Patriot League Baseball Weekly Release (2.27.12)

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Bucknell senior Bob Donato
Bucknell senior Bob Donato

Feb. 27, 2012

Patriot League Baseball Weekly Release (2.27.12)Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Last season’s trip to James Madison was one to forget for the Bison, giving up 91 runs in a four-game sweep.

Bucknell turned the tables on James Madison this season, taking three of four games, scoring 43 runs in the three wins.

Bison senior outfielder Bob Donato led the charge, driving in 11 runs in the series with his 10 hits, including three homers. Donato homered in the Bison’s only loss of the series, 12-1 on Friday.

After going 2-for-5 with an RBI in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Donato exploded with a 4-for-7 performance, hitting two homers and driving in eight runs in a 22-6 win. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored in Sunday’s series finale.

Donato, who has 14 RBIs this season, was named the Patriot League Player of the Week for his performance.

Army’s Chris Rowley was named the Pitcher of the Week and Holy Cross freshman Evan Ocello was named the Rookie of the Week.

Rowley collected a complete-game shutout win over George Washington on Saturday, capping a doubleheader sweep of the Colonials. He struck out six allowing just two hits and one walk in seven innings of work.

Ocello had a huge collegiate debut for Holy Cross as the outfielder went 5-for-11 with two doubles, an RBI, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored against then-No. 4 Texas A&M. Ocello’s success against the Aggies showed on the scoreboard, too, as the Crusaders took the No. 4-ranked team in the nation 11 innings on Friday in a 3-2 loss before upsetting them 7-3 in 10 innings on Saturday. Texas A&M bounced back in the rubber match to win 8-2, but it still worked out to be an impressive weekend for the Crusaders.

All six Patriot League teams will return to action this week with non-league games. Lehigh highlights the upcoming schedule with a three-game series at No. 23 California that starts on Saturday.

Patriot League Notebook

Crusaders make their mark in Texas
Holy Cross left Texas losing two of three games to No. 4 Texas A&M, but the Crusaders had to leave with plenty of confidence. Taking the ranked Aggies to the 11th inning on Friday before losing 3-2 was not a bad way to start the season.

Nate Koneski allowed just two runs over his 5⅓ innings of work, striking out nine. He gave up just four hits; however, he walked seven. Despite the high walk total, he worked himself out of jams to keep the Crusaders in the game, and they were in striking distance throughout.

On Saturday, the Crusaders pulled off an upset that will rank high in the record books at Holy Cross, winning 7-3 in 10 innings. The Crusaders took an early 3-1 lead and pitchers Matt Croglio and Tommy Marra combined to toss 8⅓ innings, holding the Aggies to three runs on seven hits and eight walks. They each struck out four. Mike Ahmed pitched the final 1⅔ innings, picking up the win. He allowed just one walk, retiring five of the six batters he faced. Jordan Enos led the way at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. He homered to lead off the Crusaders’ three-run second inning. On Sunday, Texas A&M picked up an 8-2 win, fueled by a five-run second inning.

Kent closes the door for Lehigh
Lehigh senior Cory Kent continues to climb the Patriot League’s all-time career saves list, picking up his 19th and 20th career saves over the weekend.

Kent is currently in third place behind Army’s Milan Dinga, who had 27 saves from 2004 to 2007, and Army senior Kevin McKague, who has 22 saves in his first three years of pitching.

Kent went two innings to collect his first save of the season on Friday, closing the door on a 3-1 win over Davidson. He struck out five of the eight batters he faced, allowing just one walk. On Saturday, he came in with the tying run at third base, and with two outs, he forced a flyout to left field to seal the 8-7 win over Fairleigh Dickinson.

Bison, Mids tie for first in League preseason poll
Bucknell and Navy are tied atop the 2012 Patriot League Preseason Baseball poll released by the Patriot League on Feb. 15. Both the Mids and the Bison received 39 points in the poll voted on by the League’s coaches and sports information directors. Army narrowly missed being first, as well, earning 38 points, creating a log-jam at the top of the poll featuring the last three Patriot League Champions.

Defending champion Navy earned five first-place votes, while 2010 champion Bucknell picked up four. Army, which won the 2009 championship, had one first-place vote and Holy Cross nabbed a pair of first-place votes to collect 29 points and finish fourth. Lafayette (17) and Lehigh (16) rounded out the poll.

In 2011, the Midshipmen, who finished 33-25-1 overall and 12-8 in the League, defeated the Black Knights in the Patriot League Championship three-game series 2-1 to earn the bid to the NCAA Tournament. Army finished second in the League standings with an 11-9 record, 22-26 overall. The Black Knights took out Lafayette in the semifinals last season to advance to the championship series against the Mids, who defeated Bucknell in the semifinals.

Bucknell coach Gene Depew to retire after season
Gene Depew, a 1971 Bucknell graduate who has coached at his alma mater for more than 40 years, including the last 31 as head baseball coach, has announced his retirement following the 2012 season. One of the longest-tenured coaches in Bucknell history in any sport, Depew enters his final season with 570 victories, more than five times the amount of any other Bison baseball coach. Only the fourth head baseball coach at Bucknell since World War II, Depew has been so well-respected by those that played under his tutelage that in 2003 the Bucknell varsity baseball field was renamed Eugene B. Depew Field in his honor.

