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Tuesday, May 16, 2006


MEDFORD -- Two members of the 2006 Tufts University Baseball team have complemented their success on the field with academic honors. Senior shortstop Greg Chertok (New City, NY/Clarkstown North) and senior pitcher Zak Smotherman (Westborough, MA/Phillips Andover) were recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District baseball teams.

On a squad with seven upperclassmen carrying grade point averages of 3.35 or above, Chertok and Smotherman stand out. Chertok, a psychology major with a gpa above 3.7, was named to the District 1 (Northeast) College Division First Team, and Smotherman, a quantitative economics major with a gpa over 3.6, was placed on the District 1 Second Team. Both players will graduate May 21.

Both student-athletes were also leading members of the Jumbos on the field. As the lead-off hitter, Chertok finished third on the team with a .367 batting average (51/139) and scored 35 runs while driving in 18. He walked 12 times, posted a .429 on-base percentage and stole nine bases in 11 attempts. In the field, #3 made just eight errors in 177 chances at shortstop for a .955 fielding percentage.

A tri-captain who was a three-year starting shortstop at Tufts, Chertok was Academic All-NESCAC in 2005 (the '06 team has not been announced yet). He is a recipient of the Leonard Carmichael Class of 1921 Prize Fund, awarded by the Department of Psychology to third-year students whose academic achievements have been judged as outstanding. This semester he is a contributing author to a book entitled "Small Ball," about teaching baseball for youth coaches.

Smotherman was the staff ace, finishing 6-2 with a 2.71 earned run average and 51 strike outs in 63 innings. He allowed just 55 hits, 21 walks and a .238 batting average. The 6'3" lefty took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a NESCAC Tournament game against Bowdoin on May 14, eventually earning the win while allowing two hits.

A three-year starting pitcher for the Jumbos, Smotherman was also an All-NESCAC Academic Team member in 2005. A member of Tufts varsity hockey team for two seasons (2002-04), Smotherman is also an Explorations Teacher/Peer Advisor at Tufts, teaching a seminar class on sports finance and acting as an academic advisor.

Tufts finished 24-14 and set single-season records for hits (419), runs (272), RBIs (245) and strike outs by pitchers (209) in a season.