April 19, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League baseball standings were tight heading into last weekend's action, and the six teams got even closer after League-leading Army dropped three of four games at Lehigh.
Patriot League Baseball Release - 4.19.11
The Holy Cross/Lafayette and Bucknell/Navy series each ended in a split, leaving Army, Navy and Lafayette in a three-way tie for first place in the Patriot League at 7-5 with Lehigh (6-6), Holy Cross (5-7) and Bucknell (4-8) all very much in the picture.
With two weeks to go in the Patriot League schedule, each squad remains right in the mix to earn one of the four bids to the Patriot League Tournament, which begins with the semifinal round on May 14-15. This weekend a pair of first-place teams will play for a leg up in the race when Army visits Lafayette, while Navy heads to Holy Cross and Bucknell goes to Lehigh to complete the schedule.
The Black Knights are playing a second straight road series, while Lafayette completes its homestand with a third consecutive Patriot League series in Easton.
Navy plays its final road series of the year at Holy Cross, which closes the regular season on a 12-game homestand beginning Wednesday.
Bucknell heads on the road in the Patriot League for the third straight weekend when it takes on Lehigh.
While the standings are very tight, multiple teams could clinch a League Tournament berth with a strong weekend and help elsewhere.
The week also features a set of action against the Ivy League on Wednesday, when Lehigh hosts Penn and Holy Cross welcomes Brown for doubleheaders and Army plays host to Yale.
Patriot League Weekly Awards (April 11-18)
Player of the Week
NICK CIARDIELLO, HOLY CROSS Sr., OF, Edison, N.J.
With four home runs in five games last week, Ciardiello became the all-time leader in Holy Cross annals with 23 long balls in his career. After belting one in a loss to Central Connecticut State on Monday, he hit a home run in each end of Sunday's doubleheader with Lafayette, including a solo shot to lead Holy Cross to a 6-5 win in the opener. His home run in game two broke the Holy Cross career record, and Ciardiello added another in the series finale to lift the Crusaders to a 14-10 win and a split of the four-game set. He batted 7-for-20 with four home runs and six RBIs for the week, tallying three games with two hits or more. Ciaridello also pulled into a tie for eighth in Patriot League history with the 23 home runs. He earns the Patriot League Player of the Week award for the first time in his career.
Pitcher of the Week
CORY KENT, LEHIGH Jr., P, Wilson, Pa.
A preseason candidate for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award, Kent had perhaps his finest weekend by recording three consecutive saves as Lehigh won its weekend series against Army. He came on to pitch a scoreless inning in Lehigh's 3-2 and 8-6 victories on Sunday and the Mountain Hawks' 7-6 triumph on Monday. Kent allowed just two hits in his three innings of work, and did not allow more than one baserunner in any of the outings. The junior, who saved nine games last season, moves up to a tie for third in Patriot League history with 17 career saves. Kent picks up his first Patriot League Pitcher of the Week award.
Rookie of the Week
JUSTIN MEIER, BUCKNELL Fr., C, Clarendon Hill, Ill.
Meier had a breakout performance to help Bucknell to a four-game split against Navy, going 4-for-4 with two runs, three RBIs and two walks as the Bison posted a 15-7 win in the series finale on Monday. He had gone 6-of-23 in his career entering the contest, and became one of just three Bison to post a four-hit game this year. Meier earns his first Patriot League Rookie of the Week award.
KEVIN CASEY, LAFAYETTE So., 2B/P, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Casey went 6-for-12 with a home run and eight RBIs in Lafayette's weekend series with Holy Cross.
NICK DRISCOLL, NAVY Sr., 2B, Riverview, Fla.
Driscoll hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 8th to lift Navy over Bucknell on Monday, and had six RBIs for the week.
RYAN EBNER, BUCKNELL Jr., P, Sinking Spring, Pa.
Ebner threw a seven-inning complete-game with seven strikeouts as Bucknell beat Navy, 2-1, on Sunday.
