Predicted NESCAC Baseball Standings and Tournament Results

Wesleyan captured the program's first ever NESCAC title in 2014. We think they get their second one this year. (Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information/
Wesleyan captured the program’s first ever NESCAC title in 2014. We think they get their second one this year. (Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information/

Time to put our money where our mouth is and give y’all some actual predictions for the season. As Jonah Keri says, remember that all these predictions are based entirely on emotion and use no analysis or logic. If your team is ranked low then it means that I hate them for no good reason.

Predicted records are for NESCAC games only

West East
Team Record Team Record
Wesleyan 11-1 Tufts 8-4
Amherst 8-4 Colby 7-5
Williams 4-8 Bowdoin 6-6
Hamilton 4-8 Bates 5-7
Middlebury 3-9 Trinity 4-8

The first thing that jumps out is that Wesleyan is well above everybody else in my mind. The Cardinals went 10-2 a year ago and have virtually everybody back. They aren’t a team of future major leaguers so somebody in the West (probably Amherst) will beat them once this year, but besides that expect them to cruise. Amherst will take a small step back but still make the playoffs comfortably ahead of the morass at the bottom of the division. I think Williams will take a step back because their offense will not carry them like it did last year. Also, Hamilton and Middlebury should be better this year which will make those harder wins for the Ephs.

In the East I expect things to be a dogfight from top to bottom. Tufts would be more separated from everybody else if not for some questions surrounding their health right now (more on this tomorrow). I like Colby to barely grab that second spot because of the strength of their top three starters. Bowdoin and Bates are going to be right there at the end, too, I think. Finally, I expect Trinity to look much better than they did in 2014 but think they might end up not having the results in the standings. If we are being honest, the East is much more up in the air than the West, and every team has a chance to make the playoffs.

NESCAC Tournament Predictions

So Colby, Tufts, Wesleyan and Amherst will make the NESCAC tournament. Going into how every game will play out is like submitting your March Madness bracket in January. I would look silly doing it. What I will predict is that just like last year Tufts and Wesleyan will be the final two teams standing. Though the Jumbos deeper starting rotation gives them a potential edge, I think the Cardinals end up repeating as champions. So yes, I’m sorry if you are disappointed that I am not going out on a limb and calling any real upsets. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I also picked Kentucky to win March Madness. What can I say, I like the favorites.

The Predictions Are In

We promised predictions so here they are. One thing to keep in mind here is that we have no info about what the pitching matchups are going to look like this weekend. For instance, last year’s NESCAC Pitcher of the Year John Cook from Amherst pitched the second game while Bowdoin opted to pitch their ace Oliver Van Zant in the first game. We will tell you who we think will be pitching each game, but the variability is high here. Yes, we are already making hedging our predictions before we even make them.

First Round

East 1. Tufts (30-5,9-3) vs. West 2. Amherst (28-7, 9-3)

The Prediction: Tufts 4- Amherst 2

Why: Expect Tufts to start Kyle Slinger ’15 here in order to get Tufts off to a fast start. Projecting Amherst’s starter is a little harder, but we think John Cook ’15 to get the call. This pick comes down to Slinger being too good for even the powerful Amherst lineup. Cook has been pitching almost as well, but Tufts’ depth will challenge him.

West 1. Wesleyan (24-10, 10-2) vs East 2. Bates (19-19, 7-5)

The Prediction: Wesleyan 6- Bates 3

Why: Both teams should go with their lefty aces: Nick Cooney ’15 for Wesleyan and Brad Reynolds ’14 for Bates. Wesleyan knows their conference best record means nothing if Reynolds shuts them down and sends them to an elimination game against Amherst. They will make Reynolds work and try to get him out of the game early before scoring late to advance.

Winner’s Bracket

West 1. Wesleyan  vs East 1. Tufts

The Prediction: Tufts 7- Wesleyan 5

Why: This is where things start to get tricky in projecting pitchers, but expect Wesleyan to go with Jeff Blout ’14 and Tufts to start freshman phenom Tim Superko ’17. The winner of this game is in the drivers seat needing only one more game to win while the loser needs to win three more games to win the championship. Tufts roughs up Blout enough to hold off a late Wesleyan rally after Superko leaves a short but successful outing.

Loser’s Bracket

West 2. Amherst  vs East 2. Bates

The Prediction: Amherst 9- Bates 1

Why: Bates turns to Chris Fusco ’14 on the mound who can’t contain the Amherst offense led by Mike Odenwaelder ’16. Facing elimination Dylan Driscoll ’14 rebounds from recent tough outings to go the distance and save the other Amherst pitchers for later in the weekend.

West 1. Wesleyan vs. West 2. Amherst

The Prediction: Amherst 8- Wesleyan 7

Why: The weekend’s most intense and exciting game will end with a late inning Amherst rally downing their rival. Gavin Pittore ’16 gets the call for the Cardinals while Amherst counters with Quinn Saunders-Kolberg ’14. Neither pitcher is able to last more than six innings, but the difference is the Amherst bullpen holds up when the Wesleyan one can’t.

The Championship

East 1. Tufts vs West 2. Amherst

The Prediction: Tufts 6- Amherst 4

Why: The advantage of the winner’s bracket is that Tufts can use their final weekend starter Christian Sbily ’14 while Amherst has to go with Keenan Szulik ’16 who only entered the rotation near the end of the season. Tufts won’t let this go to a winner take all championship game by jumping on Szulik early. A potential wild card for Amherst is Fred Shepard ’14 who pitched a complete game for Amherst to clinch the championship last year but has only one appearance since April 14.

