The preseason questions were about the newcomers.
The newcomers delivered.
Junior Scott Staniewicz went 2-for-5 and had 3 RBIs in just his second career start and freshman centerfielder Connor McDavitt went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as the baseball team scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to break away from host Lynchburg in the Jumbos’ season-opener Friday night, 9-5.
Coach John Casey had maintained throughout the week leading up to Tufts’ annual spring trip to North Carolina and Virginia that he hadn’t settled on an opening-day starter. He ultimately chose senior Dave Ryan, the Jumbos’ wins leader last season.
Not a bad choice.
Ryan went seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits and striking out eight to earn the win.
Senior co-captain Sam Sager, making the start at shortstop after graduation forced the Jumbos to return just two starting fielders, went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Junior Eric Weikert went 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI as well.
After making a full recovery from Tommy John surgery in the offseason, senior co-captain Matt Collins hit in the cleanup spot, going 1-for-5.
Tufts put three runs on Lynchburg starter Matt Outman, chasing him after six innings and five strikeouts. Casey’s fresh-faced lineup abused Conner Murphy as well, putting up four runs on three hits in over an innings of work.
The Jumbos will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at Washington & Lee, beginning a brutal stretch featuring 10 games in eight days. Senior Kevin Gilchrist will likely start for Tufts, though Casey said that sophomore Christian Sbily was also in the running for one of the rotation’s top three positions.