Slinger Shows Impeccable Timing: Stock Report 3/31

The new New England Baseball Complex allowed for Tufts and Bowdoin to play this weekend. (Courtesy of Masslive.com)
The new New England Baseball Complex allowed for Tufts and Bowdoin to play this weekend. (Courtesy of Masslive.com)

After the first game of the weekend, Bowdoin was feeling good about stealing their series against Tufts because Henry Van Zant ’15 had just led them to a game one victory. Then the strength of the Tufts pitching staff took over. First it was Andrew David ’16 going all nine innings without allowing one run as Tufts won comfortably 6-0.  The real big story, however, was Kyle Slinger ’15 shaking off an early season injury and returning to the mound for the Monday rubber game.

Like we thought might happen, Tufts’ manager John Casey took advantage of the two extra days for Slinger to recover. However, when Aaron Rosen ’15 hit a solo homer to lead off the game, it looked like Slinger might not be quite ready to go. Then he recovered and allowed no more runs the rest of the way, leading Tufts to a 10-1 win. In the top of the 7th with the score 5-1 Tufts, Slinger allowed two base runners, and the top of the lineup was coming up. Casey stuck with his stud, and Slinger struck out Rosen before getting a fly out to get out of the jam.

The series win for Tufts means they remain atop the East. Their pitching is right up there with Wesleyan for the best in the league, and they should only get healthier. The Jumbos have next weekend off from NESCAC play before heading to Trinity.

Stock Up

 Catcher Bryan Egan ’15 (Tufts)

Slinger’s offensive counterpart yesterday was Egan, who went 3-4 with a homer and four RBI. The home run came in the 6th inning and was a two run shot that put the Jumbos up 5-1. Petry didn’t do much in the other games this weekend, but he does hold a season OBP of .492. Though some of it is because Tufts has played in a lot of games, Egan leads the NESCAC in RBI with 22. The senior was a part-time reserve last year behind All-NESCAC performer Nick Cutsumpas ’14. It is great to see him step up in his final year and become a crucial part of the Jumbos’ offense.

Starting Pitcher Henry Van Zant ’15 (Bowdoin)

The senior was sensational in the opening game of the the series between Tufts and Bowdoin. He went all seven innings allowing only one unearned run on only four hits. Through the first three innings he faced the minimum of nine hitters. Unlike usual, Van Zant did not strike out a lot of hitters, but he did a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. The Jumbo offense has the second highest ground out/fly out ratio in the NESCAC (more exact fly ball to ground ball ratios are not available), and on Friday the ball left the ground eight times counting hits and fly outs. The one run that Tufts scored was not Van Zant’s fault at all. Bryan Egan ’15 reached second on an error by shortstop Sean Mullaney ’17. After Egan advanced on another groundball, Cody McCallum ’16 reached on an infield single with two outs to score Egan.

Utility Adam Regensburg ’18 (Williams)

In his first three games in conference play, Regensburg went 6-11 and had two hits in every game against Middlebury. Working out of the two-hole, he hit a home run in the first game and stole two bases in the final one. Regensburg also has a season long OBP of .450 which is perfect for that position in the lineup. Besides that bat, he played a different position in each  game. In the first game he started in right field, second base in the second, and left field for the third. So basically Regensburg is the NESCAC equivalent of Ben Zobrist, someone who can play lots of positions and provide offense as well. Sabermetricians have been calling Zobrist criminally underrated for so long that he probably became overrated somewhere along the way. Check back in two years to decide whether Regensburg has become overrated by then. Until then, he looks like a great freshmen player for a Williams team that got a huge sweep this weekend.

Stock Down

Middlebury

It’s never a good combination to be both unlucky and not very good, and that is what Middlebury has been so far. The Panthers got walked off on in three consecutive games down in Arizona with the final one coming at the hands of Williams in the series opener. Some of the freshmen like Brendan Donahoe ’18 and Raj Palekar ’18 have made good first impressions, but the pitching is such a mess. The Panthers are now 0-9, and their schedule is front-loaded with NESCAC games so that nine of their next 11 games come against Amherst, Hamilton and Williams. When their first win comes is not easy to tell, but the odds are that it won’t be this coming weekend on the road against Amherst.

Mother Nature

For goodness sake, get it together, weather. Maybe I’m soft for complaining about the weather, but I don’t care. Whatever happened to the saying ‘March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb?’ It was snowing in Brunswick, Maine for a good few hours yesterday. Granted, it fortunately wasn’t really sticking, but the snow banks weren’t exactly dissipating either. Baseball is a sport best played in the summer of course, but we don’t have that luxury in college baseball. The weather forecast is decent for the next week, but I’m looking for some serious improvement ASAP. Nature, I really want to be able to watch a home baseball game at some point this year. Please make that happen.

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