HARTFORD, Conn. – The Tufts University baseball team scored in seven of its eight innings during a 16-3 victory over Wesleyan University in the opening game of the 2018 double-elimination NESCAC Tournament on Friday at the Murren Family Field on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
Amherst and Bates are playing in the second game on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and the second-seeded Cardinals (21-15) from the West Division will play the losing team in a must-win game on Saturday at 10 a.m. The top-seeded Jumbos (19-15) from the East Division will compete against the winning team from the Amherst and Bates game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Wesleyan was led by sophomore Andrew Kauf, who went 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk, while sophomore Tanner Fulkerson went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Junior Casey Santos-Ocampo (3-for-4, three runs, two walks, RBI) and senior Tommy O'Hara (2-for-5, double, three RBIs, run) led the charge for Tufts.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Cardinals opened the top of the first with back-to-back singles off the bats of sophomore Alex Cappitelli and Kauf. Tufts sophomore starting pitcher Spencer Langdon was able to work out of the jam with some help from his defense, as O'Hara turned a 5-3 double play on a ground ball to third. Then, with a runner on second and two down, junior Ryan Earle singled up the middle, but Jumbos sophomore second baseman Elias Varinos made a diving stop and was able to gun out Kauf at home to end the inning.
- Tufts put runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the first, and senior Malcolm Nachmanoff was able to beat out a double play with an RBI fielder's choice to short, scoring junior Will Shackelford with the game's first run. The Jumbos kept swinging the bats, and put two more runs on the board in the inning, courtesy of RBI singles by freshman Ryan Daues and Varinos.
- With one down in the top of the second, Fulkerson laid down a bunt single, and advanced to second on a single to right by sophomore Jesse Levy-Rubinett. Wesleyan found its way onto the scoresheet on a one-run single to right by sophomore Jake Alonzo, which scored Fulkerson.
- The Jumbos, who have the top-scoring offense in the NESCAC, claimed a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the second, highlighted by RBI doubles from O'Hara and Nachmanoff, and an RBI ground out to first by Varinos, scoring senior Nick Falkson.
- The game became completely one-sided during the next three innings, as Tufts added two runs in each frame to take a 12-1 advantage. In the third, the unit did all its scoring with two down on RBI singles by Falkson and Santos-Ocampo, scoring Shackelford and Falkson, respectively. O'Hara belted a one-out, two-run single in the fourth, and then in the fifth, junior Eric Schnepf tallied a sacrifice fly and senior Christian Zazzali ripped a one-run single with one out.
- In the top half of the sixth, sophomore Chase Pratt connected on a one-out single to center, and scored one at-bat later on a triple to center by Fulkerson. Fulkerson cut the deficit to 12-3 on an RBI ground out to short by Levy-Rubinett.
- During the bottom of the sixth, junior relief pitcher Dan Lombardo was impressive for the Cardinals, as runners were on second and third with no outs. The East Longmeadow, Mass. native did not allow any runs in the inning, recording two consecutive strikeouts, and getting out of the jam by forcing a ground out to third.
- Tufts pushed the lead up to 16-3 with two-run efforts in the seventh and eighth, respectively.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Langdon (5-0) earned the win on the mound for the Jumbos, giving up three earned runs on 13 hits in seven innings, while striking out four and walking one. Freshman starting pitcher Kelvin Sosa (4-3) was tagged with the loss, as the Bronx, N.Y. native gave up three earned runs on three hits and three walks in 2/3 innings.
- Levy-Rubinett (2-for-4, RBI) and Alonzo (2-for-4, RBI) tallied multi-hit games for the Cardinals.
- Nachmanoff (2-for-5, double, two RBIs, run), Daues (2-for-5, two runs, RBI), Varinos (2-for-5, double, three RBIs) and Zazzali (2-for-4, two RBIs, two runs) were integral factors in the Jumbos' lineup.
- The Jumbos held a slight advantage in hits, 16-13, and the fielding in the game was outstanding with no errors being charged. Tufts stranded 15 runners on base, while the Cardinals left five on the base path.
- Today's game marked the 57th all-time meeting between the two programs, with Tufts holding a 33-24 overall record, and a 5-3 edge in the NESCAC playoffs.