May 3, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League Baseball Tournament field was finalized on Sunday, and the semifinal matchups on the weekend of May 15-16 will present rematches of series on the final weekend as No. 4 Bucknell visits No. 1 Army and No. 3 Holy Cross is at No. 2 Lehigh.
Patriot League Baseball Release - 5.3.10
Player of the Week (April 26-May 2)
Justin Shepherd, Lafayette Sr., 3B, Los Angeles, Calif.
Lafayette came into the weekend needing three wins over Navy to have any chance at making the Patriot League Tournament, and Shepherd kept them in the hunt until the final day by delivering two home runs and five RBIs in Saturday's doubleheader sweep. He clubbed a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 7-5 win in the opener, and hit another two-run shot in a 10-8 victory in the nightcap. Shepherd also drove in two in the finale of the series, and scored at least one run in all five games he played last week. He batted .450 (9-for-20) with two home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored for the week, and hit over .500 (8-for-15) with all of those RBIs and all but one of the runs in the series against the Mids. Shepherd earns the Player of the Week award for the first time in his career.
Pitcher of the Week (April 26-May 2)
Dylan Seeley, Bucknell Jr., P, Shavertown, Pa.
With his team needing a victory for a spot in the Patriot League Tournament, Seeley delivered a two-hit complete-game shutout to lift the Bison into the field with a 1-0 win over Army in Sunday's opener. He did not walk a batter while striking out four in the seven-inning performance. It was Seeley's third consecutive complete game, and second shutout in that span. He has given up just one run in 21 innings in those three starts. It was the 21st two-hitter in Bucknell history, and first since 2008. Seeley earns the Pitcher of the Week honor for the second time.
Rookie of the Week (April 26-May 2)
Ken Jackson, Army Fr., P, Peachtree City, Ga.
In front of a crowd of more than 2,400 people, Jackson stepped up and did not allow an earned run in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen to help Army to a 4-3 win over Marist on Wednesday in the Hudson Valley Baseball Classic. He gave up an unearned run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts in the outing. Jackson earned his first collegiate victory with a season-long stint. He earns the Rookie of the Week award for the first time.
Honorable Mention Performances Last Week
Doug Shribman, Bucknell
Jr., 1B, Marblehead, Mass.
Shribman belted the decisive solo home run in Bucknell's 1-0 win over Army on Sunday that clinched a spot in the Patriot League Tournament.
Jack Laurendeau, Holy Cross
Jr., OF, Sudbury, Mass.
Laurendeau went 12-for-19 with eight runs, a home run, four RBIs and five steals in Holy Cross' five games last week.
Michael Speciale, Navy
Sr., OF, Pearland, Texas
Speciale went 11-for-22 with two home runs, four RBIs and six runs scored in Navy's five games last week.
Chris Simpkins, Army
Sr., P, Orange Park, Fla.
Simpkins allowed just two hits and no walks with six strikeouts in six scoreless innings out of the bullpen in Army's 5-3 win over Bucknell on Saturday.
Cory Kent, Lehigh
So., P, Wilson, Pa.
Kent tossed 3.1 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit to record saves in three Lehigh victories last week, including two against Holy Cross.
Patriot League Notebook
Patriot League Tournament Field Set
The Patriot League Baseball Tournament field was finalized on Sunday, and the semifinal matchups on the weekend of May 15-16 will present rematches of series on the final weekend as No. 4 Bucknell visits No. 1 Army and No. 3 Holy Cross is at No. 2 Lehigh. The Black Knights had already secured their place as the top overall seed in the field coming into the weekend, and were joined by Lehigh, Holy Cross and Bucknell. The Mountain Hawks and Crusaders each earned their berth on Saturday, while Lehigh clinched the No. 2 seed with a 5-2 win over Holy Cross in the opener of Sunday's doubleheader. Lehigh won three of four in the weekend series.
The final spot in the field was up for grabs entering Sunday's contest, with Bucknell needing a victory over Army to have a chance to clinch the spot. That win came in the opener, as junior Dylan Seeley threw a two-hit complete-game shutout and Doug Shribman homered in a 1-0 triumph. Army won the nightcap and took three of four games in the series. The semifinals are best-of-three matchups with a doubleheader on May 15 and a single game, if necessary, on May 16. The winners move on to the Patriot League Championship series at the site of the higher seed on May 22-23.
Outstanding Year in West Point
Army capped an outstanding regular season by winning three of four games from Bucknell over the weekend. The Black Knights earned their sixth regular-season crown since the Patriot League went to a one-division format in 1995, and third consecutive regular-season title. They clinched the outright title for the fifth time, adding to previous instances in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2008. Army's 16-4 Patriot League record and four-game advantage in the standings were each the best totals since Lafayette went 17-3 and won by four and a half games in 2007. The Black Knights are in the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth year in a row, and will enjoy home-field advantage at Doubleday Field where they are 14-3 this season. Army won every Patriot League series it played this year, taking three of four games four times and sweeping Lehigh.
