May 1, 2012
Patriot League Baseball Weekly Release (5.1.12)
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The last weekend delivered a great comeback by the Lafayette Leopards as they won three straight against Bucknell to lock up the final bid to the 2012 Patriot League Baseball Tournament.
Bucknell won the final game of the four-games series to even its League record with Lafayette at 7-13, but having lost three of four, the Bison lost the tie-breaker to the Leopards, who will be the fourth seed in the upcoming tournament.
Navy, which won a pair of games against Lehigh, locked up the No. 3 seed with a 9-11 League record.
No. 1-seeded Army (18-2) and No. 2-seeded Holy Cross (13-7) had secured their playoff bids the week prior, and they squared off in a series that meant nothing to the standings.
However, it meant a lot to Army as the Black Knights were 16-0 in League play heading into the weekend and they were looking to lock up the first perfect season in League history. But Holy Cross scored a pair of victories to earn a split with Army, which climbed into the nation’s top 30 poll for the first time in school history.
With the big weekend, Holy Cross nabbed a pair of weekly awards with Mike Ahmed being named the Patriot League Player of the Week and Nate Koneski being named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week.
Ahmed batted .304 for the week with five runs scored, four RBIs, two doubles and two homers, while Koneski pitched a complete-game shutout to open Sunday’s doubleheader with Army.
Lafayette freshman pitcher Toby Schwartz, who in his first League start earned the victory that clinched the Leopards’ playoff berth, was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week.
Army will host Lafayette and Holy Cross will entertain Navy in a pair of best-of-three series in the Patriot League semifinals on May 12 and 13. The two series will feature a doubleheader on May 12, and if a third game is needed, it will be played on May 13.
For complete coverage, go to the Patriot League Championship page on www.patriotleague.org.
The entire Patriot League Baseball Tournament will be available to watch online on Patriot League All-Access.
Patriot League Notebook
HOLY CROSS ENDS ARMY’S UNDEFEATED RUN, SPLITS FOUR-GAME SET
Army extended its Patriot League single-season winning streak to 17 games, but Holy Cross ended it and kept the Black Knights from tying a Patriot League record for League wins. Navy had won 19 games in 1995, but Holy Cross won a pair of games to hold Army to an 18-2 record. Holy Cross finished with a 13-7 League record, the Crusaders’ most wins since 2009 and their best winning percentage (.650) since 1991 when they went 11-4 (.733).
Army junior pitcher Chris Rowley improved to 10-0 on the season with his fifth Patriot League win, tossing a fifth straight complete game in League action in a 4-2 win over Holy Cross on Saturday. The two runs allowed were the first two runs Rowley allowed in League play. His ERA stands at a League-best 1.10, and that ranks No. 2 in the nation, and his 10 wins are No. 1 in NCAA baseball.
Harold Earls had a pair of hits and scored two runs in the game. Holy Cross’ Stephen Wadsworth drove in a pair of runs in the first inning, but Army plated two runs in the third and another two in the top of the seventh to win the game.
Holy Cross scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth of the second game of the doubleheader to walk away with a 6-3 win over Army, the Black Knights’ first League loss of the season. Mike Ahmed drove in a run and scored a pair, while Alex Maldonado had three hits. Wadsworth, Jordan Enos, Steven Tkowski and Andrew Barry each drove in runs. Ahmed collected the win with a scoreless eighth inning of relief, and John Colella collected his 10th save of the season and 19th of his career.
On Sunday, Holy Cross pitcher Nate Koneski outdueled last week’s Pitcher of the Week Logan Lee, tossing seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 complete game victory over Army. Koneski struck out seven, limiting the Black Knights to two hits and a walk. Brandon Cipolla provided the pop offensively, hitting a three-run homer in the fourth to give Holy Cross the 3-0 lead. Ahmed, who went 3-for-4, drove in a pair of runs in the sixth.
Army bounced back in the series finale to win 4-3 despite being outhit 10-4. Nick Dignacco pitched 5⅔ innings, holding Holy Cross to two runs — one earned — on eight hits and a walk. Gunnar Carroll recorded his fifth save of the season, pitching the final 3⅓ innings.
LAFAYETTE RALLIES WITH 3 WINS TO CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
Lafayette needed to win three games to have a chance at the playoffs and the Leopards did it right away, taking the first three games of their four-game series with Bucknell, eliminating the Bison. Bucknell won the final game to avoid the sweep.
