Courtesy of Colby Sports Information | Photo Credit: Dean Denis
WATERVILLE, Maine - Tommy O'Hara, who had moments before tied the game with a double, came sliding headfirst underneath the tag at home plate off a single by Nick Falkson to give Tufts University a wild 5-4 win over Amherst College in the Game 2 of the NESCAC Baseball Championship Friday night at Colby College.
The Jumbos (27-7-1 overall), the top seed in the NESCAC East, will meet West top seed Middlebury College on Saturday at 2 p.m. Amherst (19-15) will play Bates College at 10 a.m. in a bid to stay alive in the tourney. Middlebury took a 3-2 win against Bates in the first game Friday.
The Mammoths took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but Tom Petry was hit by a pitch with one out. After Amherst got the second out of the inning, O'Hara lined a shot to right field that was initially caught by Amherst's Ariel Kenney on a spectacular diving attempt as he ran toward the wall. However, the ball was jarred loose when Kenney hit the ground and Petry came all the way around to score from first base.
Kenney was involved in the final play as well. Falkson's single to right field was fielded cleanly by Kenney, who made a great throw to the plate as O'Hara was coming in hard after rounding third. The throw was just slightly high and O'Hara was able to slide in under Mammoth catcher Severino Tocci to set off a wild celebration.
Will Shackelford had two hits and drove in a run for the Jumbos. Harry Brown also had two hits, while Harrison Frickman doubled, drove in two runs, and scored a run.
Tocci finished with two hits, two runs, and an RBI for Amherst. Kenney and Yanni Thanopoulos both had two hits and one run for the Mammoths.
Brad Marchetti pitched the final three innings for Tufts to earn the victory. He struck out two, walked none, and allowed just one hit. Speros Varinos struck out seven and walked one in six innings for the Jumbos.
Amherst scored twice in the second inning for the early lead. Kenney singled and took second on a failed pickoff attempt. Tocci followed with a double to left field to bring in the first run. Nick Nardone had a single to left center to plate Tocci with the other score.
The Jumbos took their first lead of the game with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Falkson and Casey Santos-Ocampo had back-to-back walks to start the inning. The Mammoths did get two straight outs only to see Frickman double to tie the game at 2-2. Shackelford followed with a double to bring in Frickman.
Amherst went ahead 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning. Thanopoulos led off with a double to left field and immediately scored on a triple to right center by Anthony Spina. With one out in the inning, Tocci singled to center field to bring in Spina from third.