LEWISTON — Bates and Tufts both needed a win to extend their season going into Saturday’s Senior Day doubleheader. And they both got what they needed, although by virtually opposite methods.

Bates clinched its spot thanks to an outstanding performance by sophomore pitcher Nolan Collins in a 5-0 win in Game 1. Tufts secured its spot by touching Bates pitching for 13 hits in a 12-2 win in Game 2.

“I treated it kind of as if we were in the playoffs,” Collins said. “I had a little bit of nerves before the game. But once you get out there, your adrenaline gets pumping. We knew we had to win one of these games today, so why not just get the first?”

Tufts (8-4 NESCAC, 17-14 overall), which won Friday’s series-opener, 5-0, also clinched the NESCAC East Division championship with Saturday’s win, which gives it the higher seed in the tournament. Bates (7-5, 14-14) will face the winner of the West Division in the first round, which won’t be determined until next weekend.

Collins escaped a first-and-third-with-one-out jam in the top of the first, then settled into a groove. He allowed just three hits, while striking out eight, walking one and hitting one for the complete game (seven-inning) shutout.

Collins got himself into the early predicament with a leadoff walk and a one-out single, then got himself out of it with a strikeout and a ground out to short. He then retired 14 of the next 16 Jumbos.

“That was huge,” Tufts coach “We had three bad at bats in a row. If we get a couple, we change the complexion of the whole game. All we do is breathe life into them.”

Tufts starter Brent Greeley needed a double play to wiggle out of his own first-inning troubles after walking the first two Bobcats. Bates stranded a runner in each of the next two innings before finally getting on the board with three runs in the fourth.

The key play was a safety squeeze put down by Kyle Carter with one out and runners at first and third. Not only did Justin White score fairly easily from third, but the third baseman’s throw home to get him skipped to the backstop, allowing Giovanni Torres and Carter to move up a base.

“It’s a play that you really can’t defend if you execute it properly,” Bates coach Jon Martin said. “It kind of creates a little havoc, so we like to run that play when we have an opportunity for it.”

Connor DiVincenzo followed with a rocket off of Greeley’s glove and plated Torres. Will Sylvia then singled to right to score Carter for a 3-0 lead.

“Pitching with the lead is always where you want to be,” Collins said. “The big thing is coming out after we scored a couple of runs and shutting them down the next inning.”

The Bobcats added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on RBI single by Sylvia and Jon Lindgren. But Collins was cruising by then. Aside from the three hits, he allowed just two balls out of the infield (11 ground ball outs), and struck out the last two batters to end it.

“Nolan’s a workhorse. He had all of his pitches working. He had his breaking ball for strikes,” Martin said. “He was able to throw inside. They’re a team that likes to get up on the plate and crowd you a little bit, but he was able to thread the needle when he needed to.”

“I was just keeping the ball down and attacking hitters, just going with the stuff I’ve been using all year,” Collins said. “My slider looked good. The breaking ball was awesome. It just all came together.”

Tufts bounced back in the nightcap, breaking a 1-1 tie with a four-run fourth, then putting the game virtually out of reach with four more in the sixth. All nine starters collected at least one hit. Elias Varinos drove in three runs.

“I told our guys if you want to keep playing, you’ve got to buy in. You’ve got to stay in and stay middle,” Casey said. “We obviously did it. That’s what we’ve been trying to do all year. We just haven’t been as good at it as we thought we were going to be.”

Jumbos starter Spencer Langdon scattered five hits and three walks over six innings to pick up the win. Jamie Weiss earned the save with three innings of one-hit scoreless relief.

The tournament starts May 11 at Trinity College, which, ironically, was eliminated from the playoffs with Tufts’ win. It would have made it if either the Jumbos or Bobcats swept on Saturday.

Bates still has non-conference games remaining with St. Joseph’s and University of Southern Maine. The Bobcats host USM May 5.

Bates College game one starting pitcher Nolan Collins comes off the mound following the second inning on Saturday. Collins pitched a three hit shutout during the first game of a double header against Tufts. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Bates College second baseman Asher MacDonald throws to first base for a second inning out against Tufts in Lewiston on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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