Weekend Roundup — March 9, 2015

Finally, a full weekend of baseball. Yeah, there were some cancellations and even more cold, but more teams than not have gotten out on a field, and a lot more will follow in the week to come. With some consistent 40s on the horizon for much of New England, fields will hopefully start melting off and drying off for home games in a couple weeks. And till then, we get to enjoy some more Florida sunshine.

On the field, plenty of teams were still shaking off the winter this weekend, but also some really good results down south. In Division I, Harvard and UConn got marquee series wins. In Division II, the NE-10’s top guns held serve, and Franklin Pierce’s Mike Lundin threw a no-hitter. And in Division III, Mitchell got a big series sweep to open NECC play, and plenty of others started southern trips off on the right foot.

Division I

Team of the Week: Ivy Leaguers Harvard headlined Division I action this weekend, grabbing three wins against Mercer, one of the favorites in a good Southern Conference. Coming off a four-game split at Wofford in their opening weekend, the Crimson got right down to business in Macon, taking the first three from the Bears before an Eric Nyquist complete game salvaged a game for the SoCon squad. The Crimson found three different ways to win, getting the bats out in a 10-6 Friday win, cooling Mercer’s in a 6-1 game-two win, and eking out an 8-7 nailbiter in game three. In the three wins, third baseman Mitch Klug went 6-14 with a double, three runs scored, and three RBI; leadoff man Mike Martin added a 4-10 showing with a triple, home run, five runs, two RBI, and three walks. On the bump, Nick Gruener gave up only a run in 7.1 innings in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader. With their early success on the road, the Crimson are #1 in the RPI at the close of the weekend. In his third season, Bill Decker’s hire certainly seems to be paying dividends for one of New England’s most storied programs.

Down at FIU, UConn won another series this weekend, their third straight. Carson Cross was dominant yet again, striking out 15 and giving up just two hits in a complete-game 5-1 win. At the dish, leadoff man Jack Sundberg went 3-4 with a double and a triple. On Saturday, Anthony Kay overcame a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay to throw six innings of seven-strikeout ball, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits. The Husky reliever trio of Devin Over, Nico Darras, and Patrick Ruotolo combined for three shutout innings to ice the game and the series. The Panthers came back to win 7-4 on Sunday, but the Huskies leave Boca Raton with their third straight series win. Add that to two-of-three showings against Siena and ranked Kennesaw, and they’re off to about as good a 6-6 start as you’ll ever see.

Bryant only got one game in this week, but their 16-4 victory over Towson saw some fireworks. Sophomore center fielder Matt Albanese hit for the cycle, collecting his single, triple, and home run by the fifth before completing it with an opposite-field double in the 8th. Five other Bulldogs had multi-hit days. Starter Kyle Wilcox struggled for control, walking eight, but he gave up just two runs on three hits before handing things off to James Davitt in the fifth, who finished things up for the Bulldogs’ first win.

Down in North Carolina, Yale had a wild start to its 150th season. The Bulldogs went 1-2 in three games where the average margin of victory was a shade under 23 runs. They lost to Richmond 30-2, beat Davidson 22-3, then lost to the Wildcats 23-2 to close out the weekend. The lone win saw four-hit performances from Eric Hsieh, Richard Slenker, and Harrison White. Starter Chris Moates gave up two runs and struck out six over six innings.

Division II

Like Bryant, Franklin Pierce didn’t get much action in this week, but saw quite the individual feat. In the back end of Sunday’s doubleheader sweep over Queens, sophomore Mike Lundin threw a seven-inning no-hitter, striking out 11 and not allowing a baserunner. This wasn’t just lightning in a bottle either. In ten innings on the year up to Sunday, Lundin had picked up a win and a save, striking out 18 and giving up only two hits. Offensively, Chris Lavorgna helped put the game out of reach with a monster seven-RBI day, clearing the bases with a grand slam in the third and a triple in the fourth. The Ravens move to 8-0 on the year.

Team of the Week: Merrimack started off its Florida trip 4-0 with doubleheader sweeps of Nyack (picked to make the CACC playoffs) and Wilmington (regionally ranked at the start of the week). In Saturday’s all-Warrior matchup with Nyack, Merrimack picked up a pair of 1-0 wins behind two seven-inning complete games. Tim Cashman was dominant in the front end, striking out nine and giving up only a hit. Joe Carnevale was nearly as good in game two, striking out eight and scattering five hits. On Sunday, the Warriors swept traditional power Wilmington, 4-2 and 8-3. In game one, the top four of Merrimack’s lineup had half the team’s hits, and five-hole hitter Matt Brown cashed in, driving in two in a 3-3 effort. In game two, it was Dionys Quezada’s turn to come up big. He homered twice and drove in three in his own 3-3 game.

