates

First-year Dylan Jeffers got the loss against Bates. (Justin Toran-Burrell/The Phoenix)

The Swarthmore baseball team had a .500 weekend, splitting a home doubleheader against the Bates College Bobcats on Sunday afternoon.

Rebounding from its worst loss of the season, a 12-1 defeat to 320 rival Widener University on March 14, the Garnet was absolutely dominant in the first game against Bates, winning 13-0 in seven innings.

“Going into Sunday, we knew that we missed an opportunity against Widener,” right fielder Tim Kwilos ’13 said. “We wanted to come out, play hard and play well against another good team in Bates.”

Starting pitcher Kyle Crawford ’12 tossed a complete game shutout for his team-leading fourth win of the season. He allowed only five hits, all of which were singles, one walk and struck out five batters, improving his ERA to 3.24.

Against Crawford and the Garnet defense, Bates managed to advance past second base only once, after Griff Tewksbury reached third on a two-out single by Kevin Davis in the top of the fourth. A well-timed strikeout, however, ended the inning and left both runners stranded on base.

The offense recovered well from its uncharacteristic performance against Widener, scoring 13 runs on 12 hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run. The Garnet is now 6-0 on the season when it scores in double digits and 13-3 overall.

After managing only one hit in the first two innings, the team began to pull away after a three-hit, three-run third inning.

Second baseman Anthony Montalbano ’12 began the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a walk by left fielder Nicko Burnett ’14, Montalbano was driven home by a single from third baseman Mike Waterhouse ’12. A double from Kwilos, who leads the team with a .426 batting average, brought in both Burnett and Waterhouse, completing the scoring for the inning.

In the fourth, Burnett hit a three-run shot, his team-leading fourth home run of the season, increasing the Garnet lead to 6-0.

After hitting a triple to begin the inning, first baseman Spencer Ross ’12 scored in the fifth off a single from center fielder Rory McTear ’13.

In the sixth, the Garnet once again demonstrated its ability to score in bunches, collecting six runs off four hits and two errors. With no outs, the Garnet quickly loaded the bases after a single by shortstop Danny McMahon ’15, who advanced to second off an error, a single by Burnett, and a walk from Montalbano. Drawing a base on balls, Waterhouse drove in McMahon and kept the bases full with no outs. Next, a single from Kwilos scored Montalbano and a one-out double from designated hitter Miles Santo ’12 brought in both Burnett and Waterhouse. Kwilos reached home off a sacrifice fly from catcher Joseph Rizzo ’15 and Santo rounded out the scoring, getting a run after another Bates error.

Unfortunately, the Garnet was unable to sustain its offensive production in the second game, falling to Bates with a score of 7-2.

“In the second game, although we were hitting the ball pretty hard we weren’t able to find any holes,” Montalbano said. “They played good defense and didn’t give us anything we didn’t earn.”

The contest was scoreless after two innings and starting pitcher Dylan Jeffers ’15 was only one out away from blanking Bates through three. The Bobcats, however, scored three runs on the final out and would have gotten a fourth if not for a tag out at home plate to end the third.

Swarthmore responded in the fourth inning behind a two-RBI single from McTear, which drove in Kwilos and Burnett. With the bases loaded, the Garnet looked poised for a rally, but a ground out from shortstop Nick Constantino ’14 ended the inning with three left on base. The team did not get another hit for the rest of the game and reached base only once more, on a walk drawn by Rizzo in the final inning.

Bates continued its scoring, collecting three runs on four hits in the fifth and one final run in the seventh. Jeffers picked up the loss, allowing nine hits and earning five runs in four innings.

This is the third time this season that the Garnet has lost the second game of a doubleheader after winning the first. Previously, it lost 6-12 against Catholic after winning 7-0, and fell 4-7 to Eastern after beating them 7-4.

“One of our problems has been maintaining strong focus during the second game in double headers,” Waterhouse said. “Hopefully we can really get better at this in time for our conference play.”

The team played away at Gwynedd-Mercy on Tuesday, winning by a score of 7-3 in nine innings. Kwilos was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in three runs off of three hits. Starting pitcher Ignacio Rodriguez ‘12 earned his fourth win of the season, striking out eight in seven innings.

The Garnet is now in the middle of a six-day break and will return to action on Mar. 26 at home against Keuka College (N.Y.). First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The next day, conference action officially begins with an away game against rival Haverford, who swept Swarthmore last season, winning by scores of 5-3 and 7-6 (11 innings).

“The rest after our Tuesday game was nice to heal some minor bumps and bruises,” Burnett said. “We know we play Haverford to start the conference next Tuesday and that’s really the only mental preparation we need.”

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