Baseball sweeps Bowdoin in Saturday doubleheader, improves to 6-0 in NESCAC play

Junior Asher MacDonald delivered the eventual game-winning hit in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, a perfect RBI bunt single in the sixth inning. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Bates College baseball team continued their winning ways Saturday, sweeping Bowdoin in a doubleheader behind outstanding pitching and timely hitting at Coombs Field. 

Game one of the twin bill, scheduled for seven innings, went nine, and Bates prevailed 4-3. In game two, the Bobcats took down the Polar Bears by a score of 6-3.

Halfway through NESCAC play, the Bobcats (10-5, 6-0 NESCAC) sit atop the East Division standings. Bates has won six consecutive games, their longest winning streak since 2012. The Bobcats have also won six straight over the Polar Bears (6-12, 0-3 NESCAC) going back to last season. 

It's the first time ever - since the NESCAC formally became a playing conference in 1999 - that Bates has swept Colby and Bowdoin in a three-game series in the same season.  

Game One: Bates 4, Bowdoin 3 (9 innings)

First-year Kyle Carter drove in fellow first-year Will Sylvia with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to give the Bobcats the lead for good in a 4-3 extra innings win over Bowdoin in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.

Tied at three headed to the top of the ninth, Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) singled to lead off the frame against new pitcher Ryan Dixon (1-2). Senior captain Ryan McCarthy (Plaistow, N.H.) reached on an error by Dixon and Sylvia advanced all the way to third on the play. The Polar Bears brought in Seamus Keenan and Carter (Plantation, Fla.) greeted him with a sacrifice fly to bring home Sylvia. Keenan retired the next two batters to end the frame.

Sophomore Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win. Foley (2-0) tossed five innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen to earn the victory. He allowed only three hits and struck out seven without walking anyone. 

The Bobcats got on the board first against Bowdoin starter Brandon Lopez. McCarthy got hit by a pitch to start the top of the third.

Carter bunted him over and McCarthy advanced to third on a passed ball. Senior captain Brendan Fox (West Hartford, Conn.) drove in McCarthy with a ground out to short, giving Bates a 1-0 lead. 

Junior Connor Russell (Cumberland, Maine) started game one for Bates and tossed two shutout innings before Bowdoin got to him in the third. With two outs, Lopez reached on an infield single. Evann Dumont-LaPointe drew a walk and Colby Joncas singled home Lopez, tying the game at one.

Bates answered right away with two in the top of the fourth.

With one down, junior Asher MacDonald (Hillsborough, N.C.) doubled to right. A Sylvia grounder moved MacDonald to third. McCarthy followed that up by reaching on an error by the Bowdoin shortstop. MacDonald scored on the play to make the score 2-1 in favor of Bates.

McCarthy stole second and Carter singled him home to extend the lead to 3-1.

But the Polar Bears got a run back in the bottom half of the inning. Joe Gentile singled to right leading off the inning. He was eliminated from the bases when Connor Lee reached on a fielder's choice. Bjorn Hansen followed with a single and he got forced out when Sean Mullaney reached on a fielder's choice for out number two. Lee advanced to third on the play and scored on a Nick Sadler RBI single, cutting the Bobcat advantage to 3-2.

Russell got Lopez to ground out to end the frame. Russell tossed four innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. He walked one in the no-decision.

Foley entered to pitch the bottom of the fifth. He retired the first two batters he faced but then Jack Wilhoite homered to tie the game at three. Gentile doubled after Wilhoite's long ball, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Foley avoided further trouble by striking out pinch hitter Sawyer Billings.

Neither team scored again until the top of the ninth.

Foley retired the side in order in the sixth and worked around a one-out single in the seventh. Bowdoin had the winning run in scoring position with two outs in the frame but Foley struck out Wilhoite to send the game to extra innings. He finished the contest by retiring the final eight batters he faced in order, setting up the Bobcat offense for the go-ahead score in the top of the ninth.

Bates won game one despite being out-hit 11-7. McCarthy scored two runs and drove in a run without recording a hit. The Polar Bears committed three errors in the game.

Carter finished 1-3 with two runs batted in and MacDonald went 1-3 with a double and a run scored. 

Game Two: Bates 6, Bowdoin 3 (7 innings)

The Bobcats scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead for good in a 6-3 victory over Bowdoin in game two of Saturday's doubleheader. Because game one, scheduled for seven innings, went extra innings, per NESCAC rules game two became a seven-inning game.

With the game tied at three in the top of the sixth, first-year Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) smacked a one-out double. Sophomore Dan Trulli (Melrose, Mass.) singled him to third. Up stepped MacDonald, and he put down a perfect bunt down the first base line. Everyone was safe and Bates led 4-3.

Sylvia smacked a hard shot on the ground that Bowdoin kept on the infield, but once again everyone was safe and Bates loaded the bases with one out and one already home. McCarthy singled in Trulli and Carter drove in MacDonald with a sacrifice fly to extend the Bobcat lead to 6-3.

The big sixth inning made a winner out of Bobcat starter senior Anthony Telesca (Holtsville, N.Y), who tossed five innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs, walking two and striking out three. Telesca (3-1) is tied with Foley for the team-lead in NESCAC wins this year; they've earned two apiece.

Senior Matt Doyle (Northborough, Mass.) relieved Telesca to start the bottom of the sixth. He struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Wilhoite. Wilhoite moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a passed ball. After Eric Mah drew a walk, head coach Jon Martin elected to go to his bullpen again.

Sophomore Alex Simon (Windsor, Conn.) entered the game and struck out Ben Suski to end the inning.

Simon surrendered a pair of singles in the seventh but a 4-6-3 double play ended the game, earning Simon his first collegiate save.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the contest against Bowdoin starter Justin Schachter. 

In the top of the second, Arend singled to lead things off. Trulli followed with a single up the middle, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. MacDonald bunted the runners over and Sylvia tripled in two runs, putting Bates up 2-0. With two outs, Carter singled in Sylvia, extending the lead to 3-0.

But Bowdoin didn't back down, scoring a run in the bottom of the third with two outs on a Joe Gentile RBI triple. 

They plated two more in the fifth to briefly tie the game at three. Mah singled to start the frame and one out later Sadler doubled him home. A Lopez double drove in the tying run but Telesca got Gentile to ground out and the righty struck out Dumont-LaPointe to end the inning. 

Bowdoin had no answers for the three runs Bates plated in the top of the sixth.

Connor Lee (1-2) took the loss on the mound for the Polar Bears.

Sylvia went 3-3 with a run scored, a triple and two runs batted in at the plate for Bates in game two. MacDonald went 2-2 with a run scored and a run batted in, Trulli went 2-4 with two runs scored and Arend went 2-3 with two runs scored, a double and a walk. Carter finished game two 1-3 with two runs batted in.  

Bates has a non-conference game scheduled at Saint Joseph's for Wednesday, April 19 at 4:00 p.m. Their next NESCAC game is set for Friday, April 21 when the Bobcats welcome Trinity to Leahey Field at 3:00 p.m.