AMHERST, Mass. -- The way Jamie Carey describes it, it sounds almost too simple.
“Guys seem to get on base ahead of me all the time when I’m hitting and I usually drive them in most of the time,” said Carey, who upped his team-leading RBI total to 22 after knocking in three more runs in Amherst's 5-2 victory over Springfield Cathedral Friday night at Stanley P. Ziomek Field.
The Hurricanes improve their overall mark to 14-5. They still have one final regular-season game remaining at Longmeadow on Saturday. The Panthers, who completed their regular-season, fall to 13-7. Both schools have already qualified for the Western Mass. Division 1 tournament.
Trailing 2-0 early, the Hurricanes rallied for three runs in the third and added a pair in the fourth to put this one away. After a shaky start, senior pitcher Asher Young responded nicely, going the distance, allowing just 3 hits while striking out 4. The benefactor of a late-breaking two-seam fastball and a 12-to-6 curve, Young, who will pitch for Wesleyan University next season, stymied Cathedral’s potent offense over the final six innings.
“After a tough first inning he was pretty phenomenal,” Amherst head coach Greg Vouros said. “He works hard and he works quickly.”
Playing under a light drizzle and strong wind gusts, the Hurricanes rebounded from their early deficit. In the decisive third inning, they loaded the bases against Panther righthander Tim Danehy. Young’s ground out drove in his team’s first run and Carey followed with a hard, two-out single up the middle giving Amherst a 3-2 lead.
“It was a great job by Jamie to get that two-out, two-RBI hit as a sophomore,” said Vouros. “We have some guys up in our order with high on-base percentages. In fact, all three of the guys batting ahead of him are multi-year players and the strength of this team is our leadership. It's made a big difference.”
One inning later the Hurricanes loaded the bases again. Young's infield single off the glove of Danehy plated a run to make it 4-2. Carey followed suit by legging out a chopper to the left side for a single and putting Amherst in front by three runs.
“To see our guys come through and fight back like they did, it certainly shows how some clutch, timely hitting really helps you out,” added Vouros.
After the offense did its part, Young took control of things from there, surrendering just a pair of singles over the final three frames to improve his mound record to 5-3, and, in turn, avenge an earlier 2-1 loss he suffered versus Cathedral.
“The way he pitches, like tonight, it really helps us out in the field,” said Carey. “We trust him as much as anybody else we have out there.”
The Panthers grabbed a two-run lead in opening frame. With two runners in scoring position following an error, a single and a SAC bunt, Cathedral wasn’t about to let this opportunity sail by. A fly out by Danehy deep to centerfield scored the Panthers first run. Moments later, a passed ball plated another. As it turned out, it was the only damage Young would encounter as he seemed to grow stronger on the hill as the game progressed.
“We have a lot of respect for Amherst and the way they play the game,” Cathedral head coach Pat Moriarty said. “Young is a very good pitcher but so is Danehy. We were just a little unlucky tonight as far as some of their hits dropping in and ours didn’t. I thought we played pretty-well and deserved better tonight.”