NEC Player of the Week
RYAN KRESKY, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
Sr., SS, L/R, 6-1, 180 lbs., Freehold, NJ/Freehold Boro
Kresky carried Fairleigh Dickinson to another Northeast Conference series victory, one that moved Gary Puccio’s young team into third place in the league standings. The senior shortstop led the entire NEC in batting average last week (.625), standing more than 150 points better than the second-place occupant. Kresky logged a single in the Knights’ mid-week tussle with Stony Brook before exploding in NEC play over the weekend. There was little the veteran infielder didn’t do well during the Knights’ series victory over Wagner. Kresky laced nine hits in 13 official at-bats (.692) against the Seahawks. Helping FDU surpass both its overall and NEC win totals from the 2011 season, the shortstop provided some power as well. He slugged 1.077 over the four-game NEC series as he stroked two doubles and also belted his fourth home run of the season. Kresky drove in five runs and scored another four while wreaking havoc on the base paths. The Garden State product, who was 3-for-3 in steal attempts in five games last week, used his base-stealing ability to affect the outcome of FDU’s 12-inning tussle with Wagner in what was the series finale. With two outs and no one on in the 12th frame of a 3-3 ballgame, Kresky took it upon himself to engineer a game-winning rally. After pulling a base hit into right field, he moved into scoring position by successfully swiping second base and eventually scored on Kyle Weeks’ walk-off hit up the middle. Kresky put FDU on the scoreboard in the first inning of Game 3 by yanking a solo shot over the right-field fence. He logged three hits against Wagner ace Ryan Van Spronsen in the series-opening setback before recording a hit, walk, and run scored in FDU’s Game 2 triumph. Not to be overlooked is Kresky’s performance in the field. The sure-handed shortstop was error-free in all five of his starts last week. He recorded a total of nine putouts and 22 assists.
NEC Pitcher of the Week
CRAIG SCHLITTER, BRYANT
So., RHP, 6-0, 190 lbs., Guilford, CT/Guilford
Schlitter came as close to perfection as one can come without actually attaining it. Taking the ball for Game 2 of Bryant’s four-game NEC set with Central Connecticut, the right-handed hurler one-hit the Blue Devils while pitching Bryant to a 3-0 shutout victory. After all-NEC outfielder Jake Matuszak opened the game by tripling to right-centerfield, Schlitter slammed the door shut on Central Connecticut. Bryant’s sophomore righty recorded 21 outs in a row, five of which came via strikeout, to notch his second NEC win of the season. With Matuszak standing at third base in the first inning, Schlitter fanned all-NEC third baseman Mitch Wells. Next, he induced a ground ball from JP Sportman and watched his third baseman cut down Matuszak at home plate. The final line on Schlitter read: 7.0 innings, no runs, one hit, five strikeouts, and no bases on balls.
NEC Rookie of the Week
JOE BORELLI, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
Fr., RHP, 6-0, 170 lbs., Wallingford, CT/Sheehan
Borelli threw his second consecutive complete-game shutout in Northeast Conference play when he one-hit Wagner in Game 2 of a four-game set. The rookie right-hander overcame some control problems to deliver a 4-0 victory for the Knights, who have already surpassed last year’s total of nine NEC victories. Borelli allowed a total of seven base runners over 7.0 scoreless innings, but never found himself in a heap of trouble. He worked around lead-off walks in the first, fourth, and sixth innings, and faced his only real threat in the fourth frame. After Wagner’s Eddie Brown led off the fourth with a walk and Nick Dini followed by singling, Borelli bore down and retired the next three batters in order. Pitching himself to his second straight NEC Rookie of the Week honor, Borelli allowed no runs, one hit, and five bases on balls in 7.0 innings. He plunked one batter and struck out three.
Northeast Conference Notebook
Bryant’s Bulldog on the Mound
Bryant’s Peter Kelich (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) continues to pile up wins. The junior right-hander threw 8.0 strong innings to earn the victory in the Bulldogs’ series opener against Central Connecticut and became the program’s fifth hurler to win 20 games in the process. The 10-2 win over CCSU on April 5 moved Kelich’s career record on the mound to a remarkable 20-6. Kelich, who is 5-2 overall with a 1.95 ERA this season, has been the winning pitcher of record in all three of his NEC starts in 2012. The Garden State product, who has struck out 48 batters in 55.1 innings, has won over 80 percent of his starts (14-3) in conference play since cracking Bryant’s weekend rotation as a rookie in 2010. Kelich went 9-1 overall (6-1 NEC) during his freshman year and followed with a 6-3 record (5-2 NEC) as a sophomore.
