NESCAC Championship Game 5: Middlebury 8, Williams 2

Middlebury Baseball

Courtesy of Middlebury Sports Information

WATERVILLE, Maine - Middlebury continued its quest for a NESCAC Championship with an 8-2 win over Williams (24-11) in Game 5, an elimination game, of the NESCAC Championship in the first game of the day on Sunday at Colby College.

Middlebury took a 1-0 lead in the third inning with an unearned run. Andrew Gough reached on an error and moved to second on a base hit from Andrew HenningsJustin Han drove in the game's first run with a single to left, as Gough crossed the plate.

The Panthers struck for five runs on five hits in the third inning. Henry Strmecki reached on an error with one out and moved to third on a double down the left-field line by Gray GoolsbyHayden Smith followed with a triple to left center to drive in both runs for a 3-0 lead. Gough and Brooks Carroll both reached on infield singles, as Smith scored during Gough's at-bat. Andrew Hennings was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Han, who belted a single to center to plate Carroll and Gough for a 6-0 lead. Williams got out of the inning with a double play, its third turned in four innings.

The Panthers added a run in the fifth when Strmecki reached on an infield single and later scored on a ground-rule double to left by Smith.

Williams got on the board in the bottom of the inning when David Driscoll doubled to left and scored one batter later on an infield single to short.

The Ephs added a single run in the sixth on a solo homer from Tom Benz, making it a 7-2 game.

Middlebury increased its lead in the eighth when Han singled in Gough, who led off with a double to right.

The first five hitters in the Middlebury lineup were a combined 12-19 in the game with eight RBI and six runs scored. Han finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs, Strmecki was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Gough went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Smith was 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBIs, while Hennings went 2-for-2.

Alex Rosario improved to 3-1 with the win, allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings with a career-high eight strikeouts. Conor Himstead threw a pair of scoreless innings of relief.

Sam Rohrer (3-2) suffered the loss, giving up four earned runs on eight hits over four innings. Driscoll was 2-for-4 with a double to pace the Eph hitters.

The victory put Middlebury in the championship for the second time in three years, facing the same opponent, Tufts.