2018 NESCAC Baseball Tournament Preview: Amherst Opens Play Against Bates

2018 NESCAC Baseball Tournament Preview: Amherst Opens Play Against Bates


HADLEY, Mass. - The 2018 NESCAC Baseball Championship gets underway on Friday, May 11 at Trinity's Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium in Hartford, Connecticut. Amherst College is the top-seed in the West Division and starts their tournament run against East #2 Bates College on Friday at 6:30 PM.

Tufts is the top seed in the East Division, while Amherst is the top seed in the West Division. Bates and Wesleyan are the No. 2 seeds in the East and West, respectively.

Scouting Amherst (21-12, 8-4 NESCAC) Schedule / Roster / Stats

Amherst earned a crucial series win at Middlebury in the final weekend of divisional play to position itself as the No. 1 seed in the West. The Mammoths are making their eighth straight NESCAC Championship appearance and are the No. 1 seed in the West for the first time since 2012 and fifth time overall.

Offensively, seniors Ariel Kenney (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Max Steinhorn (Washington, D.C.) rank third and fifth among the NESCAC batting leaders, hitting .383 and .376, respectively. Kenney, who is slugging .600, has 26 runs scored, 23 RBIs and 11 doubles. Steinhorn has 50 hits to lead the NESCAC, as well as 14 stolen bases on the season.

The Amherst pitching staff owns the best team ERA in the conference at 3.84. Junior Davis Brown (Sea Island, Ga.) and senior Sam Schneider (San Diego, Calif.) have combined for nine wins for the Mammoths. Brown is 5-3 and has pitched 46 innings with 34 strikeouts. Schneider owns a 3.20 ERA with 40 strikeouts, over 45 innings. Junior Mike Dow (Joliet, Ill.) has six saves for the pitching staff, giving up three earned runs in 17.2 innings.

Scouting Bates (14-17, 7-5 NESCAC) Schedule Roster Stats

Amherst will meet Bates in the second game on Friday. Bates, Bowdoin and Trinity finished with identical divisional records of 7-5. In head-to-head competition, Bates went 4-2, while Bowdoin went 3-3, and Trinity went 2-4. As a result, Bates earned the No. 2 seed in the East. Bates has qualified for the tournament for the second year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons. The Bobcats have been the No. 2 seed in the East each year they have been in the tournament.

Sophomore Zach Avila (San Francisco, Calif.) is hitting .325 with 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored for the Bobcats, while juniorDan Trulli (Melrose, Mass.) has contributed 34 hits, including three homers. Sophomore Nolan Collins (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) ranks among the NESCAC pitching leaders with a 2.98 ERA. He has logged 45.1 innings and 42 strikeouts to lead the Bobcat starters. Senior Connor Russell (Cumberland, Maine) has made nine starts for the Bobcats and racked up 32 strikeouts in over 55 innings, and classmate Jake Shapiro (Sandy, Utah) has all six saves for Bates this season, allowing two earned runs over 18.1 innings of pitching. The pitchers are averaging 7.34 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Bates is 1-2 in the NESCAC Championship series against Amherst. The two teams met in last year's Game 3, which the Mammoths won, 5-3.

Scouting Tufts (18-15, 8-4 NESCAC) Schedule Roster Stats

Tufts is the top seed in the East for the fifth straight season and ninth time overall. The Jumbos are the two-time defending NESCAC Champion and own four conference titles in program history. Tufts is batting .300 as a team to lead the league. The Jumbos are averaging 8.4 runs per game and lead the league in homers (26) and RBIs (275). Senior Malcolm Nachmanoff (Boston, Mass.) leads the NESCAC in hitting, batting .432 and slugging .775. He also has a league-best seven home runs to go with 35 RBIs.

Senior Tommy O'Hara (Glenview, Ill.) is the league leader in RBIs (39) and is hitting .359, while slugging .609. Sophomore Spencer Langdon (Westlake, Texas) owns a 1.66 ERA to lead all NESCAC pitchers and has four wins in nine appearances. Classmate Brent Greeley (West Chester, Pa.) has thrown three complete games and is 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA. Junior R.J. Hall (Marietta, Ga.) has seen the most work for the Jumbos, throwing 51.1 innings and registering 47 strikeouts, which ranks fourth in the NESCAC.

Scouting Wesleyan (21-14, 8-4 NESCAC) Schedule Roster Stats

Tufts will face Wesleyan, the No. 2 seed in the West, in the opening game of the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. Amherst and Wesleyan finished with identical divisional records of 8-4. In head-to-head competition, Amherst won the series against Wesleyan, 2-1, to earn the No. 1 seed in the West.

The Cardinals, who started the season 9-3, are in the tournament field for the fifth time in six years and are the No. 2 seed in the West for the first time since 2010. Junior Danny Rose (Ipswich, Mass.) owns a .373 batting average and is slugging .545 with a team-high 14 doubles and 22 RBIs to lead the Wesleyan offense. Sophomore Alex Capitelli (North Caldwell, N.J.)  has a team-best 46 hits, with 31 RBIs and 40 runs scored, while senior Matt Jeye (Holliston, Mass.) has 36 RBIs this season.

Junior Mike McCaffrey (Warwick, R.I.) has registered 52 strikeouts over 48.2 innings in nine starts on the mound to lead Cardinal pitchers. Sophomore Alec Olmstead (Palo Alto, Calif.) has fanned 44 hitters in 11 appearances, including eight starts. Junior Ryan Earle (Hanover, Mass.) is the team's top reliever, earning five saves in 14 appearances and allowing five earned runs in 22.2 innings.

The Cardinals won their only two NESCAC titles in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015. Wesleyan is 3-4 against Tufts in the NESCAC Championship series. The two teams last met in Game 4 of the 2016 tournament, with the Jumbos posting a 6-1 victory.

Tournament Breakdown

The top two teams in the East and West divisions qualify for the NESCAC Baseball Championship. After the conclusion of Friday's games, the first elimination game will be played between the first day losers on Saturday morning, followed by the first day winners.

Saturday's late game will feature an elimination game between the game three winner and loser of game four. The championship on Sunday will include that last team standing on Saturday and the lone undefeated team in the tournament. If necessary, a second game will be played in the event of the undefeated team drops Sunday's opener.

Results following each day of the NESCAC Baseball Championship will be posted at NESCAC.com. All games will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), links can be found at NESCAC.com. Streams are also available through Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV (search for NESCAC).