Impressive Turnaround in Bethlehem
Picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, Lehigh finished off its best season since 2006 by winning three of four games against Holy Cross over the weekend to take the No. 2 seed in the League Tournament. The Mountain Hawks are in the postseason for the first time since winning the League title in 2006. Lehigh had only won a total of 13 League games in the past three years before going 12-8 this season. It has an 11-3 home record, and went 7-1 at home against League foes.
Three in a Row For Crusaders, Bison
Holy Cross and Bucknell have each advanced to the Patriot League Tournament for the third straight season. The Crusaders are the No. 3 seed for the third year in a row, and will look for their first Patriot League title. The Bison are the No. 4 seed for the second time in the past three years, which could be good news after winning the title from the No. 4 spot in 2008.
Brouse, Bucknell on Record-Setting Home Run Pace
Bucknell upped its total to 55 home runs on the season last weekend, just two away from Army's League record set last year. Andrew Brouse has matched a Patriot League single-season record with 14 home runs, tying the mark set by Bucknell's Frank Fresconi in 2000. Brouse is just one away from the Patriot League career mark of 28 held by Army's Cole White (2005-08) and Lehigh's Jesse Novalis (2001-04). Doug Shribman hit his 13th home run over the weekend, tied for third in a single season.
Batting into the Record Book
Brouse isn't the only player making a dent in the Patriot League career record book. Navy's Michael Speciale and Army's Clint Moore have entered the top 10 in League history in both home runs and RBIs, while Speciale is also second all-time in hits (238) and in the top ten in doubles (44). In addition to those marks and Brouse's home run prowess, Army's Matt Fouch is tied for ninth all-time with 20 victories and teammate Kevin McKague (second) and Holy Cross' Ryan George (seventh) are among the all-time saves leaders in the Patriot League. McKague's 12 saves this year are the top single-season mark in League annals.
Army Already having clinched the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament, Army locked up the outright Patriot League regular-season title by winning three of four games from Bucknell over the weekend. Since the Patriot League went to a one-division format in 1995, the Black Knights have captured outright regular-season titles in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2008 in addition to this year, and also shared the crown a year ago as they earned a third straight regular-season title. Army will look to defend its crown entirely at Doubleday Field, where it is 14-3 for the season and went 10-2 against Patriot League foes. The Black Knights won all of their Patriot League series, sweeping Lehigh and winning three of four from each of the other teams in the League. Army's 16 League wins are the most for a Patriot League team since Lafayette won 17 in 2007, and the four-game advantage over second place is also the most since that season. Army is into the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Black Knights will play at New York Tech on Wednesday before hosting No. 4 Bucknell in the Tournament semifinals on May 15-16.
Bucknell Needing a victory on the final day of the season to make the Patriot League Tournament, Doug Shribman homered and Dylan Seeley pitched a complete-game shutout to lift Bucknell over Army, 1-0, in Sunday's opener. The Bison clinched the No. 4 seed in the field and will be back to West Point to face the Black Knights in the Tournament semifinals on May 15-16. Bucknell won the identical matchup in 2008 on its way to the League Championship. Bucknell makes it to the Patriot League Tournament for the third year in a row. The Bison lost three of four in the weekend series to Army. Seeley tossed his third consecutive complete game, and has allowed just one run in those 21 innings. The Bison are off until returning to West Point for the semifinals.
Holy Cross The Crusaders advanced to the Patriot League Tournament for the third straight season, but were unable to lock up home field in the semifinal round as they dropped three of four games at Lehigh over the weekend. Holy Cross lost the first three games of the series. It earns the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the third year in a row, and will be back at No. 2 Lehigh for the semifinals on May 15-16. Holy Cross has lost in the semifinals in a three-game series in each of the past two seasons. The Crusaders play at Massachsuetts on Tuesday, their last action before the Tournament.
Lafayette The Leopards did all they could to earn a berth in the Patriot League Tournament by winning three of four games from Navy over the weekend. It would have been enough if Bucknell had been swept at Army, but the Bison managed a victory on Sunday to keep the Leopards home. Justin Shepherd had two home runs and five RBIs in Saturday's doubleheader sweep, including the game-winning shot in the bottom of the seventh inning of the 7-5 win in the opener. The Leopards close out their season by facing Rider and Niagara this week.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks made it into the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2006, and earned the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage in the semifinals by winning three of four from Holy Cross over the weekend. Lehigh took the first three games of the series, coming back from deficits for identical 4-3 wins in Saturday's doubleheader. Lehigh will now host Holy Cross again in the semifinal series on May 15-16. Cory Kent played a key role by saving two of the victories, tossing three scoreless innings with just one hit allowed on the weekend. Lehigh breaks until facing the Crusaders in the League Tournament.
Navy The Mids missed the Patriot League Tournament for the second year in a row after losing three of four games at Lafayette over the weekend. Michael Speciale had seven hits in the series, and will exit as Navy's all-time hits leader. He has 238 hits to date, second in League history to the 257 of Army's Milan Dinga. He is also up to 23 home runs, tied for sixth in League annals, and 44 doubles, tied for eighth. Each of the Mids' losses were by one or two runs before they exploded for a 20-5 win in the series finale. Navy will take on Delaware State on Wednesday and again on May 12 to wrap up the season.