May 10, 2012
2012 Patriot League Baseball Tournament Central
2012 Patriot League Baseball Tournament Preview (5.10.12)
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The Patriot League Baseball Tournament begins Saturday with a pair of best-of-three-game semifinals hosted by No. 1 Army and No. 2 Holy Cross. Army (37-12, 18-2 Patriot League) will host fourth-seeded Lafayette (14-35-1, 7-13) at Doubleday Field in West Point, N.Y., while Holy Cross (30-20, 13-7) will entertain No. 3 seeded Navy (23-27, 9-11) at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.
The semifinal winners will meet the following weekend, May 19-20, for a best-of-three-game Patriot League Championship series at the higher seed. The entire Patriot League Baseball Tournament will be available to watch online on Patriot League All-Access.
Navy is the defending champion and will be looking for its seventh title. Army has won five championships and Lafayette has won once. Holy Cross is vying for its first title.
Army continues an impressive run of making the Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights are in the postseason for the sixth year in a row and have earned the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the field in each of those seasons. Lafayette enters the League Tournament for the third time in the past four years and Holy Cross is in for the fourth time in the last five years. Navy, the defending champion, returns for a second straight season.
Army won 18 Patriot League games in 2012, including a streak of 17 straight to start the season, falling one win shy of Navy's record 19 wins in 1995. The Mids went 19-5 that season when the League was comprised of seven teams. Army's winning percentage of .900 is a League record, as is the 17 consecutive League wins. No. 1 Army (37-12, 18-2 PL) vs. No. 4 Lafayette (14-35-1, 7-13 PL)
Doubleday Field, West Point, N.Y.
: Saturday, May 12, Noon Live Stats | Watch Live Game 2
: Saturday, May 12, 2:30 p.m. Live Stats | Watch Live Game 3
: Sunday, May 13, 1 p.m. Live Stats | Watch Live Series Record
: Army leads, 72-55-2.
Top-seeded Army enters the Patriot League Tournament with a semifinal contest against fourth-seeded Lafayette. Since the best-of-three-game format was introduced, Army is 9-7 in the tournament and 4-0 against Lafayette. The Leopards are 2-5 since the new tournament format was introduced. The Black Knights also swept the Leopards during the regular season, outscoring them 19-2 in a four-game series in April.
Army brings in the Patriot League's top record with 37 wins, including 18 in Patriot League play. The 37 wins are two shy of tying a Patriot League single-season record and the 18 League wins are the most by any team since the League turned to a 20-game League schedule in 1996.
The Black Knights are the League leaders in batting with a .290 team average and in pitching with a 3.15 ERA. The Patriot League Player of the Year, senior first baseman Kevin McKague, led Army offensively with a League-best .385 batting average. He's driven in 41 runs and scored 32. He has 14 doubles, pushing his career total to 53, which ranks second on the League's all-time list. McKague holds the League career record for hits with 275 and he's second in RBIs with 179.
Army freshman Harold Earls, the Rookie of the Year, is batting .348 during the regular season, which ranked fourth in the League. He's driven in 19 runs and scored 24. Zach Price, a senior second baseman, also ranks in the top 10 in hitting with a .323 average. He leads the League in runs scored with 44.
Army's pitching has been even better, posting a League-best ERA of 3.15. All four starters ranked in the League's top 10 in ERA with Patriot League Pitcher of the Year Chris Rowley going 10-0 with a League-best 1.26 ERA in 78⅔ innings. He's struck out 66 and walked 13. Alex Robinett, a freshman, ranks fourth with a 2.61 ERA and Nick Dignacco is seventh with a 3.26 ERA. Logan Lee, who threw the League's 11th no-hitter, ranks eighth with a 3.62 ERA. Robinett is 3-1 with 41 strikeouts and Dignacco is 7-2 with 51 strikeouts. Lee is 6-2 with 52 strikeouts. Relievers Gunnar Carroll (2.62 ERA, 6 saves), Manny Fernandez (2.05 ERA, 4-0) and McKague (1.46 ERA, 5 saves) have been strong, too.
