MEDFORD - Tufts University senior Tim Superko and Middlebury College sophomore Colby Morris traded fine pitching performances as the Jumbos and Panthers split a college baseball double-header on Sunday at Huskins Field.
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In a pair of seven-inning games, Middlebury won the first 4-0 and Tufts took the second 6-1. Morris allowed five hits and no runs in six innings for the Panthers in the opener. Superko gave up six hits and one unearned run during six innings in the nightcap.
Both teams will play in the NESCAC Championship coming up next weekend (May 12-14) at Colby College. Today's split put Tufts at 26-7-1, while Middlebury is now 20-14.
In game one, Middlebury's Morris and Tufts senior Speros Varinos were locked in a 0-0 pitcher's dule through four innings. Panther freshman 2B Justin Han then smashed an opposite-field home run in the top of the fifth to put Middlebury ahead 1-0.
The Jumbos had base runners in five of their six innings against Morris. However, the Panther hurler stranded seven on base while improving his season record to 5-3. Sophomore Conor Himstead pitched the seventh for Middlebury and retired three of the four batters that he faced.
Middlebury won with just three hits. After loading the bases in the seventh with the help of a single by senior 1B Jason Lock, freshman DH Kevin Woodring clearned them with a double to the right-center gap putting the visitors ahead 4-0.
Tufts' Varinos took his first loss of the year, falling to 8-1. Han's home run was the only blemish, as Varinos retired all of the 15 other batters that he faced. He struck out four.
Han scored twice for Middlebury in game one.
A combined seven errors in game two led to six of the seven total runs being scored unearned. Five Panther miscues resulted in five unearned runs by the Jumbos. Tufts freshman DH Ryan Day led off the second inning with a walk, went to third on a single by sophomore CF Casey Santos-Ocampo and scored on a Middlebury error for a 1-0 Tufts lead.
Junior 3B Tommy O'Hara doubled home a run in the third and later scored on a base hit by Day for a 3-0 Jumbo lead. Three Middlebury errors in the fourth allowed Tufts to pad their lead to 6-0. A bases-loaded walk by sophomore SS Will Shackelford was the only Tufts rbi in the inning.
In the top of the second inning, Superko was helped by Jumbo junior LF Mike McLaughlin throwing out Panther junior 3B Raj Palekar trying to stretch a single into a double. In the third, Middlebury scored its lone run as freshman RF Grant Elgarten reached on an error and then scored on another Tufts error during a base hit by sophomore catcher Phil Bernstein.
The Panthers couldn't capitalized on Han's lead-off double in the fourth. Superko's outing ended with a line-drive double play for the Jumbos in the sixth. He improved to 6-0 on the season. Freshman Elias Varinos got the last three outs for the Jumbos.
Sophomore Colin Waters took the game-two loss for Middlebury, allowing four hits and six runs (one earned) with four strikeouts and four walks. Freshman Andrew Martinson and senior Jake Stalcup both pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Panthers. Han was 2 for 3 in the nightcap for the visitors, while Palekar finished 2 for 2.
Tufts will play Amherst College in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship on Friday night at 7 p.m. Middlebury faces Bates College in the tournament opener at 3 p.m. Friday.