Bryant’s Staff Superb vs. CCSU
The old adage says something to the effect that “pitching wins baseball games.” There was plenty of evidence supporting that claim during Bryant’s four-game NEC sweep of Central Connecticut. The Bulldogs staff pitched to a 1.41 earned-run average during the series, surrendering only six runs, five of which were earned, over 32.0 innings of work. Bryant, which was led by Peter Kelich’s (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) 20th win and a one-hitter by Craig Schlitter (Guildford, CT/Guildford), allowed only 21 hits during the four-game series and posted a 22-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Fairleigh Dickinson Continues Ascension
They were tabbed to finish last in the NEC preseason coaches’ poll, but Gary Puccio’s Knights are right in the thick of the race for first place midway through the conference schedule. Fairleigh Dickinson took three out of four games from Wagner this past weekend to notch its third consecutive NEC series victory in a row. It is something that hasn’t happened in Hackensack since 2004. With a 10-6 NEC mark, FDU sits third in the league standings, one spot ahead of defending champion Sacred Heart (7-5). If the NEC Tournament was to begin today, the Knights would actually hold the No. 2 seed being that Bryant is still completing the NCAA-mandated reclassification period and is ineligible for postseason play. Regardless of where they wind up, the Knights have already surpassed their 2011 win totals both overall and in league-only play. At 14-14-1 overall and 10-6 in the NEC, FDU has eclipsed the 12 overall victories and nine conference triumphs it managed all of last season, which was Puccio’s first with the club.
Eliasen’s Iron Man Performance Clinches Series Win
After his team won two of the first three games in its weekend-long four-game set with Wagner, Fairleigh Dickinson skipper Gary Puccio handed the ball to senior Mike Eliasen (Swedesboro, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) with the hope that his veteran could nail down the series victory. It took Eliasen 12.0 innings to do so, but the right-handed hurler did just that. In the complete game of all complete games, Eliasen twirled all 12.0 frames of FDU’s dramatic 4-3 extra0inning triumph over Wagner on April 7. He fired a total of 139 pitches while scattering 12 hits and walking only one. All three runs he surrendered came in the fifth inning. The veteran workhorse is 5-1 overall and has earned the win in all four of his Game 4 NEC starts this season.
Monmouth’s Coaching Dean Reaches Milestone Marker
The meaning of the Hawks’ 7-2 win over Lafayette on April 3 runs deeper than the average mid-week non-conference contest. The win was Dean Ehehalt’s 500th as skipper of Jersey Shore-based Monmouth. In his 19th season in West Long Branch, Ehehalt, a three-time Northeast Conference Coach of the Year, earned his first win in a Monmouth uniform back on March 19, 1994 against Lynn University. An eight-time New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association Coach of the Year recipient, the Middletown native picked up his 500th victory as a head coach last May in a walk-off win over LIU Brooklyn. The Hawks' head man, who coached two years at Upsala before arriving at MU, has a career record of 521-473-2 throughout his 21-year career.
BRYANT BULLDOGS (17-13, 10-2 NEC)
? The Bulldogs swept their second conference series of the season, taking all four games against Central Connecticut. It is the first time the Bulldogs have swept the Blue Devils in their head-to-head meetings.
? Bryant held Central Connecticut to six runs on 21 hits (.184 average) over the weekend. Bryant leads the conference with a 2.32 ERA and the Bulldogs’ pitchers are holding teams to a .225 average.
? Sophomore RHP Craig Schlitter (Guilford, CT/Guilford) recorded his first career complete game shutout on Friday, limiting CCSU to just one hit. He retired the final 19 batters in a row and struck out five.
? Freshman INF John Mullen (Walpole, MA/Xaverian Brothers) clubbed a game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning in the series finale on April 7. He has hit safely in six straight games and leads the Bulldogs with a .361 average and five doubles against conference opponents.
? Junior RHP Peter Kelich (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) scattered seven hits over eight innings and struck out eight to earn the win in Thursday's series opener. He has now won 20 games in his career, becoming just the fifth player in program history to win 20 games.
? After starting the season 9-for-55 (.164), senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, CT/Norwich Free Academy) has hit .375 with 10 runs scored and five doubles over the last 11 games. His average has escalated to .241 and he is second on the team with seven doubles.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT BLUE DEVILS (15-14, 9-7 NEC)
? After winning seven straight conference games, the Blue Devils suffered a four-game series sweep at the hand of Bryant as part of an 0-5 week. With the losses, Central is now 15-14 overall, and 9-7 in league play, heading into a weekend series at home vs. Monmouth.
