Building off their win last Monday, the baseball team picked up two unforgettable victories in their series against Trinity this weekend. After mounting a remarkable 10-run comeback in the ninth inning of the series opener, Nick Giattino ’24 threw a no-hitter in the next game, the second no-hitter he has been a part of in just the second year of his collegiate career.
Before playing Trinity, the Mammoths faced Western New England University at home on Wednesday, April 13. A hard-fought contest by both sides, including a six-run fifth inning for Amherst, the game was called in the ninth inning due to darkness with the score knotted at seven.
Next on the schedule was the three-game series with Trinity at home on Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16. The games did not count toward either team’s NESCAC record – Trinity is in the East division and Amherst is in the West division, and out-of-division games do not count toward conference records.
Game one was Amherst’s annual Pride Game. The Mammoths took an early 2-1 lead after two innings, but the Bantams responded with seven runs over the next four innings to take an 8-2 lead. The Mammoths got one back, but Trinity went on another scoring run, plating four more in the last three innings. The game appeared to be all but over: heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Mammoths were down 12-3.
But the fat lady stayed quiet. Jack Sampedro ’25 led off the ninth with a single. Daniel Qin ’22 followed with a double. Christian Fagnant ’24 scored both of his teammates with a two-run single, causing the previously dormant dugout to stir. Jack Boyle ’25 walked. Ryan McIntyre ’25 then reached on an infield single, and an errant throw allowed Fagnant to score. Jack McDermott ’25 singled to drive in a run, as did Jackson Reydel ’23 immediately after. Luke Padian ’24 stepped to the plate next and drove a double into the right-center gap, scoring yet another run. Then, it was Jack Dove’s ’23 turn, and he laced a two-run single to center. The Mammoths’ dugout made their presence known — they had just batted through the entire lineup without recording a single out and reduced the ten-run deficit to just one, with the score sitting at 12-11.
The Bantams finally changed pitchers, but the new arm immediately hit Sampedro in his second at-bat of the inning, placing the tying run on second and the winning run on first. Qin stepped up in an obvious bunt situation, but the Bantams threw out the lead runner at third base on the sacrifice attempt to record the first out of the inning. Fagnant then hit a dribbler to first base for what should have been a routine second out, but the Bantams’ pitcher lost his handle on the ball, loading the bases with just a single out. Up stepped Boyle, who shot a single into center field, scoring the winning run from second and sparking a frenzied celebration among the Mammoths. Final score: 13-12.
The comeback was a full team effort — every player who stepped to the plate reached base safely. They scored ten runs on nine hits in the frame, more than doubling the five hits that they had in the eight previous innings combined. Charlie Estes ’22 recorded his first win of the season, pitching just a third of an inning.
Game two on Saturday, the first of two seven-inning games, turned out to be as remarkable as the first. Giattino turned in the best pitching performance of his young collegiate career, blanking the Bantams in the hit column and allowing just two baserunners on a walk and a hit batter. The sophomore phenom finished his no-hitter with nine total strikeouts over seven complete innings and was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week. The performance was just the fifth Amherst no-hitter in the last 50 years, but is the second no-hitter Giattino has been a part of over the past two years: he combined with Alan Dai ’24 last year to no-hit Hamilton.
“I had faith in not only myself, but in my teammates (especially my fielders) and the coaching staff,” said Giattino of his dominant performance. “The no-hitter may go on my resume, but it is completely a team award.”
Comparing his performance to last year’s combined effort, Giattino said, “In those final moments, I could tell how much personally I have changed from one year ago, and being able to finally accomplish it [alone] was pure bliss. But again, without my teammates, none of it was possible.”
In the final game of the weekend, the Mammoths lost 6-3. The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the sixth inning, but the Bantams scored four runs to take a 6-2 lead. The Mammoths seemed on the verge of another comeback in the ninth, loading the bases with no outs, but they only managed to score one run before Trinity retired the final three batters.
Heading into the final two weeks of regular season action, the Mammoths possess a record of 8-14-1. While the beginning of the season presented difficulties, the Mammoths have not lost in four of their last five games.
“The struggle brought us closer together and taught us valuable lessons that we are using moving forward,” said Giattino. “We are ready for anything and welcome the challenge.”
A busy week is ahead: they will play Springfield College away on Wednesday, April 20, before heading to Vermont for a NESCAC series with Middlebury on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23. They will close out the week on Sunday, April 24, with a home game against MIT, rescheduled from late March.