Lafayette has struggled at times during the season, but the Leopards rallied when they needed to, winning three of four from Bucknell to qualify for the fourth seed in the tournament. Andrew Santomauro and Bobby Fargnoli have provided a lot of the offense for the Leopards, driving in a combined 45 runs and scoring 44 runs. Kevin Casey leads the team in average with a .330 mark in 31 games. He's tied for the team-lead in homers with three and he has 17 RBIs.
The Leopards' pitchers have combined for a 5.43 ERA. Alex Farina has a 2-2 record as a starter with a 3.27 ERA in five starts, while Toby Schwartz has a 3.49 ERA in five starts. Jeff Snell is the Leopards bullpen leader with six saves in 2012 and 19 in his career. He has a 3.53 ERA in 35.2 innings of work. No. 2 Holy Cross (30-20, 13-7 PL) vs. No. 3 Navy (23-27, 9-11 PL)
Fitton Field, Worcester, Mass.
: Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m. Live Stats | Watch Live Game 2
: Saturday, May 12, 5:30 p.m. Live Stats | Watch Live Game 3
: Sunday, May 13, 1 p.m. Live Stats | Watch Live Series Record
: Navy leads, 49-27
Second-seeded Holy Cross enters the Patriot League Tournament after its best League season since 1991. Holy Cross is looking for its first title and with the No. 2 seed, the Crusaders will host a semifinals best-of-three series against No. 3 Navy at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross won three of four from Navy in April en route to a 13-7 League season. The Crusaders, who tied a school record with 30 wins which was set in 1921, have been led by starting pitchers Nate Koneski and Tommy Marra. Koneski is third in the League with a 2.36 ERA over 61 innings, posting a 6-2 record. He leads the League with 71 strikeouts. Marra is 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 35 strikeouts. First-Team All-League reliever John Colella has appeared in 25 games with a 2.28 ERA and a 4-1 record. He has 10 saves, striking out 45 in his 47⅓ innings of work.
Offensively, the Crusaders had five players in the top 20 in batting, including junior outfielder Patrick Puentes, who boasts the League's third-best batting average at .357. He's driven in 20 runs and scored 27 runs. Jordan Enos is batting .313 with 21 RBIs, and Brandon Cipolla has 26 RBIs and 28 runs scored with a .308 average. Mike Ahmed leads the League in homers with seven, and he's driven in 24 runs and scored 38 with a .296 average.
During League play, Ahmed led the League with a .373 average and a .707 slugging percentage. Holy Cross was the top offensive team in League play with a .317 average, scoring 122 runs in 20 games. Army was the next best with a .284 average and 104 runs.
Alex Maldonado batted .303 playing in all 50 games for the Crusaders. He's driven in 22 and scored 37 runs. He's led the team with 14 stolen bases, and had 10 sacrifice hits.
Navy, the defending champion, started slow but rallied to win six of its final eight League games to earn the third seed. Navy has been led by a pair of Florida natives -- Alex Azor and Greg Dupell -- who have scored a combined 75 runs. Azor, who leads the team with a .340 batting average, has 21 RBIs and 37 runs scored. Dupell has been big all around, batting .331 with 44 RBIs, 38 runs scored, 14 doubles, six triples, five homers and 33 walks. Kash Manzelli also has provided some pop in the lineup, driving in 32 runs with a .288 average.
On the mound, Ben Nelson has been the leader with a 3-3 record in 11 starts. He has a 3.88 ERA in 69⅔ innings and he's third in the League with 59 strikeouts. A pair of younger starters, sophomore Preston Gainey and freshman Anthony Parenti, have been strong for the Mids, too. In seven starts, Parenti has a 2.91 ERA and a 3-2 record in 34 innings. Gainey has a 3.54 ERA and a 3-2 record in nine starts and 48.1 innings. Reliever Joel Rinehart has three saves and a 5-4 record in 17 appearances (33⅓ innings). Notes
: The 2012 Patriot League Baseball Tournament is a four-team event played over two weekends. The semifinals will be held on May 12-13, with No. 4 Lafayette at No. 1 Army and No. 3 Navy at No. 2 Holy Cross. The Patriot League Championship series will be played at the site of the higher seed on May 19-20. 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.