Tufts Uses Late Comeback to Escape Keene State, 5-4

Tufts Uses Late Comeback to Escape Keene State, 5-4

MEDFORD, Mass. - Tufts University scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning to take the lead for the first time all day and held on for a 5-4 win over the Keene State College baseball team Sunday afternoon at Huskins Field.

Records

  • Keene State:  7-13
  • Tufts:  15-4

How It Happened

Keene State scored three times in the top of the second to take the lead and had the advantage throughout until Tufts scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead and ultimately snatch a non-conference win.  The Owls put up 10 hits on the afternoon, three of which came off the bat of Josh DeFrancisco, who also drove in a run.  Seven others picked up one single, with Connor Walsh going 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.  David Sevigny also drove in a run in a 1-for-4 showing, while Tyler Gammie reached twice on a single and a free pass.  Tufts got five RBI from five different people and two hits from Ryan Day, Peter DeMaria, and JP Knight.

After each team sent just three batters to the plate in the first inning, KSC broke through in the second.  Connor Longley walked to start the frame and moved up on Gammie's single to left.  The Owls were on the board after Ryan Linehan's sacrifice attempt resulted in no outs and a run for the visitors.  Still with runners on second and third with one down, an infield single from DeFrancisco and a base hit to left from Sevigny scored both as Keene State led 3-0.  Tufts generated a major threat in the very next half inning, which started with three consecutive singles, but Brandon Heath limited the damage to just one run on Elias Varinos' sac fly.  He again wiggled out of trouble in the third, as a pair of singles with one out and a hit batter with two outs again had the bases full, but Knight bounced into a fielder's choice.  Neither team threatened over the middle innings, as Heath settled down to retire nine of the next 10 batters as KSC took a 3-1 lead to the seventh.

Looking to extend the lead, Keene State loaded the bases in their half of the seventh.  After the first two were retired, Tom Meucci singled into left to keep the rally going, and was followed by free passes from Mac Struthers and Walsh.  However, Michael Volgende came in and got a strikeout to end the inning and keep it a two-run game.  The Jumbos got one back in their half of that inning, also with two outs, as Justin Mills was hit by a pitch and stole second before scoring on Day's base hit.  KSC had a golden chance to answer, as Linehan, Sam Czel and DeFrancisco all singled in succession, but a 4-6-3 double play got Tufts out of trouble again.  The game turned in the bottom of the eighth.  DeMaria singled to lead things off and moved up on a sacrifice bunt before scoring to tie the game on Knight's single.  Ryan Sliwinski got Varinos to ground into a fielder's choice for the second out, but Harrison Frickman delivered the home team the lead for the first time with a single down the left field line that made it 4-3.  The Jumbos tacked on another with their fourth hit of the frame, and it proved to be important as KSC staged a comeback in the ninth.  Meucci reached after Day dropped a fly ball and Struthers followed with a single to put two on.  Walsh's base hit up the middle made it 5-4 and moved the tying run to second with nobody out.

After Longley flied to left, Gammie worked a walk to load the bases and put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but a 1-2-3 double play snuffed out KSC's hopes.

Heath went seven innings, allowing two runs while striking out three.  Sliwinski (0-2) took the loss in relief for the Owls.  Tufts' Volgende allowed five hits in 2 1/3 innings, but got out of trouble and picked up the win.

Around the Horn

  • Four of KSC's last five games have been decided by two runs or less.  The Owls are 2-2 in such contests.
  • Tufts was receiving votes in the most recent d3baseball.com Top 25 poll.

Up Next

  • Keene State continues a five-game road trip with a visit to Colby-Sawyer College on Tuesday, April 9 for a 3:30 pm start.
  • Tufts, in the midst of 15 straight home games, entertains Roger Williams University on the same day and time.