The Bison have been especially successful over the last 16 years, finishing either first or second in the Patriot League eight times, including six regular-season titles and five Patriot League Tournament crowns. Depew has guided Bucknell to five NCAA Tournament appearances over that span, highlighted by a memorable 7-0 victory over fourth-ranked Florida State in 2008.

On an individual level, Depew has won the Patriot League Coach of the Year award four times (1993, 1996, 2003, 2009), has had four Patriot League Pitchers of the Year (Mike Tomko, 1996; Mike Anders, 1998; Kevin Miller, 2003; Ryan Ebner, 2011), four Players of the Year (Kevin Silverman, 1996; Frank Fresconi, 2000; Jason Buursma, 2008; Andrew Brouse, 2010) and two Rookies of the Year (Phil Futrick, 2003; Ben Yoder, 2007). Depew has also led 65 student-athletes to 101 Patriot League first- and second-team accolades.

NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list
Three Patriot League pitchers were named to initial watch list of the eighth annual National College Baseball Writers Association’s (NCBWA) Presason Stopper of the Year Award.

Army’s Kevin McKague, Bucknell’s Alex Cillo and Navy’s Joel Rinehart — all three are right-handed hurlers — were among 45 players named to the initial watch list for the award that is presented to the top relief pitcher in Division I.

Rinehart recorded the final out in the Mids’ 2011 Patriot League Championship series against Army, striking out three in 1⅔ innings of work to collect his sixth save of the season and preserve the 5-3 win for Navy. Rinehart, as a sophomore, finished with an ERA of 1.81 in 23 appearances. He enters the 2012 season third on Navy’s all-time saves list with nine. He allowed just one run while striking out 20 in his final nine appearances (17 innings).

McKague is a senior at Army who is looking to return to the Black Knights’ bullpen after missing the majority of the 2011 season due to injury. He was very successful in 2010, converting all 13 of his save opportunities and finishing with a 1.33 ERA. The 13 saves were school and Patriot League single-season records. With 22 career saves, he is just five away from tying the League recorder holder, Army’s Milan Dinga, who had 27 saves from 2004-07.

Cillo went 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 46 innings last season, all in relief. He allowed just two earned runs in his final 16 appearances (43⅓ innings) and posted a 24-inning streak of not allowing an earned run, helping his ERA against Patriot League opponents round out at 0.56.

Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, June 6, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.

Patriot League Baseball Weekly Awards

Sr., OF, Williamsport, Pa.
Donato went 10-for-21 (.476) in Bucknell’s four-game series at James Madison, helping the Bison win the final three games of the series by a combined score of 43-18. Donato drove in 11 runs, including eight in Bucknell’s 22-6 win on Saturday. He went 4-for-7 in the game with a double, two homers and three runs scored. He also homered in the series opener. In the series finale on Sunday, Donato went 3-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and two stolen bases. He now has 20 career home runs and is three away from moving into the League’s top-10 career home run list. This is Donato’s first weekly award this season and second of his career.

 Jr., RHP, Duluth, Ga.
Rowley pitched a seven-inning complete-game shutout in a 5-0 win over George Washington Saturday, capping off a doubleheader sweep. Rowley struck out six while limiting George Washington to just two hits and one walk. He retired the side in the third, fourth and fifth innings, while recording 11 straight outs. With the win, Rowley lowered his ERA to 0.77. He’s struck out nine and allowed just one earned run in 11⅔ innings of work. This is his first award in 2012 and his second career weekly award.

 Fr., OF, Camarillo, Calif.
Ocello had a huge debut weekend for Holy Cross, going 5-for-11 (.455) in the Crusaders’ opening series against No. 4 Texas A&M. Ocello went 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored in the Crusaders’ 3-2 loss in 11 innings to the Aggies on Friday in the series opener. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored as Holy Cross upset the nation’s No. 4-ranked team 7-3 in 10 innings. 

 Sr., INF, Fayetteville, N.C.
McKague went 5-for-9 (.556) over the weekend as Army took two of three from George Washington. McKague did the majority of his damage in the series opener, going 4-for-4 with a double, a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Casey went 7-for-11 (.667) in Lafayette’s three-game series against VMI. He had a hit in each game, but none were bigger than his grand slam in the Leopards’ 12-5 win Saturday. He finished 3-for-4 with a homer, five RBIs and three runs scored in the win.

Gadjos went 7-for-12 (.583) with a double, three RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases and two runs scored in four games last week. He reached safely in all four games and drove in a run in 3-of-4 games.

CORY KENT, LEHIGH Sr., P, Wilson, Pa.
Kent recorded a pair of saves to help Lehigh start the season with two wins. He pitched the final two innings in a 3-1 win over Davidson on Friday, striking out five of the eight batters he faced. On Saturday, he stepped in again to record a save, this time coming in with the tying run on third with two outs. He recorded the out to post his 20th career save, which places him two behind Army’s Kevin McKague, who is in second place on the League’s all-time career save list.

CHANCE JONES, NAVY So., C, St. George, Utah
Jones went 7-for-15 (.455) in four games last week for the Mids, totaling 10 RBIs and six runs scored. He had a double and homered twice. He helped the Mids rally against Air Force and avoid the series sweep with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth to give Navy the 5-4 lead.