All right, this took way longer than expected, so I’ll wish you a happy Pi Day and let you get to it. (Didn’t have time to spell or fact check, so let me know what I messed up, and I’ll fix things.)
Team of the Week: Boston College takes the honors this week after winning a road series over #8 NC State. After splitting midweek games at the Snowbird Classic, the Eagles traveled to Doak Field in Raleigh for their ACC opener against the Wolfpack. (And don’t you dare try to name your own team the Wolfpack.) Mike King, whose early-season performances have him in discussions of the ACC’s best Friday night arms, pitched another gem in the opener (7 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 4 K). Three RBI from Joe Cronin, who earned some bat-flip fame the following afternoon, powered the offense in a 7-0 win. Cronin’s homer in game two wasn’t enough to avoid a 3-2 defeat, but BC showed some real mettle to take the series on Sunday. With Nick Sciortino’s bases-loaded walk the only difference in a 1-0 game entering the ninth, the Wolfpack loaded the bases with no outs. Somehow, in an official scorer’s nightmare of an inning that saw four pitching changes, six defensive changes, a pinch hitter, a pinch runner, and a walk to a guy named Deatherage, the Eagles escaped with a hard-fought win. They’re now 12-3 on the year and proud owners of a well-deserved #22 ranking from Collegiate Baseball. They open up at home tomorrow against Holy Cross, and their pregame ritual alone makes a trip to Chestnut Hill worthwhile if you’ve got the afternoon free.
BC wasn’t the only team to grab a road series, as UMass Lowell and Rhode Island also had winning weekends. The Riverhawks trekked all the way out to the Bay Area to take two of three from Santa Clara. Sophomore stud Andrew Ryan worked his usual Friday night magic (8 IP, 0 R, 8 K) to win 3-0 in the opener before the Broncos evened things up with a 7-1 win Saturday. In the rubber match, a strong start from Nick Kuzia (6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2K) helped give a UML a 4-3 lead entering the ninth, where JuCo transfer Brendan Long impressed by striking out the side to earn his fourth save of the young season. The Riverhawks stay in California for one more game with USF, then open LeLacheur Park for three-games with NYIT this weekend. The Rams, meanwhile, went 2-1 at the Campbell Invitational. After dropping a game on Friday night, Martin Figueroa’s monster day (5-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) made the difference in a 7-6 win over the hosts Saturday, and on Sunday, home runs from Chriss Hess, Derek Gardella, and Chase Livingston led Rhody to a 13-4 romp over Davidson. URI visits Towson this weekend before opening up A-10 play against George Mason at the end of the month.
Elsewhere, Bryant got another marquee win (this one over Maryland) in a hard-fought series in College Park (Brandon Bingel going six scoreless in the 2-0 Saturday victory), and UConn and Sacred Heart both went 2-2 on the week.
Team of the Week: After a decent 2-3 showing in Myrtle Beach, a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Post had Stonehill sitting at 2-5 after the first day of their Florida trip. Since then, they’ve turned things around and then some, reeling off eight straight wins. The seven that came in this calendar week featured a nice win over Wilmington, a 19-4 revenge thrashing of Post, and nothing closer than the 5-2 margin against Bloomfield. The statsheet currently shows a group of six veterans leading the way– Steve Lee, Chris Hoyt, Brian Campbell, Eddie Bowler, Ben Monte, and Eric Schneider are all hitting over .300 and have combined for eight homers, 67 RBI, and 21 steals on the year. On the mound, Michael Young (9 in 7 vs. Concordia) and John Hauck (11 in 6 vs. Nyack) both racked up strikeouts, and Patrick Hurley allowed just one earned run in 15.1 innings in wins over Wilmington and Concordia. All told, the Skyhawks getting hot at just the right time– after this weekend’s set with Molloy, they open up NE-10 play with a huge home series against Franklin Pierce.
