Crusaders Set To Open 2011 Season At LSU

Nate Koneski

Overall Record: 0-0 (0-0 PL) Last Week: 0-0
Schedule: Friday, Feb. 25 at No. 20 Louisiana State, Baton Rouge, La., 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 26 at No. 20 Louisiana State, Baton Rouge, La., 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 27 at No. 20 Louisiana State, Baton Rouge, La., 1:00 p.m.

  • The Holy Cross baseball team opens up the 2011 season with a three-game series against the 20th-ranked LSU Tigers. The Tigers are ranked 20th in the nation by Baseball America and opened up their season with a three-game sweep over Wake Forest. This will be the first time the two squads have met in Holy Cross program history and serves as the Crusaders' first trip to Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. LSU was picked to win the 2011 SEC Western Division title and features 16 returning lettermen from its 2010 squad and 18 newcomers that comprised the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.
  • The Crusaders were selected to finish third in the 2011 Patriot League preseason poll on Feb. 16. The Crusaders also garnered one first-place vote, as the third-place selection was a repeat of the 2009and 2010 preseason polls. The team finished third in the conference last season with a 26-26 overall record, going 10-10 in the Patriot League and making  it to the Patriot League Championship series season for the first time in school history
  • Holy Cross was selected to finish second in the league according to Baseball America. Sophomore pitcher John Colella (Herndon. Va.) was named as one of the top prospects coming out of the league by the publication as well. Playing for the New York Collegiate League's Elmira Pioneers this past summer, Colella posted an ERA of 0.00, mounting 13 saves and 37 strikeouts. He will be the team's go-to closer this season. Sophomore Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) was also picked as the publication's Patriot League Pitcher of the Year.
  • Head coach Greg DiCenzo enters his fourth season at the helm of the Holy Cross baseball team and returns 20 letterwinners to his lineup and adds 12 newcomers. His 20 letterwinners, were all critical parts of the team that broke school records in nine batting categories in 2010, including batting average (.319), slugging percentage (.477), at bats (1,785), runs (367), hits (569), doubles (114), home runs (45), total bases (852) and RBI (340).
  • Leading the group of returners will be senior captains Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) and Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.). Laurendeau had a breakout season for the team in 2010, earning first team All-Patriot League honors. He finished with a .355 batting average and stealing 18 bases in 22 attempts, placing second on the Holy Cross single season records list for steals. He also hit a team-high four triples and scored 46 runs. Oxford leads a young infield after making 50 starts last season, recording a Holy Cross single season record of 414 putouts and turning a squad-best 37 double-plays. He is also a threat at the plate after batting .302 and knocking in 38 runs last season. He has a total of 108 RBI in his career, one shy of tying the school record for career RBI.
  • The squad also returns sophomore catcher Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) who was named the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and was also selected to the second team All-Patriot League. Three other players, including juniors Koneski and Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) and senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) were named to the second team and come back as starters for Holy Cross this season.
  • The Holy Cross outfield brings back the most experience, as all three starters return, including Ciardiello, Laurendeau and senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.). The infield will make use of fresh legs, as Oxford and sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are the only two starters to come back to their respective positions. Catching will be split between Wadsworth and Tkowski while the starting pitching to rotation will feature three juniors, Koneski, John Pedrotty (Portsmouth, R.I.) and Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.).