The Tufts Jumbos won three of four games against the Colby College Mules this past weekend, winning both games at home and one on the road.
The Jumbos took Huskins Field on Saturday as the home team, sending reigning NESCAC pitcher of the week Michael Volgende to the mound in the first game.
Volgende, a junior from Connecticut, was dominant again for the Jumbos, throwing six innings while only surrendering one run and striking out four batters. First-year Silas Reed took the mound in the seventh, giving up three earned runs on four hits.
The Tufts offense was powered by junior catcher Connor Bowman and junior infielder Nate Bozzella, as they each totaled two hits and five RBIs. Bozzella tacked on his first career collegiate home run on a three-run blast to open scoring in the third. Senior outfielder Brandon Bay added two hits and three RBIs. Colby showed fight in the final inning, with pinch-hitter Dylan Nastri sending a ball over the right field wall, and the offense putting up three runs. However, the Tufts bats were too much and the Jumbos won easily, 15–4.
Sophomore right-hander Cameron Mayer got the ball in game two for the Jumbos, going four innings while giving up three earned runs and striking out five. Junior Steven Landry earned the win for the Jumbos out of the pen despite giving up three runs in one and two thirds innings. Graduate student Spencer Langdon earned the save after a scoreless inning-and-a-third with two strikeouts.
After a two-run double by senior Kyle Cortese in the second, the Jumbos exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third. The outburst was opened with a two-run homer to left by sophomore outfielder Jackson Duffy, the first of his collegiate career. Bozzella would add another RBI for the Jumbos on a double to left field.
Bozella took home NESCAC player of the week honors for his offensive onslaught.
“What helped me this weekend was being patient at the plate and trying not to force anything or do too much,” Bozzella said about his offensive approach. “My teammates put me in a position to score runs because they did their job to get on base and into scoring position, so my job was to score them any way possible.”
Cabot Maher and Andrew Russell powered the Colby offense to six runs on two hits each despite the loss.
The Mules bounced back to take game three 5–4 on Sunday in Waterville, Maine. Tufts jumped out to an early three-run advantage, with sophomore Jimmy Evans doubling in junior Miles Reid in the top of the first. Juniors Peter DeMaria and Ryan Noone also added RBIs on sacrifice flies in the first.
The Jumbos fourth run came on a sacrifice fly from senior infielder Will Burgess in the second, but that ended the scoring for Tufts in game three. The Mules scratched back a run on Tufts junior starting pitcher Lucas Gustavson, who went four innings in his second start of the season. Colby notched another run in the fifth off of sophomore Jack Schwartz. Schwartz went two strong innings in his collegiate debut, striking out three.
Colby would tie the game at four in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs off of Tufts senior righty Brad Marchetti. The Mules then walked-off game three in extras on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Caleb Jung. Colby was bolstered by an excellent pitching performance from Frank Driscoll out of the bullpen, who threw three hitless innings.
Despite the loss, the Jumbos continued to produce offensively at a very high level.
“Our offense is very deep and that is a huge strength,” said Bozzella about the team’s success at the plate. “What makes us very successful is that we don’t need to lean on one guy for all of our production, our whole lineup can hit the ball.”
Tufts took the series victory in game four with a barrage of offense, winning 17–0. Not to be overlooked by the offensive performance, Junior right-hander Brendan McFall gave the Jumbos six strong innings on the mound. McFall scattered three hits and gave up no earned runs in his first start of the season. Sophomore Gavin Brown struck out three batters in the seventh to seal the deal on the mound for Tufts.
McFall was named NESCAC pitcher of the week for the performance, the second week in a row a Tufts arm has taken home the honor.
“I think it’s a huge testament to the work we put in as a staff,” McFall said about the recognition. “Seeing guys step up and establish themselves as leaders has been awesome, and it’s great to see hard work rewarded.”
At the plate, Clay Sowell crushed two home runs and picked up five RBIs and DeMaria contributed four RBIs of his own. First-year infielder Patrick Solomon added three hits, while Bozzella finished his impressive weekend with three more RBIs.
The Jumbos pitching staff can only be appreciative of the run support they received this past weekend.
“Having that kind of run support is the best thing you can ask for as a pitcher, especially after a tough loss,” McFall said. “It makes it that much easier to attack the hitters and let your fielders make plays for you, and that’s what we did all game.”
Tufts will meet Bates on Saturday, April 24, and Wesleyan on Sunday, April 25, in another busy four-game weekend.