Patriot League Notebook
Lafayette, Navy Continue to Surprise at the Top
Lafayette and Navy each split their weekend series, and it was enough to move the two teams into a tie for first place in the Patriot League along with Army at 7-5. That certainly wasn't expected in the preseason, as the Mids and Leopards finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the poll conducted by coaches and sports information directors after missing the Patriot League Tournament a year ago. Each team has already matched last year's Patriot League win total, and they are the only two teams that have yet to lose a Patriot League series this year. Lafayette is two wins away from last year's overall total of 15, while Navy has already secured its sixth 20-win season in as many years for Head Coach Paul Kostacopoulos.
Army in Familiar Territory, But One Streak Does Come to an End
While the teams joining them in a tie at the top of the Patriot League standings are a surprise, preseason favorite Army is right back in a customary position in first place. The Black Knights are trying to win at least a share of the regular-season Patriot League title for the fourth straight year. Army did have an amazing run come to an end over the weekend, as the Black Knights saw their streak of 11 straight regular-season Patriot League series won or tied snapped when they lost three of four at Lehigh. Army had not lost a Patriot League series in the regular season since Bucknell beat the Black Knights in three of four to start the 2009 campaign.
Two School Home Run Records Go Down
Army's Clint Moore and Holy Cross' Nick Ciardiello each set their school's career home run record over the weekend. Moore blasted his 29th career long ball against Lehigh, which not only set the West Point record but also moved the senior shortstop into sole possession of third place in Patriot League history. Moore, the all-time Patriot League leader with 160 RBIs, also cracked the top 10 in hits during the week and moved up to fourth place in career doubles. Meanwhile, Nick Ciardiello became the all-time leader at Holy Cross when he hit his 22nd career home run on Sunday, and cracked the Patriot League top 10 with his 23rd long ball on Monday. Ciardiello won Patriot League Player of the Week honors with four home runs in five games for the Crusaders.
Lafayette's Miller Among National Leaders
There will probably be another school home run record eclipsed this year, and the way A.J. Miller is going the Lafayette mark will not stand much longer. Miller belted two home runs in the weekend series against Holy Cross, giving him 11 for the year and 21 for his career to come within one of Bob Osipower `00 for the Lafayette record in each category. And that's not the only mark the senior catcher is leaving this season. Miller leads the Patriot League in batting average (.439), on-base percentage (.525) and slugging percentage (.833), and stands among the top 15 nationally in each category with the slugging percentage second in all of Division I. Miller's 11 home runs are tied for 10th in the country, and he rounds out the remarkable numbers by placing in the top 50 in RBIs.
Shribman Proving 2010 Not a Fluke
You can't begin the talk about home runs in the Patriot League without first discussing Bucknell senior Doug Shribman, who left both the school and Patriot League career marks in his dust long ago. Shribman hit another home run last week to push his career total to 39, nine more than any other Patriot Leaguer has ever recorded. Shribman's 12 home runs this year are tied for seventh nationally, and already match the sixth-best single-season mark in Patriot League history. Of course, Shribman has a ways to go to set the Patriot League single-season home run record after he set an extraordinary standard with 21 long balls last season. He is also up to a tie for sixth in League annals with 138 career RBIs.
The six Patriot League squads hold a combined 49-29 record on their own turf. Navy (12-6), Holy Cross (7-2), Lehigh (13-7) and Army (8-5) each have strong home records, while Lafayette and Bucknell are each at .500. Lafayette and Lehigh are in the midst of homestands that end before the final Patriot League weekend, while Holy Cross will get to enjoy lovely Worcester for the rest of the year as it begins a 12-game homestand on Wednesday that runs through the end of the regular season.
Army For the first time since 2009, Army lost a Patriot League series as Lehigh took three of four games from the Black Knights in Bethlehem...After losing the first three contests by a combined four runs, Army put together a 12-9 victory in Monday's series finale...Steve May hit a grand slam to get the Black Knights
going, completing a weekend where he batted 8-for-15 with six RBIs and four runs scored...Gunnar Caroll earned his first-career win by allowing two earned runs in four innings of work out of the bullpen...Clint Moore became Army's all-time home run leader with his 29th career long ball over the weekend, which also moved him to sole possession of third place in Patriot League history...The Black Knights try to get back on track when they return to the Lehigh Valley to play Lafayette over the weekend.
