Baseball Set For Patriot League Tournament Showdown

Head Coach Greg DiCenzo

Overall Record: 23-23 (10-10 Patriot League) Last Week: 0-1

Massachusetts 12, Holy Cross 10, Amherst, Mass., 5/4

Schedule: Saturday, May 15, at Lehigh (Patriot League Tournament), Bethlehem, Pa., 12:00/3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 16 at Lehigh (Patriot League Tournament), Bethlehem, Pa., 3:00 p.m. (If necessary)

  • The Holy Cross baseball team concluded the 2010 regular season with an even 23-23 overall record after falling to Massachusetts 12-10 on Tuesday, May 4. The team also finished with 10 wins and 10 losses in Patriot League play. For the third straight season, the Crusaders hold the No. 3 seed in the 2010 Patriot League Tournament and will play the No. 2 seed, Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks have not made an appearance in the tournament since 2006 and earned the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage in the semifinals by winning three of four from Holy Cross on May 1-2. The Crusaders travel back the Bethlehem, Pa. to play in a best-of-three series beginning on Saturday, May 15 and if necessary, on Sunday, May 16. Saturday features a nine-inning doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. Sunday's game will begin at 3:00 p.m. if needed.
  • This will also be the third time head coach Greg DiCenzo has led his team to the conference tournament in his three-year tenure. DiCenzo currently holds a 66-78 overall record at the helm of the program while collecting 32 wins and 26 losses in Patriot League contests. He was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in his first season (2008) as his squad qualified for the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2001. Making the tournament has now become a regular occurrence, with the Crusaders marking a 2-4 record in postseason play under his guidance. This year's team looks to advance past the first round of tournament play and win the championship for the first time in the DiCenzo era and program history.
  • After Tuesday's regular season finale, this year's baseball team finished with 23 wins, the most wins since 1978. The 1978 team went 27-14-2 and was the last Holy Cross team to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders have combined for at least 20 wins for the third consecutive season, something that has not been achieved since the 1917-1919 teams did it. This year's team has also registered a program record-high of 1,581 at bats, 343 runs, 515 hits, 106 doubles, 41 home runs, 778 total bases and 317 RBI so far. The team is also batting a collective .326 and holds a .492 slugging percentage, which is on pace to become the highest batting average in Holy Cross history. On a national level, Holy Cross currently ranks 50th in batting average, 51st in hits, 44th in doubles and 30th in triples (17), all out of 292 teams ranked.
  • Senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.) raked in the awards this week after putting up career-best numbers this season. For the first time in his career, Sills was named the Patriot League Player of the Week after leading the team with three RBI and the first home run of the season against Massachusetts. Sills also stole one base and collected two singles against Massachusetts, bringing his season total to 54 hits and 11 stolen bases. He is batting a career-best .318 so far and has also recorded a career season-high with 30 RBI. He has also drawn 21 walks this year, and owns a .406 on-base percentage. Because of his top performances, as team captain and starting second baseman, Sills was also named one of three 2010 Hop Riopel Award recipients, the team's MVP honor. The awards were presented at the 55th annual Holy Cross Varsity Club dinner, held at the Hogan Campus Center on Saturday, May 8. Sills will also round out his Holy Cross career as the program's record holder in career assists and games played (160). With 113 assists this season, Sills holds the top spot 403 career assists. Sills has also stolen 29 bases in his career, currently holding the No. 4 spot in career stolen bases and needs two more to rank third. He also ties for sixth with 83 career RBI and eighth with 92 runs scored.
  • Two other players took home the Hop Riopel award; senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) and junior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.). Through 46 games played this season, Perry has etched his name on top of the Holy Cross career records books. So far, Perry has taken over the top spot in at-bats (580), runs scored (130), hits (210), doubles (51) and total bases (304). After last week's game, Perry is also tied for first with Sills in career games played (160) and is first in games started (153). He is also fifth in career home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (96). Perry also has a career-best 49 runs scored this season after scoring one run in the Massachusetts game. Perry is hitting .406 this year, leading the team for the second straight season. He has also collected a team-high 71 hits and is the team leader in runs scored.
  • Ciardiello, who has doubled his career numbers offensively this season, was also named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I first team for the second-consecutive season on May 6. A member of the 2008 and 2009 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and three-time Dean's List member, Ciardiello has made 43 starts in 45 appearances this season. Batting .388, he has totaled 64 hits, 56 runs batted in, marking a Holy Cross single-season record, 37 runs scored, 20 doubles, 10 home runs and one stolen base on the season. Totaling a team-best 114 bases, Ciardiello has a slugging percentage of .691 and with just two errors on the season, he has a .966 fielding percentage. Academically, he has a 3.52 grade point average and is majoring in Mathematics. He ranks within the top 50 players nationally and first amongst Patriot League standings in runs batted in.
  • Senior left-handed pitcher Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) was also awarded for his achievements on the team as he received the John P. Cooney Memorial Award, presented at the 55th annual Holy Cross Varsity Club dinner. The Cooney Award is presented each year to a senior letterwinner who has performed beyond all expectations with courage, loyalty and dedication. As a sophomore, Shapiro was named the 2008 Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, posting a 4-2 record with a 5.10 earned run average, three complete games and 33 strikeouts. The following October, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, and needed to undergo chemotherapy. During the 2009 season, Shapiro received his chemotherapy treatments on Mondays, and still managed to pitch for the Crusaders on the weekend. He finished the 2009 campaign with a 3-4 record, a 6.40 earned run average, two complete games and 41 strikeouts. With his cancer now in remission, Shapiro has posted a 4-2 mark this season, with a 5.36 earned run average, two complete games and 36 strikeouts. He currently owns an 11-8 record over the course of his collegiate career with a 5.74 earned run average, seven complete games and 113 strikeouts.
  • Two final baseball players were honored this week as freshman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) won the team's Ron Soucie award for Rookie of the Year. Senior Ryan George (Seekonk, Mass.) was honored with the team's Ray Dobens award, given to the most improved player. During the 2010 season, Wadsworth has played in 40 games for the Crusaders, starting 33 times. He currently owns a .341 batting average, to go along with a .468 slugging percentage and a .406 on-base percentage. Wadsworth has also totaled 21 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 34 runs batted in. Defensively, he has committed just four errors in 170 total chances, for a .976 fielding percentage. In Patriot League play, Wadsworth owns the second-highest batting average of .429, just below teammate Perry. He also ranks first in RBI (22) and third in hits (30).
  • After entering the 2010 season with a career earned run average of 6.94, George has been one of the team's top pitchers this season. He has posted a 3-4 record with a 3.13 earned run average, six saves and 41 strikeouts in 37-1/3 innings pitched. George has set a school single-season record with his six saves, while his 19 appearances are the fifth-most ever at Holy Cross in a single season. He is also the Holy Cross career-record holder with 13 saves, which also ranks in a tie for seventh amongst Patriot League All-Time Leaders. His six saves this season rank within the top 100 nationally as well.