Baseball Matches Up With Lehigh In Patriot League Tournament Saturday

Nate Koneski

Full Game Notes In PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
Patriot League Baseball Tournament (best-of-three series)
The Teams: No. 3 Holy Cross (23-23, 10-10 PL) vs. No. 2 Lehigh (22-25, 12-8 PL)

Date: May 15-16, 2010
Time: 12:00 p.m./3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 15
12:00 p.m. Sunday, May 16 (if necessary)
Place: Lehigh Baseball Field at Goodman Campus, Bethlehem, Pa.

Lehigh Internet Radio: Tom Fallon, Mark Markus; 

Overall: Lehigh leads, 36-35
Greg DiCenzo vs. Lehigh: 7-3
Sean Leary vs. Holy Cross: 30-28
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game

CRUSADERS MAKE THIRD CONSECUTIVE TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: The Holy Cross baseball team is making its third straight appearance in the Patriot League tournament and marking the fifth time in school history. The Crusaders are turning postseason play in to a habit as they look to advance to the championship round of the tournament for the first time ever this weekend. Third-seeded Holy Cross will travel to No. 2 Lehigh for a best-of-three series with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, May 15, beginning at 12:00 p.m. If necessary, a third game is scheduled for Sunday, May 16, starting at 12:00 p.m. Should Holy Cross win its series with Lehigh, it will face the winner of the Army-Bucknell series in a best-of-three series on May 22-23.The series would be played in Worcester, Mass., if the Crusaders face the No. 4 seed, Bucknell, or in West Point, N.Y., if Holy Cross plays top-seeded Army. Holy Cross has played as the No. 3 seed in all five of its Patriot League Tournament appearances.

THE DICENZO ERA: 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. DiCenzo has also had three players earn major awards by the Patriot League since his arrival. Senior Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) was named the 2008 Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) was named the 2009 Patriot league Player of the Year, while freshman catcher Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) was recently named the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Holy Cross has won at least one major Patriot League award in DiCenzo's three-year term while 12 players have been named to All-Patriot League squads at season's end.

TEAM TOGETHER: The Holy Cross baseball team concluded the 2010 regular season with an even 23-23 overall record and recorded 10 wins and 10 losses in Patriot League play. The team's 23 wins are the most wins by a Holy Cross baseball squad since 1978. The 1978 team went 27-14-2 and was the last Holy Cross team to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The current 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 average 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.

WADSWORTH NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:  Freshman catcher Stephen Wadsworth was named the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, as voted by the conference's head coaches. Wadsworth emerged during Patriot League action to help the Crusaders to a third straight tournament berth. He led all players with 22 RBI in league games and finished second in batting average at .429. His on-base percentage of .453 and slugging mark of .586 were each sixth in league action. Wadsworth's overall line was nearly as impressive, as he finished with a .341 batting average with 34 RBI and 21 runs scored while playing 40 games in his inaugural campaign in a Crusaders uniform. Wadsworth is Holy Cross' second Patriot League Rookie of the Year winner and first since Tyler Stampone in 2006. Wadsworth also won the team's Ron Soucie award for Rookie of the Year and earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors on April 26.

SIX CRUSADERS NAMED TO ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE SQUADS: Holy Cross' six league selections tied with Bucknell for the most number of players named to All-Patriot League teams as Army, Lehigh and Navy each notched four selections. The team also earned the most All-Patriot League nods in program history as senior Matt Perry, junior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) were named to the first team All-Patriot League and sophomores Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) and Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) along with junior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) and Stephen Wadsworth were named to the second team. Perry makes a repeat performance as the first team selection at third base and was a unanimous first team All-League choice. The five other players pick up their first career All-League honors.

PERRY ON TOP: Through 46 games played this season, Matt Perry has etched his name on top of the Holy Cross career records books. After the regular season, 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 fellow senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.) in career games played (160) and is first in games started (153). He is fifth in career home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (96). Perry also has a career-best 49 runs scored this season and is hitting .406 on the year, leading the team in batting average for the second straight season. He has also collected a team-high 71 hits and is the team leader in runs scored. The 2009 Patriot League Player of the Year led the way with a .486 batting average and .575 on-base percentage in Patriot League games. Along with his first team All-Patriot League honor, Perry was named one of three 2010 Hop Riopel Award recipients, the team's MVP award and collected Patriot League Player of the Week honors on April 12.