? The Blue Devils are 9-2 at home this season, 7-1 in league play.
? Freshman LHP Casey Brown (Wenonah, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) had another outstanding outing, despite finishing on the short end of a 3-2 decision on the road at Bryant on April 7. Brown allowed only one earned run in 7.1 innings, while yielding only two hits and posting six strikeouts. Brown walked a pair, but didn't allow an earned run until the eighth inning, when he left the game with a man on base and he eventually scored. Brown set down the side in order in the second, fourth and fifth innings. He faced four in the first (one reached on an error), four in the third (a single), and four in the seventh (walk). He dropped his ERA to 3.19 on the season. The outing was his second straight of at least seven innings, and in his last 14.1 innings he has allowed just six hits, one earned run and he has struck out 10.
? The Blue Devils struggled offensively last week, batting just .212 as a team and scoring 11 runs in five games. They had just five extra-base hits in 146 at-bats.
? Only six Blue Devils had an RBI on the week, and no one had more than one.
? Sophomore INF Dylan DelaCruz (East Lyme, CT/St. Bernard) may have snapped out of a slump to start the season, he was 5-of-16 with three runs scored.
? Senior OF Jake Matuszak (Berlin, CT/Avery Point) had a pair of triples on the week, and was the only Blue Devil with more than one extra-base hit.
FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON (14-14-1, 10-6 NEC)
? With series' wins over Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Wagner, FDU has won three straight NEC series for the first time since 2004.
? FDU surpassed last year's win total of 12 in its doubleheader sweep and last season's NEC win total of nine in its series-clinching win.
? After starting out 0-3 in NEC play, the Knights have won 10 of their last 13 in conference games.
? The Knights are starting to put together a nice home field advantage at the Naimoli Family Baseball Complex as they have won 9 of 14 home games (including one tie) and six of eight in NEC play.
? Senior co-captain Ryan Kresky (Freehold, NJ/Freehold Boro) hit safely in all five games last week as he hit .625 (10-for-16) with a home run, two doubles, five RBI, four runs scored, two walks, hit by pitch, a sacrifice fly and 3-for-3 in stolen bases. He recorded a perfect fielding percentage with nine putouts and 22 assists.
? Senior co-captain Mike Eliasen (Swedesboro, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) (5-1) was gritty on the mound as he pitched all 12 innings to pick up his third complete game of the season. The righty allowed three earned runs, which all occurred in the fifth inning, scattered 12 hits, walked one, struck out six and hit two batters, while throwing 139 pitches. He has won all four of his game four series starts for the Knights in NEC play, with the last three giving FDU series wins.
? Freshman Joe Borelli (Wallingford, CT/Sheehan) (2-0) put together his second consecutive complete-game shutout in Game 2 of the four-game set. The righty allowed only a fourth-inning single as he walked five and struck out three. In his first two career starts, both in the NEC, he has posted two complete-game shutouts in 14.0 innings of work.
? Skipper Gary Puccio on FDU’s Doubleheader sweep on Apr. 6: “After yesterday’s loss, coming back to take both games today, especially with two freshman pitchers starting, says a lot about our tenacity. We continue to show great signs of growing as a team. Of course having (Eric) Anderson and (Ryan) Kresky homer doesn’t hurt either.”
? Awestruck Skipper after Series Finale: “All I can say is wow. Mike Eliasen is just a warrior and is incredible. We had to step up when we had to. Shane (Siebler) saved the day with his throw from right field, which allowed (Kyle) Weeks to come through with the game-winning hit. This was a very impressive come-from-behind win. It was only possible because of the man on the mound today.”
LIU BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS (13-19, 5-7 NEC)
? LIU Brooklyn split a four-game series at Mount St. Mary's. The Blackbirds took the first game by an 11-3 margin and won the first half of the doubleheader, 3-2. The Mount came back to close out the double dip with a 5-1 win and was victorious by a 9-5 margin in the series finale.
? Junior Chris Franzese (Howard Beach, NY/Molloy) threw his third complete game of the season in an 11-3 win at Mount St. Mary's in the first game of the series. In nine innings of work, he scattered five hits and three walks while striking out six to improve to 3-3.
