Baseball Wins Opener 6-4 over Castleton Behind Strong Start by Varinos

HAMPTON, Va. – Senior tri-captain Speros Varinos pitched seven scoreless innings striking out 13 and Nick Falkson drove home two runs as the Tufts University baseball team opened its 2017 season with a 6-4 win over Castleton at War Memorial Stadium in Hampton, Virginia.

Nick Falkson had two hits and two rbis for Tufts

Varinos left with a 4-0 lead, but the Spartans rallied for three in the bottom of the eighth before Jumbo junior reliever Ian Kinney stopped the threat. Tufts added two insurance runs in the ninth and Castleton scored in the bottom of the inning for the 6-4 final.

After failing to score with men in scoring position in the first and second innings, the Jumbos broke through with a pair in the top of the third. Oscar Kutch set table by getting hit by a pitch with one out and stealing second. Tommy O'Hara followed with an rbi single to center plating Tufts' first run of 2017. Later in the inning, a fielder's choice by Malcolm Nachmanoff and a pair of singles by Falkson and Mike McLaughlin (rbi) put the Jumbos ahead 2-0.

Varinos stranded Spartan runners in scoring position in the first and third innings and had eight strikeouts through three. In both innings, he got the final out with a K.

O'Hara's lead-off double in the fifth led to another Jumbo score. After Nachmanoff walked, O'Hara took third when a Castleton pick-off attempt went awry. Falkson hit a sac fly to right making it 3-0 Tufts.

The game remained 3-0 through the seventh. Another lead-off double and sac fly combo by the Jumbos led to another run. Tom Petry doubled to left, took third on a ground out and scored on Will Shackelford's fly to right.

Castleton rallied off Jumbo reliever Charlie McQuinn in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on first and third after a pair of singles by Deagan Poland and Jonathan Lindau, Davis Mikell doubled to left-center scoring both. Zach Bahan then followed with another double scoring Mikell and quickly it was 4-3. With the tying run on second, Kinney came on and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Falkson had an rbi single scoring O'Hara and then scored on a walk by Eric Schnepf in the Tufts ninth. A double by Josh Rylant and a single by Dillon Benam scored Castleton's ninth-inning run.

Falkson finished 2 for 4 with two rbis and a run for Tufts, while O'Hara was 2 for 4 with two runs and an rbi. Petry also had a pair of hits as Tufts finished with nine. Varinos allowed seven hits and walked just one while picking up the victory. Kinney earned a save with 1.2 innings of two-hit, one-run relief.

Castleton finished the game with 13 hits, including three each in the middle of the order by Lindau and Mikell. Benham was 2 for 4 for the Spartans and Matt Jackson also had two hits. Castleton starter Michael LaBeau (0-1) went five innings allowing seven hits and three runs (one earned) with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.

The Jumbos play two tomorrow against St. Vincent at 1 p.m. and versus Apprentice School at 4 p.m. Both games will be hosted by Apprentice. Castleton (1-1) is scheduled to host Middlebury on Wednesday.