Collins strikes out career-high 12, baseball falls to Williams and Middlebury at NESCAC Championships

Junior Nolan Collins struck out a career-high 12 batters over seven and two thirds innings pitched on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at the NESCAC Championships. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Junior Nolan Collins came one strikeout short of matching the NESCAC Championships record for K's in one game with a career-high 12 but the Bates baseball team fell to Williams and Middlebury Saturday at Coombs Field on the campus of Colby College. 

The Bobcats fell to the Ephs 11-3 and to the Panthers 10-1 in games that were much closer than the final scores indicate. With the pair of losses, the Bobcats' season comes to an end. Bates (19-17) finishes with its best season overall since the 2013 team also went 19-17. During the regular season, Bates went 9-3 in NESCAC East play, its best record ever within the division. 

Williams 11, Bates 3

The Bobcats trailed just 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh before the Williams College Ephs scored the final seven runs of the game to run away with an 11-3 win over Bates in the first game of the NESCAC Championships.

Williams, the NESCAC West champion, scored three in the seventh and four in the eighth to secure the win over the Bobcats. The Ephs fell to NESCAC East champion Tufts in the following game and will play Middlebury Sunday morning at 9am, with the winner needing to beat Tufts twice later in the day to take the conference title.

Senior Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) kept the Bobcats in the game on the mound, going five and two thirds innings and allowing four runs on nine hits. Foley (6-3) struck out three while walking just one. 

Jack Bohen (6-0) remained undefeated on the year for the Ephs, going six and two thirds innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He got away with walking seven batters while striking out only one.

Bates grabbed the early lead in the top of the third. With two outs, junior captain Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) singled to center. Then, sophomore Christian Beal (Flossmoor, Ill.) lifted a towering fly ball that dropped in no man's land in right field. Arend scored from first on the play and Beal advanced to second on the throw home, putting the Bobcats up 1-0.

The Bobcats appeared poised to do more damage, loading the bases on back-to-back walks issued to sophomore Noah Loughlin (Mililani, Hawaii) and first-year Antonio Jareno (Marietta, Ga.). But a ground out to first ended the frame.

In the bottom of the third, the Ephs took their turn scoring with two outs in the inning. Eric Pappas and Tom Benz smacked back-to-back singles. Then Kellen Hatheway launched a three-run home run to give Williams the lead for good.

The Ephs added a run in the fifth but the game remained close, with the Bobcats trailing 4-1 through six innings. 

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Arend singled to center. Beal and first-year Bryan Gotti (Westwood, Mass.) drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases. 

Charlie Carpenter entered the game for Bohen and Jareno greeted him with a single through the hole on the right side, plating a pair of runs and cutting the Williams lead to 4-3.

But the Ephs responded right away. Pappas singled to start the bottom of the seventh and Benz doubled him in. Then Hatheway hit his second long ball of the day, making the score 7-3.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Then Pappas and Benz did more damage, singling home one run each. One out later, a walk forced in the third run of the inning and a sacrifice fly capped off the scoring for Williams.

Pappas, Benz and Hatheway combined to go 11-15 at the top of the order, with seven runs scored, a double, two home runs and nine RBis.

Arend, Beal and Jareno paced Bates with two hits each. Jareno also drew a pair of walks, reaching base four times in the contest. Beal also stole a pair of bases to go along with a run scored, an RBI and a walk. 

Middlebury 10, Bates 1

Two big innings propelled Middlebury past Bates by a score of 10-1 in Saturday night's elimination game.

The Panthers (24-12) scored four runs in the second and six runs in the eighth. 

Collins (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) was charged with seven runs in seven and two thirds innings pitched. However, he turned in a terrific performance for most of the night, striking out the aforementioned career-high 12 batters and allowing just six hits. Collins (7-2) leads the conference with 64 strikeouts on the season. The record for most strikeouts at the NESCAC Championships in one game is 13, set in 2001 by Trinity's Jarrett Bayliss.

Alex Price (5-2) earned the win for Middlebury, allowing just one run on six hits in seven innings pitched. He walked three and struck out seven.

The Panthers scored all the runs they needed in the bottom of the second. 

With one out, Sam Graf drew a walk. Henry Strmecki singled him to second and Hayden Smith walked to load the bases. Collins struck out Phil Bernstein for the second out of the inning but Brooks Carroll singled in two runs and Justin Han doubled in two more, giving Middlebury a 4-0 lead.

Bates got on the board in the top of the fifth. Senior Justin White (Whitesboro, N.Y.) singled to lead off the inning and Arend drew a walk. Beal singled through the left side, driving in White and moving Arend to third. But a line out, a strikeout and a failed attempted steal of home ended the inning with no further runs scoring for Bates.

Down 4-1, the Bobcats threatened in the top of the eighth. With one away, Jareno reached on an infield single and with two down junior Giovanni Torres (North Haven, Conn.) singled through the left side. A fielder's choice ended the inning with Bates still trailing by three.

The eighth inning proved to be a very frustrating one for the Bobcats, with Middlebury scoring six runs, all coming with two outs. Han walked to start the frame and swiped a pair of bags to get to third base. Collins retired the next two batters before hitting Andrew Hennings, putting runners at the corners. 

Graf hit a slow roller to short and beat it out, scoring Han to extend the lead to 5-1. With Collins having thrown 122 pitches, the Bobcats took him out of the game and brought in senior captain Alex Simon (Windsor, Conn.) out of the bullpen. Simon got two quick strikes on Strmecki before he reached on an infield single, loading the bases. Smith followed with a two-RBI single up the middle and Bernstein got hit by a pitch, Carroll cleared the bases with a double to left-center, making the score 10-1.

Carroll finished 3-4 with a run scored, a double and five RBIs for Middlebury.

White, Beal and Torres tallied two hits each for Bates. The Bobcats left 10 runners on base against the Panthers after leaving 11 runners on against Williams.