Although no one else quite measured up to Stonehill’s 7-0, plenty of other D2’s had excellent weeks. Southern New Hampshire annihilated Molloy (19-6) and Caldwell (20-0, 15-0) in Florida to continue their perfect start. In the sweep of the Cougars, Carson Helms (6 RBI) and Ryan Gendron (3 XBH) led an offenseive assault of 35 runs and 38 hits (12 for extra bases). That made for relaxing days for starters Alex Person and Justin Valdespina, who both fired seven scoreless. Rivals Franklin Pierce suffered their first loss in the midst of a four-game visit to Felician, but outscored the Golden Falcons 33-7 in three wins. Kurtis White homered and drove in five on the weekend, and Chris LaVorgna tripled and drove in six.
Two other teams had more Stonehill-style turnaround weeks. Assumption, who started off the season 1-7, won four of their last five in Florida. Wednesday’s 9-7 win over the Sunshine State Conference’s Rollins Tars. Two RBIs and a run from Mike Coggeshall helped AC jump out to an early 6-2 lead, and the pitching staff weathered some Rollins Rallies™ to win. Junior Tom Horstkotte pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save. (All this came while the Greyhounds were in the back end of a doubleheader against a team playing their only game of the day.) Merrimack, who’ve been up (5-0 in Myrtle) and down (swept by Molloy) righted the ship with a 3-1 weekend. The Warriors walked off in the first (Bobby Losanno scoring the winning run) and came from behind in the second (Losanno again, with a two-RBI single in the sixth that turned out to be the difference) against Mercy on Saturday, then split with Dominican on Sunday to have a winning week.
Outside the NE-10, Bridgeport had an excellent 2-0-1 week. After tying SCSU in a midweeker up north, they beat Bentley on Saturday and Sunday, 8-4 and 13-4. Casey McCone homered and drove in four in the opener, and teammate Alnaydo Rodriguez matched that line on Sunday.
Co-Team of the Week: After earning the honors last week, Elms defended its crown with a 7-0 week. Apart from Monday’s 9-6 win over Baruch, the pitching staff didn’t allow more than two runs all week. Five of the wins came in Florida, and after just a day’s rest, they hit the road again and swept a doubleheader from SUNY Purchase. Tom Weldon and Brian Langdon combined for a shutout in the 2-0 opener, Aedin Wadja and Andy Vasquez each drove in a pair in a 5-2 in in game two. I don’t have to check the record books to know this is the best start in the program’s relatively short history– kudos to third-year head man Scott Netkovick.
Co-Team of the Week: The Blazers’ Pioneer Valley neighbors Western New England share Team of the Week honors after a perfect week of their own. The Golden Bears launched their own Florida trip with five wins in four days. The pitching staff gave up just two runs in a doubleheader sweep of St. Joseph’s, the bats came out in 13-2 and 14-6 wins over Waynesburg and Brockport, and the whole team ground out a 6-5 win over Trinity on Sunday. A group of five relievers allowed just two runs (one earned) after the fourth, but those allowed Trinity to erase a late 5-3 deficit and force extras. Credit WNE, though– freshman Liam Davey stemmed that momentum by stranding the go-ahead run on second in the top of the 10th, and T.J. Wyrebek’s double scored Jared Rosenblatt all the way from first to win it in the bottom half. (And to Jared, who’s got a great name for college baseball, apologies in advance for accidentally calling you Johnny at some point in the future).
Plenty of other highlights from what was our heaviest D3 week yet…
In the CCC, Roger Williams had a strong 5-2 week in Florida. A pitching staff led by the likes of Troy DeLeon (7 IP, 8 K) and Tyler Campo (7 IP, 0 ER) gave up just five runs in those five wins. Eastern Nazarene reeled off a four-game winning streak in the midst of a week that included a DH sweep of Emerson on a special day at the Pirates’ McKechnie Field. Finally, Curry started its Florida swing 2-1 by notching solid wins over RPI and Westfield State.
Defending GNAC champions Suffolk had an excellent 5-1 week to kick off their season. A one-run loss to Salem up north was the only blemish, as they went on to start their Florida trip 5-0. Close wins (4-3 over Montclair, 4-2 over Plattsburgh) book-ended 11-1, 18-4, and 18-5 blowouts. Brady Chant paced the offense with a .423 average and four triples (though no doubles, of course). On the mound, sophomore Worth Walrod struck out ten and gave up just a hit in six against Gallaudet, and may be joining Jean-Carlos Berasgoico on the all-name team. Morning games with Westfield State, UMass Boston, and Keene State lie ahead for the Rams.
