The baseball team dropped two of three in a NESCAC East Division series against Tufts in Northboro, Mass. last weekend. The Polar Bears fell to 6-10 (1-2 NESCAC) as the Jumbos improved to 11-4 (2-1 NESCAC).

Bowdoin jumped out to a hot start, claiming the opener of Friday’s double-header 6-1. Tufts got back on track, winning the night game 6-0 and Monday night’s rubber match by a score of 10-1. 

In the first game on Friday, Henry Van Zant ’15 pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits and striking out three batters. Van Zant successfully retired seven consecutive Jumbos to start the game until Tufts’ Tom Petry hit a single in the third inning.

For his efforts, Van Zant was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week. So far this season he has struck out 23 batters in 21 innings.

“[Van Zant] was fantastic in that game,” said Head Coach Mike Connolly. “Obviously, the mix between his fastball and his slider and his changeup was really good and he pitched really well. It was a great performance from a captain and a leader to set the tables for the rest of the season.”

Senior Cole DiRoberto opened scoring in the second inning by reaching home on a Peter Cimini ’16 sacrifice fly.

Bowdoin lit up the scoreboard in the sixth, notching a five-run inning that included home runs from Erik Jacobsen ’15, Cimini and Chris Nadeau ’16.

Tufts’ Andrew David quieted the Polar Bears in the night fixture though, giving up only six hits in a complete-game effort. Aaron Rosen ’15 was the lone offensive bright spot for the Bears, going 4-4 from the plate with four singles.

In the series’ final game on Monday night, Rosen started the Polar Bears off with a home run in the top of the first inning, but Tufts responded with a total of five runs over the first, fifth and sixth innings. The Jumbos secured the game with a five-run eighth and won the game by nine. 

Tufts’ pitching was dominant after the first inning, recording a total of six zero-hit innings in the rest of the game. Zach Slinger struck out five in seven innings, and Zach Brown pitched a perfect final two innings.

“The two pitchers from Tufts, Andrew David and Kyle Slinger, they both pitched really well,” said Connolly. “So the first thing that we ran into was that those guys did a great job.”

Although the team did not achieve the result it was hoping for, Connolly said he saw many positives in the game. He believes that as the season progresses, the team’s approach will continue to get better.

“I thought that the energy in all three games was great and I felt that they went about it the right way,” said Connolly. “The second really big positive was we played great defense. The guys caught the ball all weekend long and in every aspect of defense I thought that we were at the top of our game.”

Despite their struggles batting against the Jumbos, the Polar Bears played well in the field, committing only one error in the three-game series. 

“If we can continue to catch the ball like that all year long we’re going to be in a great spot,” said Connolly. “From an offensive perspective we’re just going to continue to work all year on trying to become a little more consistent so that we can continue to put pressure on teams.”

Nick Sadler ’18, who scored a run in Friday’s opener, is hopeful that the team will hone its game in time for the playoffs. 

“If we had to lose a series of that magnitude at any point during the year, it’s much better that happens now rather than later on,” he said. 

“I think it’s definitely going to be a learning experience and the turning point for us, because we all know that we have an incredibly talented team—the key is just fitting all the pieces together at the right time.”

Bowdoin’s game at 5-5 Bates, who is yet to play an in-conference game, tomorrow has been postponed to because of unplayable field conditions. The two teams’ Sunday doubleheader will now start at 1 p.m. at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H.

NESCAC play has just begun and the Polar Bears are currently sitting in second place of the conference’s Eastern Division with a record of 1-2.