BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – After a day of superb pitching on Tuesday, Massachusetts Maritime Academy got off to a good start against Tufts University, but a series of unlucky bloop hits against starter Anthony Rubicine turned into a deluge against eight relievers. The final score read 19-3 in the Jumbos' favor, but sophomore Nick Haley gave the Buccaneers something to celebrate with an historic four-bagger.
Rubicine and Jumbos starter Owen Copps matched zeros through two, though it was Maritime that looked to have the early edge. After six straight set down by Rubicine, the Bucs put two on with one out in the second, loading the bases with two down, but Copps battled against Nate Anderson and finally induced a six-pitch grounder to get out of the threat.
In the third, an infield hit to the left side was followed by a misplayed double by Harrison Frickman to put two on, and a soft pop up the middle dropped in no-man's land to plate the game's first run. Two more infield singles made it 3-0 through three and Tufts never looked back.
A nightmarish fourth saw the Jumbos score six, with a two-run double from Elias Varinos and a two-run triple by John Moschella stuck in the dagger. The visitors would score seven more runs in the seventh, in part due to three consecutive hit batters, likely a program record, though Nick Falkson and Tommy O'Hara both had long two-baggers.
Maritime bats, which were so hot against Becker a day earlier, finally woke up in the sixth, though Tufts had a team no-hitter through 4 2/3. Logan Sullo drew a leadoff walk, his second of the game, and pinch runner Lewis L'Heureux scored from first on a double by the red-hot Billy Keane that was about three feet short of a round-tripper to dead center. Two batters later, though, Nick Haley hit the first home run at turfed Commodore Hendy Field on a towering fly to left that kept carrying despite the breeze.
Tufts (6-4) would score three more in the ninth before the game was mercifully over. The Jumbos rapped 19 hits and collected four walks and six hit batters, another potential MMA record. Only two starters played the whole game for Head Coach John Casey, now in his 37th year at Tufts. On March 16, Casey became only the 35th coach in NCAA Division III baseball history to amass 700 wins, making him just the sixth in New England with the honor.
A total of 23 players appeared for the visitors, including eight pitchers, who combined to strike out 12 and allow only four hits. Mike McLaughlin and Harrison Frickman each had three safeties, with the latter stroking a two-bagger as one of his hits.
Billy Keane reached base in all four plate appearances for the second game in-a-row, walking twice, hitting a double, and beating out an infield single. The centerfielder also stole a base. Rubicine (0-1) took the loss, surrendering three runs, all undeservedly earned, on five hits. The right-hander did not issue a free pass, however, and struck out two. Mike Newman was the best of a series of relievers that struggled, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless frames.
Coach Mike Kelley will have a day to regroup his men (6-7) before starting MASCAC play at Fitchburg State (5-6-1) on Friday. The conference doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. and live stats will be available on the website.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate