MEDFORD - Five Tufts University players and head coach John Casey were honored when the 2017 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) All-Conference Baseball Teams were released on Wednesday.
Junior first baseman Nick Falkson was selected by the league's head coaches as Player of the Year, and senior Speros Varinos was tabbed Pitcher of the Year. Casey was honored as Coach of the Year by his peers, while senior RF Oscar Kutch, junior 3B Tommy O'Hara and sophomore SS Will Shackelford were also recognized.
Falkson, Kutch, O'Hara and Varinos are all on the All-Conference first team. Shackelford is a second teamer. With four members of the first team and five players recognized overall, Tufts has more than any other team in the league.
NESCAC's leader in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts this spring, Varinos is Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. He is also an All-Conference first team selection again. With the Jumbos entering the NCAA Tournament this week, he is 8-1 with a 1.92 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 70.1 innings. In four NESCAC East Division starts, he was 4-0 with 36 strikeouts and just three walks in 32 innings.
Falkson is NESCAC Player of the Year and a NESCAC All-Conference first teamer for the first time. Voted NESCAC Player of the Week on May 1, he is currently second in the conference for hits (55), third in rbi (37) and third in total bases (71) while sporting a .377 batting average. He's made only one error in 298 total chances at first (.997). He hit .400 with 12 runs and 10 rbi in 12 NESCAC East Division games.
O'Hara is on the NESCAC All-Conference first team for the third straight year. He was also the conference's Rookie of the Year in 2015. A two-time NESCAC Player of the Week this year, he leads the league in runs scored (42), rbi (44), walks (33) and on-base percentage (.497), and is second in doubles (12) and home runs (4). A .344 hitter, he scored 13 runs and had nine rbis in 12 NESCAC East Division games.
A first-time NESCAC All-Conference choice, Kutch is second in the league with 41 runs scored and 12 doubles. He also has top 10 marks in the conference for hits (45) and total bases (65), while hitting .324 ocverall. A .391 hitter with eight runs and eight rbi in 11 NESCAC East Division games, Kutch's slugging mark of .522 in NESCAC East contests led the team and was fifth in the conference. In right field, he nade just one error in 67 total chances (.985).
Shackelford is on the NESCAC All-Conference second team in his first year as a starter at Tufts. He leads the team in hitting at .380, third in NESCAC. In 32 games and 92 at bats, he's been productive with 28 rbis. His .454 on-base percentage and .522 slugging average are both top 10 marks in NESCAC. Shackelford hit .355 with nine rbi in nine NESCAC East Division games.
Named Coach of the Year for the second straight season and third time overall, Casey guided his team to a second straight NESCAC Championship and fifth overall. The Jumbos won their fourth consecutive NESCAC East pennant and are 30-8-1 heading into NCAA Regional. The team is ranked #13 in D3baseball.com national poll.
Tufts plays The College of New Jersey in NCAA Regional opening action on Thursday at 6 p.m.