On Saturday, May 1, the Amherst baseball team hosted Middlebury College in a double-header, needing only one win to clinch the NESCAC West Division Championship.
Undefeated first-year ace Nick Giattino ’24 got the nod in game one, tossing four innings of three hit ball and striking out five.
Middlebury, however, jumped off to a hot start, knocking a first-inning triple followed by a home run to bring the score to 2-0.
A third-inning single from Baker Angstman gave Middlebury the lead at 3-2, but Amherst’s offense awoke shortly after. The Mammoths plated a pair of runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, leading the way to a decisive 8-5 victory and securing their titles as division champions.
Senior captain Joe Palmo ’21 went 3-4, scoring all three times he reached base and plating a run in the sixth on an RBI single. Daniel Qin ’22, Luke Padian ’24 and Jackson Reydel ’23 all had two-hit games, each recording an RBI while leaving no runners on base.
Jacob Ribitzky ’24 was strong in relief, striking out a remarkable seven batters in three innings on the hill.
In the second game, Coach J.P. Pyne called on Sachin Nambiar ’22 to pitch, and Nambiar did not disappoint. Nambiar went six dominant innings, striking out 12, walking none and allowing only one earned run.
The Mammoth offense struggled early, but a double from Qin in the fourth tied the game at 1-1. Down 2-1 in the sixth, Palmo came through for the Mammoths again, crushing a two-run homer to right field. Qin followed with a single, and after stealing second base, he managed to score on a Panthers error to bring the score to 4-1.
However, an error allowed the Panthers to tie the game in the seventh inning at 4-4. In extra innings, Middlebury plated another to win 5-4.
Palmo’s strong day earned him NESCAC co-player of the week, marking back-to-back weeks in which an Amherst ballplayer received the honor.
While the extra-inning loss may seem disappointing, the Mammoths were unfazed as the first-game victory had already secured the squad a place in next weekend’s NESCAC championship against Tufts University.