The Warriors’ Northeast Division rivals held serve on their own southern trips. Stonehill went 4-1, earning their own win over Wilmington that saw Eric Schneider drive in three. Southern New Hampshire went 4-2, losing to Lynn and Wilmington but picking up a win over Felician. Bentley, in its only action of the week, knocked off regional #2 St. Thomas Aquinas 3-2. Senior Connor Root gritted out the win, allowing 14 baserunners in 6.1 but only one unearned run. For their part, Saint Anselm and Assumption both came home from Florida with three wins apiece. In-division play starts up in a couple weeks, and from the looks of it, it’s gonna be a fun year.

Finally for D2, NE-10 Southeast favorites Southern Connecticut swept Saint Michael’s in a three-game series played in Haverhill. On the weekend, Nick Baviello went 5-9 with two doubles, four RBI, and a stolen base for the Owls, who improved to 5-5 on the year.

Division III

Team of the Week: Mitchell has gotten off to a torrid start, winning comfortably in all five of their games this week. That includes a three-game NECC sweep of Newbury, and a nice OOC win over Salve Regina. Kenneth Olszewski and Ryan Goodwin each had a pair of three-hit games in the conference series, with Goodwin leading the team with eight RBI. Two of the Mariners’ wins over the Nighthawks were shutouts, with complete games from Tyler Shamas (7 IP, 6 K) and Axel De Jesus (9 IP, 9 K). The team picked up its third shutout of the season the following day against Salve Regina, one of the better teams in a deep CCC. After making some series noise in the NCAA Tournament last year, Mitchell looks poised to have another strong season under Travis Beausoleil.

Wheaton picked up a pair of ranked wins this week, 5-2 over #9 Concordia-Chicago and 7-1 over #18 Webster. Against Concordia, Wheaton’s offense took advantage of 13 Cougar walks, and the 5 runs they tallied proved plenty enough for starter Jared Clement and five relievers, who held the top-10 team to just four hits. Two days later against the Gorloks of Webster, Apolinar de la Cruz and Justin Peluso both homered to key the team in the win.

The Lyons’ only misstep came against Saint Joseph’s, who swept Wheaton in a doubleheader as part of a 2-1 week. In the front end, the Monks led 9-1 after four and answered the Lyons’ five-run fifth with five of their own in the sixth to win 14-6. Seven of the Monks’ starters had multiple-hit games. In game two, the Monks came from behind to win 3-2. The Lyons led 2-0 early, but Saint Joe’s got single runs across in the 6th, 7th, and 8th to win. Dan Donovan had the game-tying RBI, and Taylor Reuillard drove in the go-ahead run in the 8th.

A pair of CCC teams turned in strong opening weekends. Curry and Wentworth contended for conference titles as of a few years ago, but have had tough times recently. Both teams looked good this weekend. The Colonels had a 3-1 weekend, sweeping Anna Maria and splitting a doubleheader with Daniel Webster. They didn’t have to go to the bullpen in their three wins, with Vincent Lopriore, Thomas Fitzpatrick, and David Griffin each going the distance in seven-inning games. Lopriore struck out ten, and Fitzpatrick got an extra-inning win in a game that went into the 8th. The Leopards got a convincing doubleheader sweep over Becker, 8-3 and 13-0. Scott Ouellete had five hits on the day, and Paul Vergara pitched a seven-inning shutout in game two.

Two Central Mass teams that surprised in 2014 have looked strong in the early going. WPI, coming off a NEWMAC playoff appearance, swept Husson on Sunday behind four RBI from DJ Ouellette and six strong from Taylor Landry in the opener. Fitchburg State, coming off its first 20-win season since 2004, took a couple of elite squads to the brink, losing 6-5 in extras to top-25 vote-getter Rose-Hulman and 3-2 to #9 Concordia-Chicago. First-year coach Ryan Parker has his team looking a lot better than a 7th-place preseason pick in the MASCAC. One of Fitchburg’s conference rivals, Westfield State, got off to a 3-0 start, as did the NEWMAC’s Coast Guard.

Links

Carson Cross and Mike Lundin both cracked Collegiate Baseball‘s National Players of the Week list, and the Keene Sentinel also carried a piece on Lundin’s big day. D1Baseball‘s Kendall Rogers discussed UConn’s at-large chances in his weekly chat. The Harvard Crimson recapped their squad’s series win down in Georgia this weekend. WPI and Wentworth both made D3Baseball‘s Sunday roundup. The Sentinel & Enterprise did a nice story about Fitchburg’s first-year head coach Ryan Parker.

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