In the series opener, John Gentile pitched strong through six innings, but after recording two outs in the seventh, the Leopards were holding onto a slim 3-2 lead with two runners on. Gentile, who gave up a run in the seventh, was pulled for closer Jeff Snell, who came in to record the final out, posting his sixth save of the season and 17th of his career. Andrew Santomauro led the Leopards offensively, going 3-for-3 with a run scored.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Lafayette used a four-run sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead that Sean McGrath closed out with his 1⅓ innings of relief, retiring all four batters he faced. Scott Kelleher’s two-run triple in the sixth fueled the win.
Kelleher had another pair of RBIs in the doubleheader opener on Sunday to help the Leopards win 6-2 and clinch the final playoff spot. Freshman pitcher Toby Schwartz, making his first Patriot League start, went 5⅓ innings, holding Bucknell to two runs on six hits and three walks. Brad Hopek also drove in three runs with a homer.
NAVY CLINCHES THIRD SEED TAKING TWO FROM LEHIGH
The Mids are back in the tournament after a rough start to the League season. Navy closed out the season winning six of its last eight League games to earn the No. 3 seed.
Navy needed to win just one game to get into the playoffs, and that one win eluded them until Sunday. Lehigh won 4-1 and 3-2 in a pair of games on Saturday to put the Mids on edge heading into Sunday, where they won 5-1 in the opener to clinch. Navy added a 2-1 win in the series finale to finish the year at 9-11 overall in the League.
Lehigh’s Cory Kent led the way on Saturday, pitching a complete game, holding Navy to one unearned run on four hits and two walks in seven innings. Kent lowered his ERA to 1.88, which ranks second in the Patriot League.
He also impacted the second game on Saturday, coming in to record his fifth save of the season and 23rd of his career with a perfect ninth. Lehigh’s Dan Ciccone and Thomas O’Malley combined to hold the Mids to two runs on nine hits and five walks over eight innings. Connor Faust had a pair of hits and RBIs, and Brandon Sady was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Ben Nelson came out and pitched a complete game in Sunday’s opener to clinch the playoffs for the Mids. He held Lehigh to one run on six hits. He struck out seven batters to move into Navy’s top 10 in strikeouts with 176. Kash Manzelli drove in two runs for Navy, while Alex Azor and Nikolai Simonsen each had two hits and a run scored.
In the final game, Chris Cannon singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh, plating Dave Milanes who singled to lead off the inning.
Anthony Parenti held Lehigh to one run on three hits and five walks in the first five innings, and Stephen Moore and Brad Borosak combined to pitch four hitless innings of relief.
MCKAGUE, PRICE SETTING NEW LEAGUE RECORDS
Army senior Kevin McKague has moved near the top of several Patriot League all-time record lists. He added to his Patriot League all-time hits record with six more last week, pushing his total to 270. He moved to within 11 RBIs of tying Clint Moore (Army, 2008-11) for the top spot in RBIs at 185. He’s currently tied for the Patriot League record in saves, after posting his 27th in a 6-2 win over Navy on March 30. He tied former Army reliever Milan Dinga, who had 27 saves from 2004-07. He’s also tied for second in doubles with 52 and he’s five away from owning first place.
Army senior Zach Price also has etched his named into the League record book with his 122 career walks, pushing him into No. 1 all-time. He also moved into the top 10 in hits with 228.
ROWLEY, ARMY DEFENSE AMONG NCAA BEST
Army junior starter Chris Rowley is among the nation’s best after 11 starts this season. He ranks second in the nation in ERA (1.10, 73⅔ innings). He’s No. 1 in the nation in wins (10) and winning percentage (1.000). He’s tied for fourth in complete games with six.
Army is ranked 36th in the nation in team ERA at 3.20 and 27th in fielding percentage at .975. Army is ranked 28th in hits allowed per nine innings at 8.09.
HOLY CROSS POSTS BEST RECORD SINCE 1991
Holy Cross posted its best Patriot League (13-7) record under fifth-year head coach Greg DiCenzo. The Crusaders finished the season with a program-best 13 Patriot League wins. Their winning percentage of .650 is the school’s best since the 1991 season when the Crusaders went 11-4 (.733). The Crusaders locked up the No. 2 seed in the tournament two weeks ago and ended the League season with a pair of wins against Army, which was ranked No. 30 in the nation and undefeated in League play heading into the weekend.
DiCenzo, who picked up his 100th career win earlier in the season, is 54-44 all-time in Patriot League play. DiCenzo will lead the Crusaders in the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons after making three straight appearances from 2008-10.
