WATERVILLE — It could have been called on account of ugliness in the early going and on account of coldness in the later innings. But ultimately, Friday’s Tufts-Colby college baseball game was called on account of darkness.

The game was called after Colby failed to score in the bottom of the ninth inning, keeping the score at 9-9. The teams are scheduled to play again at Coombs Field at noon today, so they will first finish Friday’s game, then play a seven-inning game, followed by a nine-inning contest.

In a lot of ways, Colby (10-11) was lucky to get to today with a tie. The Mules committed three errors in the first inning and issued 12 walks in the game. Colby and Tufts (12-4-1) were each charged with four errors.

In the top of the seventh, with Tufts up 9-8, Jumbos designated hitter Eric Weikert crushed a double that missed a home run by a few feet. After a balk put Weikert on third with one out, Colby right fielder Richard Newton went all out but dropped a foul ball. As it turned out, the unintentional drop saved a run, because Lucas Geoghegan struck out the next two batters to strand Weikert at third.

It was that kind of game all day. Each team scored four runs in the first inning. Colby had four runners thrown out by Tufts catcher Matt Collins. And although Geoghegan and Colby starter Connor Sullivan had control problems, they combined with Abhi Chandel to hold Tufts to one hit over the last six innings.

“I don’t think we were consistent with our at-bats all game,” Tufts coach John Casey said. “I thought they mixed it up really well on us, and made it tough on us.”

Casey was also a little peeved about Colby’s policy of starting games at 4 p.m., rather than the 3 p.m. start time other New England Small College Athletic Conference schools use.

“I’m not sure how much people factored in safety with the 4 o’clock start, to be honest with you,” Casey said. “I think those last two innings are pretty dangerous for the kids. I think that policy has to be really discussed. You just don’t want anyone hurt.”

At various times in the first three innings, Colby trailed 4-0, 6-4 and 9-5. The Mules pecked away as Newton, Taro Gold and John Schroeder each had two hits. They got within 9-8 in the fifth when Gold stole second and scored on a two-out error, and tied it in the seventh when Schroeder doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and came home on a single by Nikolas Atsalis.

Fittingly for the way things were going in this game, the inning ended when Newton (who is now hitting .432 this season) was called out for leaving second too soon to tag up on a fly ball, and cleanup hitter Mike Mastrocola was denied a chance to hit with two runners on.

Chandel and Tufts reliever Dean Lambert each shut down their opponents over the final two innings, so Colby, which is 0-3 in NESCAC play, will get three more big chances to win today against the conference leaders.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Colby coach Dale Plummer said. “It’s just going to be a long day. A lot of baseball. We should be all set (with enough pitching) as long as we’re efficient, and we play good defense.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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