Men’s baseball starts off their long road stretch strong with win over Colby

First-year pitcher Aidan Tucker throws a curveball during Tufts' 24–6 win over Mass. Maritime on March 27. (Evan Slack / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts baseball team started off its 12-game-long road trip on April 19 strong, as it secured a 4–1 win over Colby. It was the team’s fifth win in a row and they are now 20–5 overall with an impressive 6–1 conference record on the season.

The Jumbos started off the scoring in the game in the top of the second inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by senior infielder and co-captain Will Shackelford to score junior outfielder JP Knight. The Jumbos did not hold the lead for long, however, as the Mules countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the second inning. The Mules’ sophomore catcher Ryan Hecht scored on an RBI groundout to tie the ballgame at one at the end of two innings.

The Jumbos quickly regained the lead with one run of their own in the top of the third inning, and they didn’t give up the for the rest of the game. First-year infielder Peter DeMaria broke the tie in the third on an RBI double to score in senior outfielder Casey Santos-Ocampo and give the Jumbos a 2–1 lead.

Senior catcher and co-captain Harrison Frickman extended the lead for the Jumbos to 3–1 in the fifth inning on an RBI single, scoring in DeMaria. In the sixth inning, DeMaria produced again, ripping an RBI double to score junior outfielder Justin Mills to put the Jumbos up 4–1.

Starting first-year pitcher Aidan Tucker pitched masterfully in his fifth win of the season. He threw a complete game, only giving up the one run and four hits while striking out two Mules.

Tucker spoke about why this game was special for him.

“There were a couple of innings in a row where they had guys on base and they didn’t score early in the game,” Tucker said. “I think after the fifth inning was where I realized I had the shot to go the distance, and I knew that I wanted to.”

He also spoke about those who have helped him start off so strong in his first year.

“I think just great coaching [has helped a lot],” Tucker said, reflecting on his 11th appearance of the season. “I have learned a lot since I got here. I have just taken in a lot that the coaches are saying and starting to actually put it to use and it’s really working out well for me. Coach always says down and hard with the fastball and I think that has been the key. I also picked up a new pitch from one of the older guys on the team, Spencer Langdon, which has really been effective for me the past couple of weeks.”

Older pitchers on the team have also been essential to Tucker’s success this season. His performance on Friday was his first game where he lasted all nine innings.

“They have helped a ton. Even just learning physical things like that pitch. The mental part has been a huge part. Freshman coming in, kind of nervous, don’t know what to expect, they really helped settle me down after a little bit of a tough start and help me get going a little bit better since then,” Tucker said.  

Mills spoke how this win was the perfect example of how Tufts baseball has played all season.

“We are just trying to go day-by-day, playing well … The rest will take care of itself,” Mills said. “We are not particularly focused on winning, but we are … trying to come out every day and play our game and play the way that we want to play. It was nice to get that win.”

He also spoke about the elements of Tufts baseball that have lead to their early success.

“[It’s a] gritty style of play,” Mills said. “We are not trying to be … [heroes]. It’s team baseball. Everybody knows their job.”

Tufts was supposed to continue its road trip with a doubleheader against Colby on April 20. However, those two games were postponed, so the Jumbos will look to extend their five-game winning streak on April 23 away against the Suffolk Rams.