In 2010, the Crusaders beat Lehigh in the semifinals to earn a trip to the championship series, where Bucknell won two of three games to win the title.
PRICE NAMED LOWE’S SENIOR C.L.A.S.S. FINALIST
Army senior infielder Zach Price has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, it was announced by the organization on April 25.
Price is the first Army baseball player to become a finalist for the award, which annually honors a senior student-athlete with notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Army fans are encouraged to vote for Zach on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through June 11. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. Fans are allowed to vote once per day.
Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner during the 2012 NCAA College World Series, which will be held June 15-26 in Omaha, Neb. Price has excelled in all four areas since arriving at West Point. A two-time All-Patriot League selection, Price currently ranks among Army’s all-time top 10 in runs scored (third with 163), base hits (fifth with 223) and stolen bases (tied for sixth with 48).
A native of Cantonment, Fla., Price was named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America District I second team each of the past two seasons. The Black Knights’ starting second baseman and leadoff hitter maintains a 3.732 cumulative grade point average as a Systems Engineering major.
He was named to the inaugural Academic All-Patriot League Team following his junior campaign last spring, and his name has been included on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll each of his first three seasons at the Academy. Price has also been placed on the Dean’s List in each of his seven semesters at West Point.
Patriot League Baseball Weekly Awards
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MIKE AHMED, HOLY CROSS So., 3B/P, East Longmeadow, Mass.
Ahmed batted .304 (7-for-23) in six games with five runs scored, four RBIs, two doubles, two home runs, two walks and a stolen base. Ahmed had six of his seven hits in the Crusaders’ four-game series against Army, including a 3-for-4 performance where he drove in a pair of runs in a 5-0 win. He also hit a home run and scored twice in Holy Cross’ 6-3 win over Army on Saturday which ended the Black Knights’ 16-game Patriot League winning streak. He also pitched a scoreless inning in the game, earning the win on the mound. This is his first weekly award.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
NATE KONESKI, HOLY CROSS Sr., P, North Dighton, Mass.
Koneski blanked No. 30 Army, pitching a complete game and limiting the Black Knights to two hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out seven in the win, improving to 6-2 on the season with the League’s third-best ERA of 2.44. This is his first weekly award.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
TOBY SCHWARTZ, LAFAYETTE Fr., P, Ramsey, N.J.
Schwartz helped the Leopards clinch the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, limiting the Bison to two runs on six hits and three walks in his first Patriot League start. He struck out four in the 6-2 win that eliminated the Bison from the playoffs. He also pitched two scoreless innings of relief in a win over Long Island earlier in the week.
KEVIN McKAGUE, ARMY Sr., INF, Fayetteville, N.C.
McKague batted .316 (6-for-19) in five games last week, driving in a run and scoring a pair. He also doubled on Saturday to set the new Army record for doubles with 52, which ties him for second place all-time in the Patriot League.
CHRIS ROWLEY, ARMY Jr., P, Duluth, Ga.
Rowley pitched seven strong innings in a 4-2 win over Holy Cross, striking out 10. He held the Crusaders to two runs on three hits and three walks. Rowley sits atop the Patriot League in pitching at 10-0 with a 1.10 ERA.
RUSSELL SEIDELL, BUCKNELL Sr., P, Granville, Ohio
Seidell pitched in a pair of games for the Bison last week, recording the save with his 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against St. Bonaventure and posting the win with his six innings of work in a 10-4 win over Lafayette. He held Lafayette to three runs — all unearned — on two hits and a walk, and he struck out three.
BRIAN DAVILA, LAFAYETTE Sr., SS, Ellicott City, Md.
Davila batted .625 (10-for-16) on the week, driving in four runs and scoring three times in five games last week. The majority of his offense came in a 5-for-5 performance against Long Island.
CORY KENT, LEHIGH Sr., P, Wilson, Pa.
Kent pitched in a pair of games, lowering his League’s second-best ERA to 1.88. He moved to 4-3 on the season with a 4-1 win over Navy on Saturday, holding the Mids to one run on four hits and two walks over seven innings. In the second game of the doubleheader, he came out and recorded the 23rd save of his career with a perfect ninth inning.
BEN NELSON, NAVY Jr., P, Winter Springs, Fla.
Nelson pitched Navy to a 5-1 win over Lehigh, limiting the Mountain Hawks to one run on six hits over seven innings. He struck out seven in the win, moving into 10th place on Navy’s all-time strikeout list with 176.