In the Little East, the preseason 1-2 of Southern Maine and Eastern Connecticut both had perfect records in short weeks. The Huskies swept Worcester State in Northborough on Saturday. Nick Dibiase and Paul McDonough each drove in a pair in the opener. In game two, Dalton Rice had quite the day (6 IP, 0 R, 4 H, BB, 9 K) in his college debut, and Sam Dexter and Jake Glauser each drove in three in a 14-2 blowout. ECSU, meanwhile, kicked off their season with wins over two of the Skyline Conference’s best, Farmingdale State and Old Westbury. Chad Adams homered and drove in three in a doubleheader sweep of the Rams, and Ron Buchetto surrendered just one in five in the win over OW.
In the MASCAC, Salem State went 2-1 in a week split between Massachusetts and Florida. They handed Suffolk their only loss of the season last Tuesday, an RBI single from Dan Connors the decider in a 6-5 win. Then, in their Florida opener, they put up a 27-spot on Nichols. The Vikings scored in every inning but the fourth, and 14 different players drove in a run. Joe White and Connors each drove in four, and that didn’t even lead the team. (That honor went to freshman Zac Duval, with five, and he didn’t even get in the game till the seventh!) Elsewhere in the league, Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State both posted .500 weeks in Florida, the Bears sweeping Northwestern (the ones from Minnesota) on Friday, and the Falcons splitting with the NJAC’s TCNJ Lions on Sunday.
In NAC action (NACtion?), Colby-Sawyer won a league series over NEC in Florida. Connor Henry, Jeff Dunn, Doug Avellino, and Andrew Pratt each had multi-RBI days in a 13-9 win in the opener, and the pitching staff let up just four runs in a sweep on Sunday. With the series win, the Chargers have already matched their league win total from all of last season and will look to carry the momentum in their next NAC games with Castleton in early April.
NECC favorites Mitchell left Florida 8-2 after earning a nice split with preseason #25 Alvernia on Friday. They also won a positively wild 13-12 game with MacMurray on Tuesday. The Mariners trailed 6-1 early, but scored 6 in the 7th to lead. The Highlanders tied it in the bottom half, Mitchell took an 8-7 in the top of the 9th, and MacMurray tied it again to force extras. In the 10th, Garet Griffin’s two-RBI double keyed a five-run inning that put them up 13-8. Safe, right? Think again. MacMurray put up four in the bottom half and had the tying run on second when Mitchell finally recorded the last out. A win’s a win, though, and Mitchell heads back north with plenty of those, including, most importantly, three in the NECC. They’re back in conference action this Saturday at Southern Vermont. Other shouts are in order for Daniel Webster, who had a 4-2 week and earned a league split with Becker, and Newbury, who ended their Florida trip on a three-game winning streak.
In limited NESCAC action (NESCACtion!), the West Division’s two titans both got off to hot starts. Amherst started off 4-0 in Florida, sweeping Plymouth State on Saturday. Yanni Thanopoulos (yes, I copied and pasted that) doubled and tripled in the opener, and Wilson Taylor got the win in his college debut in game two. Out in Arizona, Wesleyan started their spring trip 6-2, scoring 58 runs in their first four games (one of those a loss, amazingly enough). This week will be highlighted by Thursday’s meeting with a strong Cal Lutheran team.
Finally, in NEWMAC action (don’t worry, I’ll stop), WPI had a 6-2 week in Florida, notching doubleheader sweeps of Waynesburg, Keene State, and Wentworth. Steven D’Agostino shut out Waynesburg early in the week, and Mike Vaitkunas gave up just one in seven against the Owls later on. At the plate, senior Alex Venditti homered in both ends of the doubleheader against Wentworth (he led the team with eight a season ago). Elsewhere, Wheaton (3-1), Coast Guard (3-2), and Springfield (2-0) all had winning weeks in Florida.