The Bates baseball team captured its first series win against NESCAC East Division rival Tufts since 2004 over the weekend, taking a major step toward what the Bobcats hope will be their first-ever berth in the postseason NESCAC Baseball Championship.
Bates' success against the Jumbos was kick-started by one of the best pitching performances the team has seen in recent years: junior lefthander Tom Baroni's five-hit, nine-inning shutout spun in Friday's 3-0 win at Tufts' Huskins Field.
Making his first appearance in 33 days, Baroni (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) more than doubled his amount of innings pitched this season in going the full nine innings for the first time in his career (his previous career high was 7.0 innings). With characteristic pinpoint control, he issued no walks and allowed only five hits, including four singles, while striking out four. The Jumbos reached third base only one time in the game.
Baroni was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week on Monday for the gem, becoming the first Bates player to ever win the honor, since it was introduced in the 2007 season.
Bates plays its home opener at Leahey Field on Thursday against Endicott (3:30pm), before opening another crucial NESCAC East series this weekend against Bowdoin, which starts with a home game on Friday at 3pm.