The Middlebury baseball team saw its season and the career of head coach Bob Smith come to an end as the Panthers dropped a pair of games (5-1, 9-0) to Tufts (29-6) on Forbes Field. Smith retires with 839 games under his belt over a 32-year career at the helm of the program. The 2016 Panthers end their season with an 11-23 mark, while the Jumbos will take part in next weekend's NESCAC Tournament.
In the opener, Tufts took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first with a pair of unearned runs. Harry Brown singled through the left side with one out before Tommy O'Hara walked. An error loaded the bases for Mike McLaughlin, who hit an apparent double play ball to second base. The out was made at second but a wild throw to first allowed O'Hara and Brown to score.
The Panthers got on the board in the second when Joe MacDonald led off, reaching on catcher's interference. A single to right by Max Araya moved MacDonald to second before a double play left him at third with two down. Brendan Donohue stepped to the plate and singled to left to drive in MacDonald, making it a 2-1 game.
Middlebury turned in a pair of defensive gems during the Tufts half of the fifth inning. Harrison Frickman was robbed of a hit when Jake Turtel made a diving stop to his right on a line drive at second base. Cody McCallum followed and had a hit taken away when John Tipps made a diving stop to his left at third, before making a strong throw to first for the out.
The Panthers put three runners aboard in the bottom of the inning, but left the bases loaded.
The Jumbos gained some breathing room in the sixth with a two-run single to center by Tom Petry, plating Oscar Kutch and McLaughlin for the 5-1 final.
MacDonald (2-3) went the distance for Middlebury, allowing five runs, three earned, and eight hits over seven innings of work.
Tim Superko of Tufts improved to 4-0 on the year by allowing one unearned run and three hits over seven innings with six strikeouts. McLaughlin finished 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Petry was 2-3 with a pair of RBI.
Tufts threatened in the first inning of game two, but left the bases loaded. In the second, Will Shackle walked and later scored on a double to left center by McCallum.
The Jumbos plated three runs in the fifth on three hits, leaving the bases loaded. Kutch doubled down the right-field line to drive in Brown, who led off the inning with a double of his own. Petry followed, earning the third double of the inning, this one going down the line in right, plating both Kutch and pinch-runner Speros Varin.
Middlebury put runners on first and third in the bottom of the inning, but was unable to cut into the lead.
Tufts opened up the game in the seventh, adding four runs on four hits for a 9-0 lead. Brown drove in a pair with a double to right center, as did O'Hara.
Tucker Meredith (1-3) suffered the loss for Middlebury, allowing one run on two hits over four innings of work. Werner finished the game 2-3 at the plate.
Andrew David (4-1) threw six innings of shutout ball to earn the win for Tufts, striking out five batters. Brown finished 2-3 with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBI. McCallum went 2-4 with a double, while Shackel went 2-2 with two walks and two runs scored.