Speros Varinos grew up on baseball. The graduating senior pitcher and Middleton, Mass. native played a variety of sports in high school, but baseball was always his focus. Growing up just a half hour outside of Boston, Varinos was attracted to the prospect of playing for Tufts.
“I chose to play at Tufts because it was the best fit for me, both in my athletic and academic pursuits,” Varinos said. “Tufts baseball has always had a winning tradition, and I knew I wanted to be on the pre-health track, so Tufts was the best balance of sports and academics.”
Varinos saw limited action his first year, recording two wins, two saves and fanning 26 batters in 14 appearances for the Jumbos in 2014. Reflecting on his rookie season, Varinos explained that a large part of that first year was about adjusting to the rigors of a college program and learning from the older members of the team.
“The first year on the team is a bit of a learning curve,” he said. “It is an extremely demanding program, and there are very high expectations. As a freshman, you’re simply trying to learn the way, and I was fortunate enough to have great upperclassmen leaders and get some playing time as a freshman.”
His role remained limited in his sophomore season, as he tossed 20 innings for the Jumbos, with 10 of his 11 appearances coming in relief. Despite getting relatively few opportunities to play, Varinos showed signs of promise with an impressive 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and an ERA of 3.60.
Varinos came into his own during his junior year. Having developed into a full-time member of the starting rotation, Varinos led the NESCAC in wins (7) and strikeouts (79), ranked second in the conference in ERA (2.15), and finished third in innings pitched (67.0). Remarkably, Varinos only lost a single game, in March during his second start of the year. In recognition of his efforts, Varinos was named the NESCAC Pitcher of the Year and received third-team All-American honors from D3baseball.com.
Varinos’ accolades were not merely individual souvenirs, however. His massive successes on the mound were instrumental to the entire baseball team’s successes during the 2016 season. As a core member of a dominant Tufts pitching staff that also featured Andrew David (LA ’16) and graduating senior Tim Superko, Varinos helped the team achieve a 35-8 record and secure the fourth conference title in program history.
“My biggest accomplishment as a Jumbo is definitely winning the NESCAC championship last year,” Varinos said. “It was a great team effort, and I am proud to have just been a part of the team.”
This season, Varinos has managed to outdo his junior year performance. In nine starts, he has assembled an 8-1 record, pitching two complete games in the process. Once more, Varinos leads the NESCAC in a large number of categories, including wins (8), innings pitched (62.0), strikeouts (68) and ERA (1.60). Due in large part to Varinos’ contributions on the mound, the Jumbos won the NESCAC East Division and earned the top seed in the NESCAC tournament.
With the postseason still ahead, there remains plenty of baseball to be played. Varinos is looking forward to one last opportunity at glory.
“We still have the biggest part of our season ahead, so there are definitely things to be accomplished,” he said. “We would first like to compete in the playoffs and win another NESCAC championship. From there, hopefully, we can compete for a regional championship and play in the College World Series.”
Varinos reflected on his personal growth since his first year as a Jumbo.
“I think my comfort level within the program and my experience is what has changed the most,” he said. “I now understand what Tufts baseball is all about, and my hope is to try to teach that to our underclassmen, so they are better in position to lead the team when their time comes.”