HARTFORD, Conn. – The Tufts University baseball team utilized a nine-run fourth inning en route to a 14-7 win over Wesleyan University in a must-win situation for both teams during Game 5 of the NESCAC Tournament on Saturday at the Murren Family Field in Hartford, Conn.
The Jumbos (20-16), the top seed from the East Division, will need to defeat Amherst, the No. 1 seed from the West Division, twice on Sunday in order to win the NESCAC title. The first game is set for 10 a.m. in Hartford, Conn., and then the second game will be played tomorrow afternoon if necessary.
The Cardinals (22-16) fought off elimination earlier in the day on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Bates, but the squad was eliminated from the tournament as a result of two losses to Tufts.
Sophomore Alex Cappitelli led the way for the Cardinals, going 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a walk. The Jumbos received standout performances by sophomore Elias Varinos (3-for-6, double, two runs, RBI) and junior Harrison Frickman (3-for-4, three runs, two RBIs, walk).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Wesleyan went on the scoresheet first in its half of the opening inning, with Cappitelli and sophomore Andrew Kauf leading off with back-to-back singles. Kauf scored on an error by the second baseman during a fielder's choice by junior Ryan Earle.
- The Jumbos fired back with a three-run second inning, as freshman Ryan Daues evened the game at 1-1, scoring on an error by the shortstop with one out. Two batters later, senior Tommy O'Hara recorded an RBI single to right, and next up was senior Nick Falkson, who extended Tufts lead to 3-1 on a RBI during a fielder's choice, plating senior Christian Zazzali.
- In the bottom of the second, Wesleyan knotted the game at 3-3 behind an RBI single to right by sophomore Kevin Walek and a one-run double to center by Cappitelli, as both hits came with two down.
- A nine-run fourth by Tufts put the game completely in control of the Jumbos, as Daues and Frickman each came up with a two-run single during the inning. The rally ended with a two-out RBI walk by Falkson, putting Tufts up by a score of 12-3.
- The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth as a result of singles by Walek and Cappitelli, and a walk by Kauf. Junior Danny Rose brought Wesleyan to within 12-4 on a sacrifice fly to right.
- Tufts added on another tally in the seventh, doing all its damage with two outs. Frickman reached on an infield single, and then scored all the way from first on an RBI double to left by Zazzali during the next at-bat.
- The Cardinals drew three walks to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Cappitelli drew another walk, which allowed sophomore Tanner Fulkerson to score, and then sophomore Jesse Levy-Rubinett and Walek scored a pair of unearned runs on an error by the shortstop, pulling Wesleyan to within 13-7.
- Tufts concluded the scoring in the top of the ninth on an RBI double to center by Varinos. Junior Casey Santos-Ocampo, who led off the inning with a walk, ran across home plate on the play.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Fulkerson went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and a walk for Wesleyan, while Walek was phenomenal, recording a 2-for-4 effort with three runs, an RBI and a walk.
- For the Jumbos, Falkson finished with a 2-for-4 performance, to go along with a double, three RBIs, two walks and a run.
- Freshman Jamie Weiss earned the win on the mound for the Jumbos, working 4 2/3 innings of relief. He gave up two earned runs on five hits, while walking six and striking out three.
- Junior Mike McCaffrey (2-4) suffered the loss for the Cardinals, allowing six earned runs on five hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings. The Warwick, R.I. native compiled five strikeouts on the day.
- Tufts led the hits category, 12-11, while the Cardinals made three errors and the Jumbos were charged with two.
- Tufts improved to 34-24 all time against Wesleyan, while the Jumbos lead the way with a 6-3 record in the NESCAC playoffs.