Baseball splits doubleheader with Tufts, qualifies for NESCAC tournament

Dan Trulli and Jack Arend congratulate Will Sylvia after he crosses the plate in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, a 5-0 win for Bates over the Jumbos. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates baseball team got a terrific performance on the mound from sophomore Nolan Collins and split a doubleheader with Tufts on Saturday, winning game one 5-0 before dropping game two 12-2.

With the split, Tufts (17-14, 8-4 NESCAC) wins the East Division title and Bates (14-14, 7-5 NESCAC) finishes in a three-way tie with Trinity and Bowdoin for second place. The Bobcats went 4-2 against Trinity and Bowdoin in conference play, earning them a spot in the four-team double elimination NESCAC tournament for the second straight season. (Bowdoin went 3-3 against Bates and Trinity and Trinity went 2-4 against Bates and Bowdoin.)

Game One: Bates 5, Tufts 0

Collins (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) tossed a complete game shutout, striking out a career-high eight along the way to lead the Bobcats to a 5-0 win over the Jumbos in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.

Tufts starter Brent Greeley (5-2) kept the Bobcats at bay until the bottom of the fourth. 

Junior Justin White (Whitesboro, N.Y.) walked to start the frame and senior Asher MacDonald (Hillsborough, N.C.) bunted him to second. Sophomore Giovanni Torres (North Haven, Conn.) singled sharply through the left side, moving White to third. Then sophomore Kyle Carter (Plantation, Fla.) lay down a perfect squeeze bunt for a base hit, scoring White to put Bates up 1-0. Torres advanced to third on a Tufts error and senior Connor DiVincenzo (Westwood, Mass.) singled sharply off the pitcher to extend the lead to 2-0. Sophomore Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) followed with a single to right, plating Carter and putting Bates up 3-0. 

The Bobcats tacked on two more runs in the sixth. With two outs and nobody on, DiVincenzo doubled to deep right field. Sylvia singled to left and DiVincenzo beat the throw home, making the score 4-0. Sylvia advanced to second on the play and sophomore Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) singled him home, chasing Greeley from the game. Andrew Wood got the last out of the inning but Bates held a 5-0 lead going to the top of the seventh.

Collins (3-2) finished the deal by working a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the final two batters he faced. 

The Bobcats outhit the Jumbos 9-3 in game one, with Torres, DiVincenzo and Sylvia tallying two hits each. Malcolm Nachmanoff paced the Jumbos at the plate, going 2-3. Tufts only seriously threatened to score once in the game. In the top of the first, the Jumbos put runners at the corners with one out but Collins struck out Nachmanoff and got Casey Santos-Ocampo to hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice. 

Collins walked just one batter in the first complete game of his career. 

Game Two: Tufts 12, Bates 2

The Jumbos scored four runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good, defeating Bates 12-2 in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, clinching the East Division title for the fifth straight season. Bates joins Tufts in the NESCAC tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.

Spencer Langdon (4-0) earned the win for the Jumbos, going six innings and giving up two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three. After being held to three hits in game one, the Jumbos tallied 13 in game two. 

Junior starter Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) retired the side in order in the first before Tufts got on the board in the top of the second. 

With one out, Santos-Ocampo singled to center. Then with two down Elias Varinos singled to right. Will Shackelford singled Santos-Ocampo home to put the Jumbos up 1-0.

Bates answered right away in the bottom of the second. Torres walked to start the frame and Carter bunted him to second. DiVincenzo grounded out to first and Torres advanced to third. He came home to score on a wild pitch, tying the game at one.

A lead off walk led to four runs for Tufts in the fourth inning, breaking the tie. The Jumbos tallied five consecutive singles before a double play ended the inning. 

Down 5-1, the Bobcats cut the deficit to three with a run in the fifth. With one away, Lindgren singled to center. Then with two away, Lindgren stole second and junior Dan Trulli (Melrose, Mass.) doubled him in with a deep drive to center. 

Senior Connor Speed (San Diego, Calif.) relieved Foley (2-4) in the fifth inning. He tossed a scoreless frame but Tufts added to its lead in the sixth, scoring four times off a pair of Bates pitchers before senior captain Jake Shapiro (Sandy, Utah) got the final two outs. 

Shapiro worked a perfect seventh inning but Tufts added three more runs in the eighth, two of them unearned, off Shapiro and sophomore Brendan Smith (Hingham, Mass.), who finished the game on the mound for Bates.

Jamie Weiss pitched three innings of shutout ball to wrap up the contest for Tufts, earning his first save of the season.

Trulli and White both went 2-4 at the plate in game two to lead the Bobcats. 

Bates hits the road Tuesday to take on Saint Joseph's at 5:00 p.m. The NESCAC tournament is set for Friday, May 11-Sunday, May 13 in Hartford, Conn.