by: Greg Diener
With the baseball season in the East Coast Conference still young, many teams are trying to make some noise before the start of conference play. Let's look and see how all the baseball teams have been doing in the early part of the season.
The Purple Knights are currently 3-8 in the early part of the season. Junior infielder Brock Roggie has been a stand-out on the Bridgeport roster. In week two of the season, Roggie batted .500, scored three runs and had two RBI. For his outstanding play, Roggie was named the ECC Player of the Week.
Right behind Roggie is senior Mike Olsyzk, who is currently leading the ECC in batting average at .405. In the Purple Knights season opening game against Merrimack, Olsyzk went three-for-four and his one out base-hit in the top of the 9th sparked a come from behind rally in Bridgeport's 4-3 win.
Junior pitcher Mike Nowak has begun to make a name for himself in the early part of the year. Nowak is already 2-1 for the Purple Knights, with 20 innings pitched. On March 9 in Winter Park, Fla., Nowak went the distance in a complete game victory as Bridgeport defeated Assumption, 6-3. Nowak's performance earned him Pitcher of the Week honors from the ECC.
The two-time defending ECC champions are currently 4-8 to begin the 2013 season. Junior infielder J.C. Brandmaier is coming off a great performance in week two of the season. Brandmaier's five-for-six performance in a weekend doubleheader against Le Moyne gave him ECC Player of the Week honors that week.
Junior pitcher Tyler Badamo is already showing signs of leading the ECC in strikeouts once again this season. In four starts so far on the 2013 campaign, Badamo has 27 strikeouts with only five walks in 20.1 innings pitched. Badamo is currently tied for second in the ECC in strikeouts.
Freshman catcher Mike Rizzitello has gotten off to a good start in his career as a Golden Lion. Against LeMoyne in a doubleheader on March 3, Rizzitello went two-for-four and his RBI base-hit in the bottom of the 4th proved to be the key difference in Dowling's 3-2 win.
Junior pitcher Tom Bammann received honors for his incredible eight inning performance of scoreless relief in Dowling's 16-inning marathon game against Franklin Pierce on March 10. Bammann struck out six batters, while walking just one, and did not allow a hit. Bammann would be honored for the performance, earning ECC Pitcher of the Week and NCBWA East Region Pitcher of the Week accolades.
The Pioneers have started off the 2013 with a record of 6-8. Junior infielder Casey Kelly gave LIU Post their first win in 2013 on February 23 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. An RBI by Kelly in the top of the 3rd turned out to be all the Pioneers need in a 1-0 victory over Felician. Kelly is currently batting .260 on the season.
The Pioneers senior pitchers Bo Budkevics and Kevin Chenicek are leading the way on the mound. In his first three starts of the season, Budkevics is leading the team in strikeouts with 16 in 17.1 innings pitched. Budkevics is also averaging 8.31 strikeouts per game.
Chenicek currently has a 1-1 record with a 4.63 ERA. In the February 23 game against Felician, Chenicek went 7.2 innings only allowing three hits with seven strikeouts and only one walk.
The Mavericks have started off the 2013 season with a record of 3-11-1. The Mavericks earned their first win of the season in the second game of a doubleheader in Fort Pierce, Fla. against Southern Connecticut St. by a final score of 8-7.
Mercy would get their second win of their Florida trip on March 12th over Merrimack again in the second game of a doubleheader. The Mavericks rallied after trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 6th by scoring four runs.
Freshman infielder Steve Longo capped off the inning with a two RBI double that sealed the game for the Mavericks. Junior pitcher Adam Rodriguez picked up the win in relief for Mercy, pitching 2.2 innings while allowing just two hits.
Molloy has started the 2013 season with a record of 6-14. Senior outfielder Greg Walsh is second on the Lions in hits with 15 and also has seven RBI's with four doubles and a triple so far. Walsh also leads the team in on-base percentage with an average of .380 and leads the ECC with 12 stolen bases.
Junior pitcher Max Schonfeld has been one of the ECC's top pitchers in the early part of the season. Schonfeld is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 36.1 IP. Schonfeld had an 11 strikeout performance on February 22 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in the Lions first win of the season against Mercyhurst. Schonfeld threw eight shutout innings only allowing five hits.
Freshman pitcher Shea Spitzbarth is coming off his two best performances of the season. On March 5 against Caldwell, Spitzbarth struck out 13 batters in just six innings of work in a no-decision. In his next start on March 11 against Adelphi, he went six innings, striking out six, while allowing just one earned run as Molloy defeated the Panthers, 13-4. Those performances earned him back to back ECC Rookie of the Week honors.
The Knights are 1-9 so far in the 2013 season. Junior Joe Salanitri is the Knights leading hitter with a .333 batting average. Salanitri is 11-for-33 in the young season and is ranked in the ECC Top 10 in batting average.