JUMPIN' JACK FLASH: The team's top leadoff man, Jack Laurendeau, who was named to the first team All-Patriot League as an outfielder, earns the honor for the first time in his career as he has a .386 batting average with seven home runs, 23 RBI, 44 runs scored and 17 steals for the season. His batting average ranks third on the team and fifth in Patriot League standings while his 17 stolen bases are a team and career-high, ranking second on the Holy Cross single-season records list. When Laurendeau bats first in the order, the team has recorded a 12-9 record, the best record for any leadoff man. Laurendeau is also on a 15-game hit streak, dating back to the April 14 game against Dartmouth. The 15-game streak is the most on the team this season and includes 10 multi-hit contests. In all, Laurendeau has had 22 multi-hit games this season and leads the team with four triples.

THE CIARDIELLO SHOW:  Nick Ciardiello, in his junior season, has emerged as one of the top offensive and most clutch hitters on the Holy Cross baseball team. A second team All-Patriot League selection, Ciardiello finishes the regular season batting .388, more than doubling his career average of .216. He has totaled 64 hits, 56 runs batted in, 37 runs scored, 20 doubles, 10 home runs and one stolen base on the season.  He has broken the Holy Cross single-season records for both doubles and runs batted in, while tying the single-season mark for home runs. Totaling a team-best 114 bases, Ciardiello has a slugging percentage of .691 and ranks within the top 50 players nationally and first amongst Patriot League standings in RBI. He has collected 17 multiple RBI outings and has established himself as the team's cleanup batter. He also earned team MVP honors and was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I first team for the second-consecutive season.

SILLS SHINES IN SENIOR YEAR: Two-time team captain, senior John Sills, has continually proved why he earned the title of team captain for a second consecutive year. Sills, who was the third and final recipient of the Hop Riopel Team MVP award, has put up career-best numbers this season and will leave with his name etched in the Holy Cross baseball career record books. For the first time in his career, Sills was named the Patriot League Player of the Week on May 10 after leading the team with three RBI and recording his first home run of the season in the regular season finale 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 through 46 games and has recorded a career season-high with 30 RBI. He has also drawn 21 walks this year and owns a .406 on-base percentage. 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 with 403 career assists. Sills has 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 is eighth with 92 runs scored.

THE NEW AND IMPROVED SIDE OF GEORGE: Senior tri-captain Ryan George (Seekonk, Mass.), who changed his jersey number at the beginning of the season from 26 to 21, has returned and thrived as the team's top closing pitcher this season. For his turnaround, George was honored with the team's Ray Dobens award, given to the most improved player. After entering the 2010 season with a career earned run average of 6.94, George has been one of the toughest pitchers to hit on the team 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.

STELLAR SOPHOMORES:  Out of the 25 total All-Patriot League selections, four sophomores appeared on the list, with two members coming from the Holy Cross baseball team. Sophomores Nate Koneski and Steve Tkowski proved the “sophomore slump” rumor wrong as they earned second team All-League honors at the end of two very influential second-year campaigns. Left-handed pitcher Koneski surfaced as the squad's top starter, finishing the regular season with a record of 5-2 and a 3.84 ERA. He led the squad with 42 strikeouts, tied for the most wins and pitched the most complete games (4). His number of strikeouts and complete games rank in a tie for fifth and third amongst Patriot League pitchers respectively. Tkowski was chosen as the second team All-Patriot League designated hitter, finishing the regular season with a .349 average, 39 RBI and 35 runs scored. He also ties teammate and second team outfield selection Ciardiello with 20 doubles, a Holy Cross single-season record and second in Patriot League single-season history. Although his batting average is just under his freshman year average of .385, his overall numbers have gone up substantially. Tkowski has started in all but one game this season, an improvement from 17 starts last year. He has scored 21 more runs, has 34 more hits, including 15 additional doubles and three home runs, and has advanced from 13 to 39 RBI this season. 

SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh completed the 2010 regular season with a 22-25 overall record, marking 12 wins and eight losses in Patriot League play. After being picked last in the preseason Patriot League standings, the Mountain Hawks finished second as head coach Sean Leary was named the league Coach of the Year. Lehigh won three of its five Patriot League series. The Mountain Hawks swept rival Lafayette to build a 6-2 record in League play and rebounded from a sweep at Army the next week to close out the season by taking three of four games from both Bucknell and Holy Cross. The Mountain Hawks needed to win the final regular-season series against the Crusaders to earn home field in a semifinal matchup, and took the first three games of the set to secure that advantage. Lehigh senior pitcher Andrew Berger earned first team All-League accolades and leads the league in complete games with six and ranks second in opponents' batting average (.234). He has thrown 52.2 innings and allowed only 22 earned runs, good for an ERA of 3.76.  Junior infielder Jim McConlogue and fellow junior utility player Kevin Mihalik, along with sophomore pitcher Cory Kent received second team All-League distinctions.