WILLIMANTIC, CT - The Tufts baseball team improved to 2-0 at the NCAA New England Regional Thursday night on the strength of another excellent pitching performance in a 2-0 victory against Oswego State.
The Jumbos (34-6) matched the school record for victories with the win. They will face the only other 2-0 team at the Regional, Keystone College (35-9), in game 11 of the bracket Friday at 4:30 pm. The winner will advance to the championship round on Saturday.
Tonight, Jumbo pitchers Tim Superko and Ian Kinney held a strong Oswego offense to three hits. Superko started and went six innings allowing two hits and no runs with 10 strikeouts and four walks. He improved to 5-0 with the win. Kinney came on in the seventh and allowed just one hit the rest of the way for his fourth save. He struck out three.
On Wednesday, Tufts starter Speros Varinos went 8.2 innings allowing five hits and one run with 14 K's in an 8-1 opening-round win over Mitchell College. In 18 innings thus far at the Regional, Jumbo pitchers have allowed eight hits and one run (0.50 era) with 27 strikeouts.
Oswego came into the game ranked 11th nationally with a .336 batting average. The Lakers did put runners on base against Superko, but were unable to score as the Jumbo lefty stranded six. The Lakers left nine runners on base for the game.
Eric Hamilton hit a two-out single in the first and went to second on an error, but was left there. John Barnes walked with one out in the second, advanced to second on another Jumbo error, then took third on a wild pitch. However, Superko got a strikeout to end the inning. In the third, Wes Randall singled with one out, but did not advance.
The Jumbos would score the game's only runs in the bottom of the third off Oswego starter Tim Cronin. Oscar Kutch led off with a single and took third on a one-out base hit by Eric Schnepf. Harry Brown doubled Kutch home for a 1-0 lead. After Christian Zazzali worked a walk to load the bases, Tommy O'Hara hit a sacrifice fly to center making it 2-0 Tufts.
Tufts left two on without a hit in the fourth, while Oswego would strand two in the sixth without the benefit of a hit. Brian Hamilton led off the Oswego eighth with the only hit off Kinney, but the Jumbo sophomore retired the next three batters. A Tufts error brought the tying run to the plate for the Lakers in the top of the ninth, but Kinney locked down the win with a strikeout and a ground out.
Schnepf at 2 for 3 was the only player in the game with multiple hits as Tufts finished with five. Tufts' 34th win matched the school record set by the 2010 Jumbos (34-7) and repeated in 2014 (34-9).
Cronin took the loss for the Lakers, dropping to 6-2 after giving up five hits and two runs in seven innings. Cody LaFlamme pitched a 1-2-3 inning of relief.
The Lakers (33-10) will face Wheaton College in an elimination game on Friday at 1:15 pm.
Keystone has advanced this week with wins over Suffolk (5-2) and Salem State (7-1).