The Knights got their first win of the season in Garden City facing Adelphi in a non-conference game. Senior infielder Danny Muller's RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th inning scored sophomore John Everman to give the Knights the 4-3 win.
Junior pitcher Jonathan Russell went six innings for Queens, allowing three runs on seven hits, to get the victory. Freshman Frank Kaplan pitched three innings, striking out three batters and allowing only two hits to earn the save.
St. Thomas Aquinas
The defending ECC regular season champions are off to a good start this season. The Spartans currently have an 8-5 record. Senior catcher Mike Russo has been outstanding so far; hitting .333 with 10 RBI (2nd in the ECC) and has a slugging percentage of .458.
Senior infielder Frank Salerno is already looking like he will have a big season on the base paths once again. Salerno is second in the ECC in stolen bases with 10 steals in 11 attempts. Salerno also has a .306 batting average with a pair of doubles and five RBI.
In three starts this season, senior pitcher Joe DePool has a 2-0
record for the Spartans. In Lake Worth, Fla. on March 10
against Adelphi, DePool pitched six innings of shutout ball in
STAC's 8-6 victory over the Panthers. DePool has a 2.00 ERA
and is currently ninth in the conference in innings pitched with
Early on in ECC non-conference play, we are seeing Molloy and
Dowling get off to hot starts, while one ECC team is hoping to use
their strong start as a springboard of success during the 2013
season. Here's a look at how some of the teams and players in the
ECC have been doing so far.
The Purple Knights are currently 5-7 on the season after their road trip to Florida and have won three of their last four games. Bridgeport opens up ECC conference play against Dowling on March 26 in Brookhaven.
Sophomore Jade Blair is leading the Purple Knights in batting average at .409. Blair is 9-for-22 and has a slugging percentage of .591. On March 15 against Bentley, Blair went 2-for-4 capping her day with an RBI triple that highlighted a four-run Bridgeport fourth inning.
Junior Tiffany Irrera is showing signs of a dominant season in the circle. Despite her record of 1-3, Irrera currently has the third lowest ERA in the ECC with 0.81. Irrera has thrown 26.0 innings on the year and has struck out 22 batters while walking just eight. Irrera's best performance this season came against Assumption on March 9 where she had six strikeouts while allowing just two runs on seven hits in getting the win.
Freshman pitcher Jennine Walsh is one you need to keep an eye on during the rest of the season for Bridgeport. Walsh currently has a 2-2 record in four games pitched so far in the 2013 season. Walsh earned her first collegiate win on March 10 against St. Michael's where she pitched a complete game one-hit shutout over five innings in the Purple Knights 8-0 win.
The Dowling Golden Lions are currently 9-3 so far in the 2013 season. Dowling's strong early performance may be an indication of a solid season ahead as they look to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.
Senior infielder Stephanie Tarango is once again the top performer in the Golden Lions lineup. Tarango is currently batting .351 with five homeruns and 16 RBI, leading the conference in the latter two categories. In a doubleheader against Le Moyne on March 16, Tarango's two homeruns lifted Dowling from a seven-run deficit to a 12-8 win. Tarango went 4-for-4 in the game with four RBI.
Freshman catcher Samantha Laird is an early contender for consideration for the ECC Rookie of the Year award. In Laird's first two collegiate games against Concordia (N.Y.) on March 3, Laird went a combined 4-for-6 with two homeruns and seven RBI. Laird's performance was awarded with the ECC Rookie of the Week award for week one.
Senior pitcher Kaitlin Ellingsworth has been the Golden Lions top pitcher this season. Ellingsworth has a 5-1 record for the season and has an earned run average of 1.65. Ellingsworth's best performance so far this season came in the second game of the season-opening doubleheader against Concordia (N.Y.). She went six innings only allowing one run on two hits. Ellingsworth also had nine strikeouts while walking three.
The Pioneers of LIU Post have a record of 7-4 so far in the season. LIU Post begins ECC conference play at home on March 23 when they play Mercy in a doubleheader.
The Pioneers have been strengthened at the plate by their dynamic duo of catchers, freshman Paige Swantek and sophomore Aly Dzierzynski. Swantek has a .343 average for the Pioneers. She hit her first collegiate homerun in Kissimmee, Fla. against Northwood (Mich.) on March 16. Dzierzynski has a .303 batting average with two homeruns and eight RBI. Dzierzynski had a grand slam homerun in the Pioneers 11-9 loss to Southwest Minnesota St. on March 11.
Junior outfielder Alexis Gonzalez is also off to a hot start for the Pioneers. Gonzalez is currently ranked second in the ECC in homeruns (four) and RBI (10) behind Dowling's Stephanie Tarango. Against Northwood (Mich.) on March 16, Gonzalez was 3-for-3 with a double and a solo homerun.
