Holy Cross Set To Take On Bucknell In Patriot League Semifinals

John Colella

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The Teams: No. 1 Holy Cross (26-23, 15-5 PL) vs. No. 4 Bucknell (16-31, 10-10 PL)
Date: May 11-12, 2013
Time: 5/11 - 1:00/4:00 p.m.; 5/12 - 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (3,000); Worcester, Mass
Holy Cross Radio: GoHolyCross.com, Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Brian Zelesky, color commentator
Video Streaming: Patriot League All-Access
Unofficial Live Statistics: GoHolyCross.com
Series Record: Bucknell leads, 42-37-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 9, Bucknell 3 (March 31, 2013, Worcester, Mass.)

CRUSADERS SET TO HOST BUCKNELL IN PL SEMIFINALS: The No. 1 seeded Holy Cross baseball team will host No. 4 seed Bucknell in the Patriot League Tournament semifinal series. The best-of-three series will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12. On Saturday, a doubleheader between the two teams will take place followed by game three, if necessary, on Sunday. The games on both days will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Crusaders claimed the Patriot League regular-season title for the first time since joining the conference in 1991. As the No. 1 seed, the Crusaders will host the championship series as well, should they qualify. Holy Cross has finished second in the Patriot League standings three previous times, with the most recent being in 2012. This is the seventh appearance in the Patriot League Tournament for the Crusaders in school history. The 15 wins in Patriot League games are the most in the history of the program.

HOLY CROSS AIMS FOR FIRST PL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP: In the 23-year history of Holy Cross in the Patriot League, the Crusaders have yet to win a Patriot League Tournament championship. Holy Cross has been to the Patriot League Tournament championship series twice over its history, in 2010 and 2012. Last season, the Crusaders were defeated by Army in the third game of the series as the Black Knights moved on to the NCAA Tournament. In 2010, Bucknell defeated the Crusaders in the championship series, two games to one. In program history, Holy Cross has made  the NCAA Tournament 11 times, with the most recent being during the 1978 season. The Crusaders were also NCAA College World Series champions in 1952.

DICENZO NAMED 2013 PATRIOT LEAGUE COACH OF THE YEAR: Greg DiCenzo enters his sixth season as head coach of the baseball team in 2013. Most recently named 2013 Patriot League Coach of the Year, he holds a 149-147-1 overall record and is 69-49 in Patriot League regular-season games. DiCenzo has qualified for the Patriot League Tournament in five of his six years at the helm and has been to the championship series a pair of times. He is 15-12 in Patriot League postseason games and is 9-3 over the past three seasons. As head coach, the Crusaders have won at least 20 games each season and also set the Holy Cross season wins record at 33 in 2012. Also the 2008 Patriot League Coach of the Year, DiCenzo earned New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Division I Coach of the Year honors in 2012.

HOLY CROSS HAS SEVEN ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS: Holy Cross had a league-high seven players named to either the first or second All-Patriot League teams in 2013. In addition, senior first baseman Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) and senior relief pitcher John Colella (Herndon, Va.) were named Patriot League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. First team All-Patriot League players include: Enos, Colella, senior outfielder Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.), junior third baseman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and sophomore outfielder Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.). Second team All-Patriot League members were junior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) and sophomore starting pitcher Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.).

ENOS AND KONO EARN ACADEMIC ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Enos and senior pitcher Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) were named to the 2013 Academic All-Patriot League team for their work on the field and in the classroom. Enos was also voted Scholar Athlete of the Year, the first Crusader since 1994. Enos holds the second highest GPA on the team at 3.65 and was also named to the Academic All-Patriot League team in 2012. This year, he was voted to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic District I first team and was a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. He is a three-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. Kono was named to the Academic All-Patriot League team for the first time in his career. He holds the third highest cumulative GPA on the team at 3.33 and is a two-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. Kono is tied for seventh in the conference with four wins this season and has started eight games on the mound for Holy Cross. In Patriot League games, Kono is 2-0 with a 5.12 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched.

