WATERVILLE — His name literally begins with “SUPER K.” That said it all for Tufts sophomore Tim Superko on Friday afternoon.

Facing a Colby team with a batting average of .328 entering the game, Superko fired a five-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts, shackling the Mules in a 9-0 New England Small College Athletic Conference baseball victory at Coombs Field.

“He threw a lot of strikes, threw his off-speed stuff for strikes,” Colby coach Dale Plummer said. “Our approach was to attack it, but we were swinging and missing. We were a little bit out front. I’m not sure if it was something in his delivery or his motion that got us out front just a little bit, but he definitely missed a lot of (bat) barrels.”

Superko, a lefty, threw 136 pitches, and came back out for the bottom of the ninth inning with a nine-run lead and 124 pitches behind him. Still, he threw extra pitches while Tufts was batting, and said he felt fine in the ninth.

“Adrenaline was going. I had a couple quick innings toward the end,” Superko said. “I mean, I’m feeling it now, but it felt good during the game.”

Under the NESCAC playoff format, the top two teams in each division qualify for a four-team, double-elimination tournament. Entering Friday’s action, Tufts was 4-2 in the East, Bates was 3-2, and Colby and Bowdoin were a game back at 3-3. Colby now has seven conference games remaining this spring, so every contest is important.

That includes Friday’s game, and it started off on a bad note for the Mules. Tufts (20-5) had the bases loaded with one out when Matt Moser slapped a hard ground ball to shortstop Tommy Forese. It was hit sharply enough for a double play, but the ball kicked off Forese and into short center field as Connor McDavitt and Harry Brown scored for a 2-0 lead. By the end of the top of the first, it was 3-0, Tufts.

“It took a bad hop, that’s the thing,” Plummer said. “I think it was definitely a good chance for a double-play ball. Tommy makes that play 99 times out of 100, but it did take a bad hop on him.”

It didn’t help Colby, either, that Superko pitched with the tenacity of a pitcher holding a one-run lead. He struck out the first five batters he faced, and six of his 14 punchouts on the day were on called third strikes. When Moser drilled a three-run homer over the left-field fence in the top of the fifth, the Jumbos led 6-0. To that point, Colby’s only baserunners were on Tim Corey’s single and a fourth-inning walk to Jason Buco.

No. 9 batter Will Glazier hit his first home run of the year leading off the sixth, and Tufts added single runs in the seventh and ninth. Colby left runners on first and third in the sixth, and had men on second and third with one out in the eighth, but Superko got strikeouts to get out of those mini-jams.

It was only the second time Colby (14-7) was shut out this season, and oddly enough, both came when Greg Ladd was the starting pitcher. But the beautiful thing about baseball from Colby’s standpoint is that the Mules get an immediate chance to bounce back with a doubleheader at home against Tufts on Saturday. Game 1 is scheduled for noon, but at press time, there was still a chance that would be moved to 11 a.m. to get both games in before the expected rain. If the Mules could sweep the doubleheader, both Colby and Tufts would be 5-4 in the NESCAC East.

“We need to hit the ball (Saturday),” Plummer said. “We definitely need to score some runs, obviously — get some guys on base, put the pressure on them. When we have two strikes, we need to put the ball in play, versus taking strike three or swinging through strike three. I think that’s key, putting the pressure on their defense.”

SOFTBALL

BOWDOIN 2, COLBY 1: Marisa O’Toole and Adriane Krul each had solo home runs to lead the Polar Bears past the Mules in Brunswick.

Julia Geaumont picked up the win for Bowdoin (20-9, 7-2 New England Small College Athletic Conference), allowing three hits and one unearned run while striking out six in a complete game effort.

Colby (7-14, 2-4 NESCAC) got its lone run in the top of the third when Meaghan Lewia led off the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a throwing error in an attempt to catch her stealing.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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