Bucknell The Bison pulled out a split of a four-game series at Navy, opening the weekend by winning a pitcher's duel and closing it with a victory in a slugfest...Ryan Ebner threw a seven-inning complete game with seven strikeouts as the Bison beat Navy, 2-1, in the series opener on Sunday...It was his first complete
game, and fifth time in the last six outings that Ebner went seven innings or more and allowed two or fewer runs...He has a 5-1 record, and has earned eight of Bucknell's last 19 wins dating back to the 2010 Patriot League Tournament...The Bison have won his last seven starts...Travis Clark went 8-for-10 in Monday's doubelheader, with three runs and two RBIs in a 15-7 win in the nightcap...Freshman catcher Justin Meier had two runs and three RBIs in the game...The Bison complete their road slate in the Patriot League with a visit to Lehigh this weekend.
Holy Cross Senior outfielder Nick Ciardiello became the school's all-time home run leader, belting four in five games last week to boost his career total to 23...Ciardiello broke the record on Sunday, when he hit his 22nd career home run in the second game of a doubleheader at Lafayette...He homered in both the 6-5 win in the opener and 10-6 loss in the nightcap, and hit another in Holy Cross' 14-10 series finale win to split the four-game set with the Leopards...Ciardiello is batting .333 with seven home runs this year...The Crusaders have already completed their road schedule, as they play all 12 remaining games in Worcester...That includes a series with Navy this weekend and Lehigh to complete the League schedule on April 30-May 1.
Lafayette Lafayette continued its strong turnaround from last season by splitting its four-game series with Holy Cross over the weekend...The Leopards have already matched last year's total with seven Patriot League victories, and are just two victories shy of their overall win total (15) from 2010...A.J. Miller also continued his amazing season by belting two more home runs over the weekend, running his season total to 11 and career mark to 21...He is within one of both the single-season and career home run marks at Lafayette, which are each held by Bob Osipower `00...Rob Froio recorded his 200th hit last week and is up to 205 for his career...He stands third in Lafayette history, just 11 off the school record of 216 held by Adam Rosenberg `04...Froio is also just seven hits away from the Patriot League career top 10...Kevin Casey had seven RBIs in Sunday's doubleheader, with the Leopards losing the opener 6-5 and winning the nightcap 10-6...Froio had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 7th inning as Lafayette scored in the final two frames to beat Holy Cross, 2-1, in Monday's opener...Lafayette plays its third straight Patriot League series at home when it welcomes Army over the weekend.
Lehigh After getting swept by Army the last two seasons, Lehigh nearly returned the favor by winning the first three games to claim the series from the Black Knights over the weekend in Bethlehem...Lehigh posted wins of 3-2 and 8-6 on Sunday and 7-6 on Monday, with Cory Kent coming on to pitch a scoreless inning to save each contest...Kent has seven saves this season, and is tied for third in League history with 17 in his career...Kevin Mihalik had a home run and four RBIs in the 8-6 win on Sunday, and went 6-for-15 with four runs scored over the weekend...Nick Cassell earned his first-career victory by going 5.1 innings in the 8-6 triumph...Lehigh took a series from Army for the first time since 2003, and became the first Patriot League team to win a set from the Black Knights since 2009...The Mountain Hawks play their last Patriot League home series when Bucknell visits this weekend.
Navy The Mids played Bucknell to a split in their first home series on the Patriot League schedule...After falling 2-1 in the opener on Sunday, the Mids took the nightcap 5-2 behind a two-run single from Nick Driscoll to take the lead for good and three scoreless innings from Wes Olson to pick up the save...Driscoll provided more heroics on Monday, notching a walk-off single in the bottom of the 8th as the Mids won the opener, 6-5...He also tallied three RBIs in a 15-7 loss in the series finale...The Mids have yet to lose a Patriot League series, a streak they will try to maintain when they visit Holy Cross on Easter weekend.