? Catcher Tyler Jones (Stewartsville, NJ/Phillipsburg) batted .462 during the Blackbirds' four-game series at Mount St. Mary's. The senior went 6-for-13 with three doubles, four walks, five runs, an RBI and was hit by a pitch. Jones compiled a .611 on-base percentage while slugging .692. He went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI in the series opener, an 11-3 LIU win, before capping off the four-game set with a 2-for-4 effort that included a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
MONMOUTH HAWKS (18-12, 9-3 NEC)
? The Hawks registered a 5-0 week, downing Lafayette before sweeping away Quinnipiac in its NEC series. The Blue and White outscored its two opponents 35-11 over the five-game span.
? Monmouth head coach Dean Ehehalt captured his 500th victory at Monmouth in the win over Lafayette. In his 19th season in West Long Branch, Ehehalt, a three-time Northeast Conference Coach of the Year, earned his first win in a Monmouth uniform back on March 19, 1994 against Lynn University. An eight-time New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association Coach of the Year recipient, the Middletown native picked up his 500th victory as a head coach last May in a walk-off win over LIU Brooklyn. The Hawks' head man, who coached two years at Upsala before arriving at MU, has a career record of 525-473-2 throughout his 21-year career.
? Junior RHP Pat Light (Matawan, NJ/CBA) continued his success against league opponents, picking up his third NEC victory. The righty recorded double-digit strikeouts for the third time this season, fanning 10 Bobcats without allowing a walk to earn his fifth win of the year.
? INF Jake Gronsky (Danville, PA/Danville Area) had a 10-game hitting streak snapped over the weekend. During his streak, which lasted from March 21 (UMass) to this past Friday (QU), the sophomore infielder went 16-for-40 (.400) at the plate with five extra-base hits, six RBIs, five runs and a .575 slugging percentage.
? INF Jon Guida (Martinsville, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) connected on his first career home run, a three-run shot, which proved to be the difference in the Hawks 4-1 victory over QU.
? The Monmouth pitching staff, which received compete game efforts from Andrew McGee (Toms River, NJ/TR South) and Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville), combined to post a 1.54 ERA over the five-game week. MU starters (Jonathan Shippee, Pat Light, Andrew McGee, Stephen Frey, and Dan Smith) combined to go 5-0 with two complete games. In those contests, the staff allowed eight runs, four of which were earned, good for a 1.05 ERA, while scattering 29 hits, with 26 punch-outs and only five free passes.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S MOUNTAINEERS (11-23, 4-12 NEC)
• Rookie RHP Scott Nickerson (Annapolis, MD/Broadneck) earned his first collegiate win in the Mount’s 5-1 victory in game two of the Friday doubleheader against LIU Brooklyn. Nickerson allowed an unearned run in the top of the first, but settled in from there to pick up the win. He allowed an unearned run and four hits in five innings of work with four strikeouts.
• Sophomore INF Jack Schwartz (Hagerstown, MD/Smithsburg) went 4-for-9 (.444) in three starts against LIU with two doubles and four RBI. Schwartz is now hitting .429 in 10 games played (9-for-21) on the year with three doubles and six RBI.
• Junior C Mark Quaranta (Virginia Beach, VA/Loyola Blakefield) and senior 1B Josh Winter (Timonium, MD/Boys’ Latin) hit back-to-back home runs to lift the Mount to a 5-1 win in the third game of the series. Quaranta hit .364 in the four-game set with five RBI. He leads the Mount with a .363 average, four home runs and 24 runs scored while he is second on the team with 24 RBI. Winter is hitting .320 on the year with three home runs and a team-best 30 RBI.
• The Mount started freshmen right-handers in each of the final three games of the series. Thomas Williams (Bowie, MD/Annapolis Area Christian) allowed two earned runs in a complete-game loss in the Mount’s 3-2 loss to LIU Brooklyn in game two. Nickerson allowed an unearned run in five innings to pick up his first career win in the Mount’s 5-1 victory. Chris Del Vecchio (Fallston, MD/St. Paul’s) started game four of the series.
• Senior LHP Dan Horner (Easton, MD/Easton) picked up a pair of saves in 3.1 innings of relief for the Mount in the series. He now leads the team with four saves this season.
• The Mount now embarks on a 17-game road trip, beginning with a non-conference matchup at Georgetown on Tuesday, April 10. The Mount downed the Hoyas, 10-9, on a Tom Healy two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth earlier this season.
• The Mount is 11-23 overall, but is 5-4 on the road this season. After starting NEC play off with an 0-10 record, the Mount is 4-2 over its past six NEC contests.
QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS (3-24, 2-14 NEC)
? For the week, senior co-captain Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, CT/Lyman Hall) batted a team-high .400 (6-for-15) with a RBI while also posting a .400 on-base percentage. In the first game of the Bobcats' four-game series against Monmouth, Nisson was 3-for-5 before following that performance with a 1-for-3 and 2-for-3 showing in a pair of seven-inning games on April 6, extending his team-leading hit streak to six games, which ended with an 0-for-4 day on April 7. For the year, Nisson is hitting a team-high .293 (29-99) with three doubles, seven RBI and eight runs scored, while striking out just four times this season. Behind the dish, he has committed just two errors in 134 chances for a .985 fielding percentage. Nisson has also thrown-out six runners through 27 games.
? Senior Matthew Siciliano (Ardmore, PA/St. Mary’s College of Maryland) worked 6.0 innings in relief on Saturday, April 7 against Monmouth, surrendering one unearned run on five hits while striking out two. For the year, Siciliano has allowed just five runs – four earned – on 14 hits while striking out 13 in 17 innings in relief while posting a 2.12 earned-run-average.
? Freshman Matthew Lorenzetti (Marlboro, NJ) pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief on April 5 against Monmouth, holding the Hawks scoreless on two hits while striking out three. Lorenzetti has allowed just one earned run in his last four appearances. In 2 2/3 innings of work against Northeast Conference competition, Lorenzetti has yet to allow an earned run while striking out four.
? Forrest Dwyer (Wakefield, RI/South Kingstown) batted .385 (5-13) against Monmouth this weekend, including a two-RBI double. Dwyer, a junior walk-on, had struggled early on, batting just .119 (7-59) over his first 19 games played. In his last eight, all against NEC competition, Dwyer is batting .423 (11-26) while ranking second on the roster in several categories, including runs batted in (4), doubles (1), slugging percentage (.462) and on-base percentage (.465).
SACRED HEART PIONEERS (10-19, 7-5 NEC)
? Sacred Heart took a break from conference play, going 1-3 with a 6-3 win over Yale at home on Tuesday and losing by scores of 9-7, 6-1, and 7-0 in three games at Kansas State.
? The Pioneers scored four times in the first inning against the Yale Bulldogs on the benefit of three bases loaded walks and an RBI double by SS John Murphy (Seymour, CT/Seymour).
? Rookie LHP Jeff Stoddard (Branford, CT/Branford) earned the save against Yale, closing the game with 3.1 shutout innings.
- In the first inning of the first game against the K-State Wildcats, SHU scored four runs behind RBI singles by Murphy and Dan Perez (Seymour, CT/Seymour). Kansas State responded with a seven-run first frame that was highlighted by a grand slam.
- Dan Perez went 7-for-14 (.500) at the plate last week.
- The Pioneers take on Manhattan on the road in non-conference play on April 10 before resuming NEC play against the current first-place Bryant.
WAGNER SEAHAWKS (12-21, 8-8 NEC)
? Wagner went 1-4 last week with three of the four losses coming by two runs or fewer. The Seahawks return to action this week with a non-conference game at Seton Hall and a four-game series with LIU Brooklyn.
• The Seahawks scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but stranded the would-be tying runner at third in a narrow 5-4 loss to St. John’s (Apr. 3) in non conference action.
• Senior Ryan Van Spronsen (Brantford, Ontario/Assumption College) then led the Green & White to a 3-1 game-one victory over FDU (Apr. 5) with his fourth complete game of the year. Van Spronsen struck out eight while yielding just one run on seven hits and a pair of walks over 9.0 dominating innings. The Canadian native has now hurled at least eight innings in five of his last six starts, including three of four during conference play. Additionally, he has allowed three runs or less in six of his seven starts. On the year, Van Spronsen is 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 57.0 innings.
• With his victory over the Knights, Van Spronsen improves to 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA over 28.0 career innings against FDU and has recorded 16 strikeouts, against just three walks, during that time. He also moved past Boston Red Sox reliever and 2006 graduate Andrew Bailey into seventh place in the all-time Wagner annals with 219.2 innings pitched.
• Freshman Nick Dini (Monroe Township, NJ/Monroe Township) hit safely in all five games on the week to extend his hitting streak to a team-best 13 games. He has also now batted safely in 18-of-19 since failing to record a hit at Georgia Tech (Mar. 13). In that time, his average has jumped 100 points to its current .296 clip.
• On the week, Dini batted .333 while sophomore Ian Miller (Downingtown, PA/Bishop Shanahan) hit a team-best .389 (7-for-18) with four stolen base. On the year, Miller leads the NEC with 17 stolen bases while senior Eddie Brown (Edison, NJ/St. Joseph’s (Metuchen)) is second with 14.