WILLIMANTIC, CT – The Tufts University baseball team advanced to the championship round of the NCAA Regional with a 7-1 victory over Oswego State on Saturday at Eastern Connecticut State University.
The Jumbos (35-7), who set a school record for victories with the win, will play Keystone College (36-9) in the championship round. Tufts will need to defeat the Giants twice. The first game is Saturday at 3:30 pm. An if necessary game will be played on Sunday at noon.
In an elimination game for Tufts, freshman starter R.J. Hall pitched a complete game allowing nine hits and one run against Oswego. Freshman CF Casey Santos-Ocampo made his first start of the season, had two hits with a run and an rbi, and made a diving catch with two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth.
Oswego's season ended with a 35-11 record. Eric Hamilton, Robert Donnelly, and Alex Brown all had two hits for the Lakers. They lost twice to the Jumbos, including 2-0 on Thursday.
Oscar Kutch got the Jumbos going today with a solo home run to right field with one out in the top of the first. It's the only home run of the Regional so far for the Jumbos.
Tufts added two in the second inning. Tom Petry walked with one out, Santos-Ocampo singled sharply to right, and both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Harrison Frickman hit a slow grounder to short scoring Petry and a bad throw to first on the play allowed Santos-Ocampo to score as well for a 3-0 Tufts lead.
The Jumbos turned three double plays in the game. In the Oswego second after Myles Kutscher singled to lead off the inning, the Jumbos got a 1-6-3 double play to erase the runner. Alex Brown hit a two-out double to left-center in the third for the Lakers, but Hall got a fly ball out to end the inning.
The Jumbos walked the bases loaded in the fifth with free passes earned by Frickman, Brown, and O'Hara. Pinch-hitter Boomer Saraga then bounced a two-run single through the right side to put Tufts up 5-0.
Meanwhile, Brown allowed just three hits and no runs through five innings. After Donnelly led off with a single in the Oswego sixth, Tufts turned a 6-4-3 double play. The Jumbos loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh and did not score, with a 1-6-3 double play by the Lakers aiding the cause.
Oswego got to Hall for a run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Eric Hamilton singled to center and went to second on a ground out. Jordan Giller singled slowly through the right side scoring Hamilton to make it a 5-1 game.
The Lakers threatened again in the eighth as Donnelly and Brown hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Casey-Ocampo made a long run and diving catch on a ball hit to right-center for the first out. Tufts then turned a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.
Tufts scored two insurance runs with the help of two Laker errors in the top of the ninth. Matt Moser was hit by a pitch and Boomer Saraga reached on an error. Oswego then misplayed a bunt allowing Moser to score. Ocampo capped his game with an rbi single to center for a 7-1 advantage.
The Jumbos finished with 10 hits. Kutch was 2 for 5 with a run and an rbi, while Moser was 2 for 4 with a run.
Jumbo pitching limited Oswego, who entered the tournament 11th nationally with a .336 batting average, to one run and 12 hits in 18 innings.
Starter Nathan Boughton, one of five Oswego pitchers in the game, took the loss allowing three hits and five runs (four eanred) in four innings.
Keystone defeated the Jumbos 11-3 in the winners' bracket at the Regional on Saturday.