HARTFORD – The Amherst College baseball team defeated Tufts University, 3-2, on Sunday to win the 2018 NESCAC Championship at Trinity College.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Mammoths scored twice as Tufts attempted to convert a double-play to take a 3-2 lead. Junior reliever Mike Dow recorded the final six outs in a row and Amherst (24-12) won its fourth conference title.
The Mammoths' pitching staff did a good job limiting Tufts' powerful offense in two games between the teams this weekend. In the winners' bracket on Saturday, Amherst allowed just five Tufts hits and two runs in a 9-2 victory that put them into the championship round. Tufts would have had to defeat Amherst twice today in order to win the conference crown.
Tufts loaded the bases with two outs in the first and did not score, while a one-out double by Amherst's Sam Ellinwood was wasted in the second. Tufts took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third as sophomore Ryan Day led off with a single and scored on a single to left by Nachmanoff. However, Amherst answered immediately when Severino Simeone was hit by a pitch, Max Steinhorn had a bunt single and Harry Roberson followed with a run-scoring single to left.
Both teams put runners in scoring position in the fourth. Shackelford hit a one-out double for Tufts and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Amherst starter Davis Brown got a strike-out to end the frame. The Mammoths left two on in the fourth as Tufts starter R.J. Hall got a ground ball for the third out.
Tufts took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when junior Casey Santos-Ocampo led off with a double and scored on a double-play ball.
In the Amherst seventh, Simeone hit a one-out single and Steinhorn followed with an infield single. After a walk to Roberson, Ariel Kenney hit a ground ball to second and Tufts went for the double-play. However, Kenney beat it out and both Simeone and Steinhorn scored. Amherst loaded the bases on singles by Nick Nardone and Joseph Palmo after that, but Hall again got a ground ball to prevent any further damage in the inning.
With Stephen Burke and Dow, Amherst got four innings of no-hit, no-run relief to finish out the win. Steinhorn and Nardone both had two hits for Amherst, while Simeone scored twice. Burke earned the win in relief for the Mammoths.
Hall went eight innings giving up 11 hits and three runs with seven K's in a losing effort for Tufts.