NORTHBOROUGH – Tufts University junior DH Mike McLaughlin hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning giving the Jumbos a lead they would not relinquish in an eventual 8-2 victory against Massachusetts Maritime Academy Wednesday night at the New England Baseball Complex.
|Freshman Brad Marchetti pitched two perfect innings in relief|
Tenth-ranked Tufts, playing its New England opener, improved to 9-1. The Jumbos finished with 12 hits as all nine starters had at least one. Senior RF Oscar Kutch hit his first home run of the season while going 2 for 4 with three runs scored. Junior 1B Nick Falkson was 2 for 5 with two rbis and sophomore CF Casey Santos-Ocampo also had two hits. Six Tufts pitchers limited the Buccaneers (5-4) to four hits.
The game was close until Tufts broke it open with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Jumbos had put two on without a hit in the first when McLaughlin drilled his two-run double to right-center with two outs to get the offense started.
A pair of Buccaneer errors extended the third inning and Tufts sophomore catcher Harrison Frickman made them hurt by stinging a single to center scoring Santos-Ocampo, who had singled. Meanwhile, Jumbo sophomore starter R.J. Hall did not allow a hit in three innings, striking out five. Tufts led 3-0 heading to the fourth.
Mass Maritime got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as Jake Petruzzelli singled with one out and scored on a double to center by Jackson Simone. When Robert Dembitzki singled to left with two outs, Simone rounded third but was caught trying to get back to the bag as Tufts LF Harry Brown threw to 3B Tommy O'Hara.
The Bucs would manufacture a run to close the gap to one (3-2) in the fifth. Shortstop Ethan O'Hara led off with a walk, was bunted to second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Connor Kennedy.
MMA freshman starter Andrew Auld settled in after the first. He allowed the unearned run in the third, but stranded Jumbos on second and third in the fourth and put Tufts down 1-2-3 in the fifth. However, Kutch got him for a solo shot to right with two outs in the sixth giving Tufts a 4-2 lead.
During Tufts' four-run eighth, Falkson hit a two-run single and Santos-Ocampo had a run-scoring base hit.
Jumbo relievers retired 13 of the last 14 Buccaneer batters. Sophomore Brad Marchetti threw 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh, followed by a perfect inning by freshman Brent Greeley. Junior Ian Kinney finished it off, allowing only a single to Aidan Desrosiers.
Hall was awarded the win for Tufts, his first of the season. Auld pitched well in a losing effort for the Bucs, allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned) with three strikeouts and two walks in six innings. Justin Nichols threw a scoreless seventh for the Bucs.
Tufts heads to Trinity this weekend to begin NESCAC East Division play. Mass Maritime hosts Wentworth tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.