MEDFORD – After helping the Tufts University baseball team win its sixth NESCAC championship at Colby College over the weekend, senior pitcher RJ Hall and sophomore DH Kyle Cortese have earned the conference's weekly awards.
Hall is Pitcher of the Week, the third member of the Jumbo staff to receive the honor this season. It's the fourth time he's earned the recognition in his career, including twice last season and for the first time as a freshman in 2016. Cortese, a first-time recipient, is Tufts' second Player of the Week this spring.
Getting the Jumbos going towards winning the title, Hall pitched a five-hit shutout against Middlebury College in Tufts' tournament-opener on Saturday. He struck out 10 and walked just one while improving to 7-0 on the season. The Panthers had back-to-back one-out singles in the in the fifth, but Hall kept them off the scoreboard including a strikeout to end the frame. Middlebury threatened again in the sixth with a lead-off walk and a single, but runners were left on first and third with another Hall strikeout. Middlebury also had a runner on in the seventh and eighth, but Hall stranded them and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second shutout of the season.
Cortese broke NESCAC Tournament records for home runs in a game (3) and tournament (5) while also setting the single-game rbis mark (6). His two home runs in the Jumbos' opener on Saturday helped Tufts win 5-0 against Middlebury. After walking twice and scoring in the 6-1 winner's bracket victory over Williams on Saturday, he was 4 for 8 with three home runs, seven rbis and four runs scored in the two games against Middlebury on Sunday. He had tournament records of three home runs and six rbis in Game 6, a 12-8 loss to Middlebury. In Game 7 he had a two-out rbi triple in the fourth and then walked and scored in the sixth during an 8-3 victory against the Panthers that gave Tufts the title. Cortese compiled 23 total bases and slugged 1.769 for the weekend. He was 6 for 13 in the four games (.462) with nine rbis and seven runs scored.
Hall's microscopic 1.31 earned run average this spring is almost a full run lower than any other pitcher in the league. He's tied for second in NESCAC with seven wins and has 45 strikeouts in 55 innings. Cortese's power surge over the weekend put him into the NESCAC lead with seven home runs and a .630 slugging percentage in 2019.
Previously for Tufts this season, junior Brent Greeley was NESCAC Pitcher of the Week on March 18, freshman Aidan Tucker was Pitcher of the Week on April 15, and junior third baseman JP Knight won Player of the Week on April 29.
Head coach John Casey's Jumbos received the NESCAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and will travel to a Regional at SUNY Cortland this weekend (May 17-19).