Sorry if you think our predictions light on game analysis, but predictions are inherently tricky tasks. Predicting specific games is even more of a toss-up. Enjoy the games this weekend if you can make watch live in Massachusetts or watching online with Northeast Sports Network.

Let’s Make Some Predictions!

Predictions are not easy. Especially when you are dealing with a Division 3 baseball league. They inherently have a cockiness to them that says ‘I know what I am talking about’, when really I don’t. I follow box scores incessantly and hear about players secondhand, but I don’t have access to in-depth scouting reports or any type of video for me to use. This is all a way of saying that if none of these predictions come true, it doesn’t mean that I suffered from lack of trying, but lack of information. But boy are predictions FUN! Here are seven I am willing to bet my honor on.

1. Tufts will finish with less than eight losses

Sure, Tufts is 14-1 right now, so you look at this and think I am not being too bold after all. However, the last time a Tufts team lost fewer than eight games was 2010 when the Jumbos finished 34-7. They still have 20 regular season games left as well as the NESCAC playoffs and then potentially the NCAA tournament. For this prediction to come true, Tufts probably needs to go 10-2 in conference play. The key for that is having deep pitching which is something Tufts has in spades. Their staff also has some great names. Kyle Slinger ’15 is ironic because… well you get it, Andrew David ’16 and Tom Ryan ’15 are trying to disprove the notion you can’t trust a man with two first names, and Tim Superko ’17 is really a Paul Konerko and Superman mashup.

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2. Joe Jensen ’15 (Hamilton) Will Lead The League in Stolen Bases

Of all my predictions this is the one that is the safest considering Jensen led the league last year with 11 more than anybody else. So far Alex Hero ’14 has bested Jensen by one steal, 10 to nine on the season. Despite this, I remain supremely confident that Jensen will beat out Hero and all other competitors. Besides Jensen’s obvious natural ability as evidenced by his track accomplishments, Hamilton is not a very deep offense capable of huge innings. While Amherst can be content with leaving Hero on first and letting other hitters drive him in, Hamilton needs Jensen to run every time he gets on. Even if he doesn’t repeat as stolen base leader, he already has this.

3. The Home Run Race Will Actually Be Exciting to Follow

Nobody is going to confuse this thing for the Summer of ’98 with McGwire and Sosa, but I think a couple of players will hit a good amount this season (Like at least six. You have to believe me when I say that’s a lot.) I am not ready to predict who the eventual winner will be, but Griffin Tewksbury ’14 (Bates), Mike Odenwaelder ’16 (Amherst), and Jason Buco ’15 (Colby) are the frontrunners. Of course it is so impossible to guess that I would be impressed with myself if one of those three won. I think a home run in the final weekend of the season will be the deciding one, but I have no idea where or by whom it will be hit.

4. Williams Will Lose a Game Despite Scoring at Least 15 Runs

If I was going to put a bet on which specific weekend it was going to be, I would choose the Wesleyan series next weekend. Both teams are much better at hitting than pitching especially once you get into the second or third game of a series. Williams has mashed almost everything put over the plate so far, but their opponents have done a fair amount themselves. They already lost a game to Oberlin 19-11 so 15 runs in a loss is not too far away. Their offense also makes them a dangerous team to play every game even if their weak pitching is likely to keep them from making too serious a run this season.

5. The Final Weekend of Conference Play is Going to Be Awesome

The NESCAC is saving the best for last as Amherst-Wesleyan and Tufts-Bowdoin are both the final series both teams will play. The winners of both series are likely to win their divisions, but what will be interesting is the relative position of the other teams. I fully expect these four to occupy the top four spots going into the weekend, but it is possible one of them gets swept opening the door for another team to sneak into the playoffs. Besides those implications, the games should just be a lot of fun to watch in weather that has hopefully warmed up to reasonably temperatures by then.

6. Team Wins and Team Strikeouts Will Be the Most Correlated Statistics

The ability to get strikeouts isn’t crucial for pitching success, but in the NESCAC if you strike out a lot of people you greatly improve your chances of preventing wins because not too many players will hurt you with the longball. Teams that strikeout a lot of their opponents have a huge advantage. A peak at the standings shows that far and away the three top teams in strikeouts are Wesleyan, Amherst, and Tufts. While you would expect ERA or OBP to have the most correlation to wins, strikeouts denote dominance and the team that gets more of them will usually win in this conference.

7. A Baseball Game Will Be Played in Maine This Season

It hasn’t happened yet so who is to say it will happen at all? Just think about that a little.

NESCAC Season Predictions

Editors Note: The standings below are the composite standings of our staff at Nothing But NESCAC. Each writer made their own predictions independently.


Projected Finish (Conference Record)

T-1.* Trinity


T-1.* Tufts


3. Bowdoin


4. Bates


5. Colby



Projected Finish (Conference Record)

1. Amherst


2. Wesleyan


3. Hamilton


4. Middlebury


5. Williams



*Tufts will receive the number one seed from the East Division because the consensus was that Tufts will win their series against Trinity which is the tiebreaker.


(1) Amherst over (2) Trinity

(1) Tufts over (2) Wesleyan


(1) Amherst over (1) Tufts