MEDFORD – After finishing the season as the top team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference East Division, the Tufts University baseball team will begin postseason play in the NESCAC Tournament this Friday.
As the East's top seed, the Jumbos will take on the West's two seed, Wesleyan. The other first-round matchup will be between the West's top seed, Amherst, and the East's two seed, Bates. Trinity College will host the three-day, four-team, double-elimination championship at Murren Family Field / DiBenedetto Stadium.
Both first round games will take place on Friday, with the winners facing off on Saturday and the losers doing the same. Once a team has lost twice, they are eliminated. The lone remaining team will be crowned champion.
Tufts finished the regular-season at 18-15 and 8-4 in conference play. The Jumbos lead the NESCAC with 307 runs, 26 home runs, and are second with a .300 batting average. Senior Malcolm Nachmanoff leads Tufts with 48 hits and seven home runs on the year and owns the top mark in the NESCAC with a .432 batting average. Senior Tommy O'Hara has also been big for the Jumbos, driving in a team-high 39 runs. Sophomore Spencer Langdon leads the team and the NESCAC with a 1.66 ERA. He is 4-0 in his five starts, while striking out 24. Sophomore Brent Greeley and junior R.J. Hall are both 5-2 on the year. Hall is a two-time NESCAC Pitcher of the Week recipient. The Jumbos own a 26-20 all-time tournament record with five championships, including the most recent two in 2017 and 2016.
As for their opponent, Wesleyan is 21-14 on the year and 8-4 in NESCAC West play. This is their fifth appearance in the conference tournament in the last six years. Junior Danny Rose and sophomore Alex Cappitelli have led the team with .373 and .359 batting averages respectively. Senior Matt Jeye leads the Cardinals with 36 rbis. On the mound, junior Ryan Earle has a 1.99 ERA in 14 appearances. Junior Mike McCaffrey is tied for the NESCAC lead with 52 strikeouts. The Cardinals are 10-14 all-time in the NESCAC tournament with two championships to their credit, most recently in 2015.
The last time head coach John Casey's squad faced off against Wesleyan was in the 2016 NESCAC Tournament when the Jumbos won, 6-1.
Part of the other first round matchup, Amherst is 21-12 and 8-4 in conference games. The Mammoths are 20-21 in 13 conference tournaments, winning three times, most recently in 2013. Senior Ariel Kenney leads the team at the plate with a .383 average with 44 hits, four home runs, and 23 rbis. On the mound, junior Davis Brown is 5-3 in nine starts, striking out 34 in the process.
Their opponent, Bates, is 14-17 on the season and 7-5 in conference play. This will be Bates' fourth NESCAC tournament appearance. In three years, they have accumulated a 2-6 record and have never advanced to the championship game. Dan Trulli led the team with 34 hits, three home runs, and 28 rbis. Nolan Collins struck out a team-high 42 batters, while recording a 3-2 record and a 2.98 era.
Amherst and Bates played last year in the NESCAC tournament with Amherst coming out victorious, 5-3. Tufts beat Bates this year in a three-game series, two games to one to claim the top seed in the NESCAC East. As for Amherst, the Jumbos defeated them in last year's NESCAC Tournament, 2-1.
Tufts and Wesleyan will play in the first game of the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. Amherst and Bates will follow at 6:30 p.m. The second round of the tournament will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Written by Curtis Stoychoff, Athletic Communications Intern