Patriot League Baseball Tournament Semifinals Preview

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Lehigh's Justin Pacchioli
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Lehigh's Justin Pacchioli
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

May 8, 2014

Patriot League Baseball Semifinal Preview Get Acrobat Reader | Patriot League Baseball Tournament Central

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Patriot League Baseball Tournament begins this weekend as fourth-seed Navy heads to top-seed Bucknell and third-seed Lehigh is at second-seed Army in three-game semifinal series on Saturday and Sunday that will be shown live on Patriot League Network.

Patriot League Notebook

Patriot League Tournament
The 2014 Patriot League Baseball Tournament is a four-team event played over two weekends The semifinals will be held on May 10-11, with No. 4 Navy at No. 1 Bucknell and No. 3 Lehigh at No. 2 Army. The Patriot League Championship series will be played at the site of the higher seed on dates to be determined based on the matchup. Each series will be a best-of-three, with every contest going the full nine innings. The winner of the Patriot League Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. For more information, visit Patriot League Baseball Tournament Central

Three Teams Back in the Field
Army, Bucknell and Navy all return to the Patriot League Tournament, with the two-time defending champion Black Knights making their eighth appearance in a row. Bucknell is in for the second season in a row and sixth in the last seven years, and captures the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009. Navy makes the League Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The trio has combined for the last six League titles, with Army winning three (2009, 2012, 2013), Bucknell two (2008, 2010) and Navy one (2011). Lehigh is in the postseason for the first time since 2010 and will go for its first League title since 2006.

Semifinal Matchups
Both semifinal series are matchups that were played on the first weekend of the Patriot League schedule, though Lehigh did finish the final game of its series at Army on April 28. Bucknell used dominant pitching for a four-game sweep at home against Navy on March 29 and 31, with the Bison only allowing four total runs for the weekend and winning all three games in tight pitchers' duals. Army won the opener at home against Lehigh on March 29, the Mountain Hawks swept a doubleheader on March 31 and the Black Knights came away with a 9-7 win on April 28 that allowed them to share the regular-season title with Bucknell. Navy and Bucknell meet in the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2011, when the Mids won a semifinal series at home, while Lehigh and Army have not played in the postseason since Army swept the Mountain Hawks for the League title at West Point in 2005.

Pitching Makes the Difference
There were 12 shutouts in Patriot League play this season, and pitching was key for each of the tournament teams. Bucknell (2.29), Army (2.43), Navy (2.88) and Lehigh (3.51) each have sparkling team ERAs in League action, and boast starters that are particularly impressive. The four teams combine to field 10 starting pitchers with an ERA under 3.00, including four from Army and three from Bucknell.

Patriot League Baseball Tournament Semifinals

No. 4 Navy Midshipmen (23-26, 9-11 PL) at No. 1 Bucknell Bison (25-17-1, 15-5 PL)
Games 1 and 2: Saturday, 12 p.m. (DH)
Game 3 (If Necessary): Sunday, 12 p.m.

Fourth-seed Navy travels to top-seed Bucknell in a semifinal series of the Patriot League Baseball Tournament on Saturday and Sunday... Bucknell used dominant pitching for a four-game sweep at home against Navy on March 29 and 31, with the Bison only allowing four total runs for the weekend and winning all three games in tight pitchers' duals...Bucknell swept the opening day 2-1 and 4-1, and won the second day 1-0 and 5-2... Navy and Bucknell meet in the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2011, when the Mids won a semifinal series at home...The Bison have a 10-6 advantage against the Mids in the League Tournament, with the only other semifinal meeting coming when the Bison won a single-game 9-4 in 1997 when the event featured only three teams...Bucknell is in the tournament for the second season in a row and sixth in the last seven years, and captures the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009....Navy makes the League Tournament for the fourth year in a row...Both teams have lost their last two semifinal series, with the Bison falling on the road in 2011 and 2013 and the Mids losing the last two years.

Navy The Mids had the top individual award winners in the Patriot League in 2014 as first baseman Kash Manzelli was named Player of the Year and junior starter Anthony Parenti earned the Pitcher of the Year award...Both players earned first-team All-Patriot League honors along with shortstop Travis Blue and third baseman Drew Hayes, with outfielder Robert Currie on the second team...Parenti's 0.93 ERA is in the top five nationally and currently stands as the best single-season mark in Patriot League history...Currie leads the Patriot League in on-base percentage (.426), runs (38), hits (65), total bases (84) and steals (25) for the season while also standing second in batting average (.349).

Bucknell After earning its first share of a regular-season title since 2009, Bucknell led all schools with six All-Patriot League selections on Tuesday, including five on the first team...Starting pitcher Dan Weigel, catcher Jon Mayer, second baseman Joe Ogren, outfielder Anthony Gingerelli and designated hitter Corey Furman made the first team, with freshman outfielder Brett Smith on the second team...Smith was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year, while Scott Heather earned the Patriot League Coach of the Year award...Bucknell also led all schools with four Academic All-Patriot League honorees as Weigel, Ogren, Tom Hrabchak and Tucker Rekucki made the list... Weigel went 5-0 in Patriot League play and led all players with a 1.10 ERA, while Furman led in overall batting average (.388) and slugging percentage (.560) for the year.

No. 3 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (23-21, 10-10 PL) at No. 2 Army Black Knights (32-16, 15-5 PL)
Games 1 and 2: Saturday, 12 p.m. (DH)
Game 3 (If Necessary): Sunday, 1 p.m.

Army begins its quest for the first Patriot League three-peat since Fordham (1991-93) when it hosts a semifinal series against Lehigh at Doubleday Field at Johnson Stadium...The Black Knights are in the League Tournament for the eighth straight year, winning titles in 2009 and 2012-13 in that span...Army is hosting a semifinal series for sixth time in seven years after going on the road last season in both series...In regular-season meetings, Army won the opener at home against Lehigh on March 29, the Mountain Hawks swept a doubleheader on March 31 and the Black Knights came away with a 9-7 win on April 28 that allowed them to share the regular-season title with Bucknell...Lehigh is back in the tournament for the first time since 2010, and trying to advance for the first time since claiming its lone League title in 2006.... Lehigh and Army have only met in the postseason once, when Army swept the Mountain Hawks for the League title at West Point in 2005.

Lehigh The Mountain Hawks are in the postseason for the first time since 2010...Second baseman Mike Garzillo and outfielder Justin Pacchioli made the first-team All-Patriot League sqaud for Lehigh, with reliever Nick Cassell, catcher Tim McKay and first baseman Connor Faust on the second team...Garzillo and Faust were also Academic All-Patriot League honorees... Pacchioli led all players in Patriot League games with a .386 batting average, .482 on-base percentage, 27 hits and 11 steals.

Army Army is back in the Patriot League Tournament for the eighth year in a row after claiming at least a share of the regular-season title for the fifth time in seven seasons...Starting pitchers Gunnar Carroll and Nick Dignacco were first-team All-Patriot League selections, with shorstop Alex Jensen, third baseman Harold Earls, outfielder Jon Crucitti and designated hitter Mark McCants on the second team...Daniel Cortes and Connor Love were Academic All-Patriot League picks...All four of Army's starting pitchers had an ERA under 3.00 in Patriot League action, with Alex Robinett and Brock Davidson joining Carroll and Dignacco.