Junior pitcher Liz Weber had her best performance this season on March 14 versus Augustana (S.D.), pitching a complete game allowing only an unearned run. Weber tossed seven strikeouts with four walks in the Pioneers 7-2 victory. Weber currently has a 4-3 record for the season and has an ERA of 2.46.
Perhaps one of the interesting stories in the ECC has been the strong start for the Mercy College Mavericks. As of press time the team has gotten off to a 6-5 start in non-conference play.
Sophomore Shannon Forbes is currently batting .414 for the Mavericks this season with 12 hits. Forbes has had at least one hit in all eight games she has played so far this season. Forbes best performance this season came on March 14 vs. St. Michael's in Clermont, Fla. where she went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the Mavericks 12-1 victory.
Junior Kimberly Crnkovich is the team's leader in RBI's with six. Crnkovich's two-run double back on March 11 on the Mavericks’ Florida road trip were the only runs needed as they defeated Bentley by a finals score of 2-0. Crnkovich also has had at least one hit in every game she has been in the line-up for Mercy.
In the circle, junior Mary Sieber has been one of the most important keys to the Mavericks early success. In five starts, Sieber is currently 2-2 with an earned run average of 2.91. Sieber's best performance came in the 2-0 win over Bentley, where she pitched a complete game only, allowing two hits to go along with six strikeouts and only one walk.
The two-time defending ECC champions are off to a fast start in 2013. The Lions are currently 14-4 and ranked No. 14 in the nation. The Lions begin their ECC title defense on March 26 at home against Queens.
The Lions began their season at the NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic in Tuscon, Ariz. After dropping their first two games on February 15 against West Texas A&M and Dixie St., the Lions defeated Colorado Mesa and Chowan to earn a trip to the Copper Bracket Championship. After defeating Regis (CO), 6-2, the Lions defeated Missouri-St. Louis, 2-1, to win the bracket behind junior pitcher Megan Butterworth, who only allowed one run on five hits.
Butterworth is currently 7-1 on the season with 52.0 IP and six complete games. She also ranks in the ECC Top-Five in wins, strikeouts (68) and ERA (1.08).
Junior infielder Nicolette Sinagra has been the leading hitter for the Lions. Sinagra has 20 hits so far in the season and has a batting average of .339. Sinagra had a three-hit performance, including a pair of triples, against Bentley on March 11 in the Lions 4-1 win.
The Lions will certainly be the team to beat once conference play starts.
The Bears are currently 3-4 on the season. NYIT started the year by sweeping a season opening doubleheader against Bowie St. on March 1, followed by a split against Chestnut Hill the following day.
Junior Monet Ormsby led the Bears in the four-game season opening road trip. Ormsby batted .667 (8-for-12) with four runs and seven RBI. In the season opening doubleheader against Bowie St., Monet went a combined 7-for-7 with a double and four RBI's. Ormsby also added a victory in the circle, tossing a complete game in game one with nine strikeouts. Ormsby was honored with the ECC Player of the Week award in week one for her outstanding play.
Senior Samantha Gallagher was another Bear who is looking to use her performance in the first four games as a measuring stick for this season. Gallagher batted .438 on the road trip and had six hits and five RBI in the Bowie St. doubleheader.
Freshman Lia Matz had a strong debut for NYIT in game two against Bowie St. in her first collegiate start, Liz pitched a complete game, allowing only two runs on four hits. Matz went on to strike out seven batters while walking only two. She currently has an earned run average of 3.82 for the season and has 12 strikeouts.
The Knights are currently 2-6 to begin the year but head coach Amy Delmore hopes to lead Queens to their second straight ECC Tournament appearance in May. After getting swept against Minot St. and American International on March 13 in Clermont, Fla., the Knights picked up wins over St. Michael's and Alderson-Broaddus to start the year.
The Knights first win of the season against St. Michael's had a lot of highlights. Sophomore Samantha Mattsson got the offense started with a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first.
Sophomore Isabelle Yaroch had double duty both in the circle and at the plate. Yaroch's two-run double in the bottom of the second regained the lead for the Knights after St. Michael's scored two runs in the top half. Yaroch finished her day with two hits and had six strikeouts in the circle while allowing one run on three hits.
St. Thomas Aquinas
As of press time the Lady Spartans have started the year off at 3-5 following their road trip to Florida. The Spartans will have their home opener against Chestnut Hill on March 22 before opening up conference play against Mercy on March 26.
The biggest win in the Lady Spartans’ season so far took place on March 12 against American International in which they rallied for eight runs in the top of the third. The highlight of that inning was a grand slam homerun off the bat of junior catcher Toniann Groth. Megan Sweezy went the distance for STAC in the 10-4 win.
Later that same day against St. Michael's, the Spartans picked up a 4-2 victory. Senior Maura Power went six innings for STAC in the victory, giving up only one run on eight hits. Sophomore outfielder Lauren Navarro went 4-for-4 and scored a fun for the Lady Spartans in their three run fifth inning.