Three-Run Rally, Game-Ending Double Play Lift Baseball to 5-4 Victory over Keene

MEDFORD – Tufts scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a lead and then turned a 1-2-3 double play in the top of the ninth to end a dramatic 5-4 victory over Keene State College in non-conference baseball action at Huskins Field on Sunday afternoon.

Freshman reliever Michael Volgende pitched in three bases-loaded situations and allowed just one run.

The Jumbos (15-4) trailed 3-2 when freshman 1B Peter DeMaria led off the eighth with a single to left. He was sacrificed to second by sophomore DH Kyle Cortese and then scored to tie the game on a base hit by junior 3B JP Knight. After a fielder's choice by junior Elias Varinos for the second out, senior Harrison Frickman singled down the left-field line and Varinos scored all the way from first to give Tufts a 5-4 advantage. Frickman took second on a wild pitch and scored making it 5-3 on a base hit by senior SS Will Shackelford.

In the top of the ninth, a Jumbo error on a miscommunication during a pop up by Keene junior 2B Tom Meucci was followed by a base hit from senior SS Mac Struthers. Junior 1B Connor Walsh singled home Meucci pulling the Owls within 5-4. After a fly ball for the second out and a walk to load the bases, junior catcher Ryan Linehan hit one back at Jumbo freshman reliever Michael Volgende and he turned it into the game-ending 1-2-3 double play.

Keene had loaded the bases in each of the last three innings, but got only one run out of it. Volgende got a strikeout and two double play balls in those situations and earned the win. He went 2.1 innings giving up five hits and one unearned run.

The Owls scored three times (two unearned) in the second inning to get a lead. Senior DH Connor Longley led off with a walk, junior 3B Tyler Gammie singled and then Longley scored when the Jumbos committed two errors on the same play. Then with two outs both junior RF Josh DeFrancisco and senior CF David Sevigny hit rbi singles.

Keene (7-13) got a good start from senior Brandon Heath, who went seven innings allowing just two runs. He had held Tufts to just one run through six frames. DeMaria, Cortese and Knight hit consecutive singles at the start of the second and Varinos got the run home with a sac fly making it 3-1. The Jumbos then closed within 3-2 in the seventh when junior CF Justin Mills was hit by a Heath pitch, stole second and scored on a single by junior RF Ryan Day.

Jumbo freshman starter Harsha Bollu was also good, allowing four hits and three runs (one earned) in his six innings. DeMaria finished 2 for 4 with two runs for Tufts. Day and Knight also had two hits.

DeFrancis was 3 for 4 with an rbi for Keene.

Tufts will host Roger Williams in a single non-league game on Tuesday. The Owls are at Colby-Sawyer on Tuesday.