LEWISTON, Maine – Junior starter R.J. Hall allowed just two hits and had 13 strikeouts in eight innings as the Tufts University baseball team opened an important three-game NESCAC East series at Bates with a 5-0 win Friday.
|Casey Santos-Ocampo had a first-inning rbi and scored a run in the eighth|
The Jumbos took over first place in the East with the win, improving to 7-3 in the division and 16-13 overall. They can clinch the East pennant with a win tomorrow when the teams play a double-header starting at noon. They also need to win at least once to secure a conference tournament spot.
Bates, led by a two-hit performance from Dan Trulli today, dropped to 13-13 and 6-4 in the East. The Bobcats need one win this weekend to earn a conference tournament berth.
Hall was masterful today, retiring the final 13 batters he faced to improve to 5-2 on the year. He allowed only a two-out first inning single to Trulli and a two-out base hit by Will Syliva in the second. Hall did not allow a hit from the third through the eighth and lowered his earned run average to 2.81.
Tufts led 2-0 before Hall even took to the hill. Freshman Will Burgess got the start at second base and led off with a double. After senior 1B Nick Falkson singled him to third, senior RF Malcolm Nachmanoff brought Burgess home with a ground out. Junior LF Casey Santos-Ocampo made 2-0 with a double to left-center scoring Falkson.
Bates starter Connor Russell settled down nicely and kept the margin at 2-0 into the eighth. However, the Jumbos loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth on a pair of walks and a double by Nachmanoff. Falkson scored on a wild pitch and then pinch-hitter Justin Mills delivered a two-run triple putting Tufts up 5-0.
The Bobcats loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth including singles by Trulli and Justin White, but senior reliever Kevin Galasso got the final out on a fly ball for Tufts' second shutout of the spring. Hall and Galasso combined on the last one was well, a 10-0 win at Bowdoin April 13.
Junior Harrison Frickman had three hits for Tufts today, while Falkson scored twice. Santos-Ocampo won on base three times with a hit and two walks.
Russell dropped to 3-2, allowing eight hits and five runs with two K's and four walks. Alex Simon (0.2 IP) and Miles Michaud (1 IP) had scoreless relief stints for the hosts.