CRUSADERS OWN BEST OFFENSE IN PATRIOT LEAGUE: The Holy Cross baseball team ranks either first or tied for first in almost every batting category in the conference. Holy Cross leads the Patriot League in batting average (.293), slugging percentage (.407), on-base percentage (.374), runs (297), hits (466), RBIs (268), home runs (22) and total bases (649). The Crusaders are tied for first with 91 doubles and 13 triples. The 297 runs scored this season are the second most in Holy Cross history, trailing the 2010 team who had 367 runs. Holy Cross is also tied for second in school history in RBIs during a season, trailing the 2010 squad's total of 340. The 466 hits this season are fourth all-time.

ENOS LEADS CRUSADERS OFFENSE: Jordan Enos has been a key player in the heart of the lineup this season for the Crusaders. He ranks second on the team with a .339 batting average and 57 hits, while he leads the Crusaders with 18 doubles and 32 RBIs. Enos has also scored 32 runs, hit two home runs and stole four bases this season. He is tied for first in the Patriot League in doubles and ranks fourth in batting average and RBIs. A career .326 hitter, Enos has set career highs this season in hits, doubles and RBIs. He is in ninth place in the Holy Cross record book with 32 career doubles and is three doubles away from tying the single-season mark of 21. To read a feature story about Enos, click here.

COLELLA CLOSES THE DOOR: John Colella became the first relief pitcher to win Patriot League Pitcher of the Year this season as the co-captain put up a phenomenal performance in league contests. In 10 conference appearances, Colella went 2-0 and posted a 0.86 ERA, while holding opponents to a .192 batting average. He recorded six saves during Patriot League action and only allowed two earned runs in 21.0 innings pitched. He played a key role in the Crusaders putting up a 7-1 record in Patriot League games decided by one or two runs. For the season, Colella went 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 21 appearances, including two starts. He allowed five extra-base hits all year and just one home run. Colella stands second in Patriot League history with 26 career saves and 77 relief appearances, both just one away from the League records. He was named first team All-Patriot League for the second time in his career.

PUENTES PROVIDES POWER FOR HOLY CROSS: Patrick Puentes has been a powerful offensive threat in the Crusaders batting order all season long. The outfielder holds a .298 batting average with 27 runs scored, 29 RBIs and a conference-best seven home runs. In Patriot League games, Puentes batted .371 and ranked first with a .742 slugging percentage. This season, Puentes was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, as he hit for the cycle versus Lafayette on April 7, 2013 going 5-for-5 with four runs scored, six RBIs and a pair of home runs. A career .301 hitter, Puentes has 138 hits, 86 runs scored, 26 doubles, 17 home runs and 90 RBIs. His seven home runs rank fifth in the Holy Cross single-season record book, while his 17 career long balls is fifth most all-time. Puentes is a two-time member of the first team All-Patriot League.

AHMED PLAYS ALL OVER DIAMOND: Co-captain Mike Ahmed has been a big part of the Holy Cross batting lineup as well as the pitching staff. This season, he batted .287 overall with 30 runs scored, four home runs and 12 stolen bases. He also went 3-4 on the mound with a 4.11 ERA and one save. In Patriot League games, Ahmed led the conference with nine stolen bases as he batted .304 with 13 runs scored. He also posted a 1.69 ERA in league games and a 2-1 record as a pitcher. He is a career .286 hitter with 124 hits, 90 runs scored, 12 homers and 62 RBIs. He also holds a 5-5 record on the mound with a 4.66 ERA. He has made six starts on the bump and has three saves in 56 innings pitched. Ahmed has made the first team All-Patriot League two times in his career, both at third base.

OCELLO AT THE TOP OF THE ORDER: Evan Ocello has been the leadoff hitter for the majority of the season for the Crusaders and provided a crucial role in getting on base. The outfielder leads the conference with 44 runs scored, 64 hits and a .520 slugging percentage. He also holds the second highest batting average (.358) and on-base percentage (.450), while he is tied for second with 15 stolen bases on the season. He has 14 doubles and three triples to go along with a trio of home runs. Ocello holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and has six outfield assists this season. In his career, Ocello is a .311 hitter with 93 hits, 63 runs scored, three home runs, 36 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. The first team All-Patriot League nod is the first of his career.

CIPOLLA PATROLS CENTER FIELD FOR HOLY CROSS: Brandon Cipolla ranks third on the team with a .324 batting average and is second with 35 runs scored this season. He is also third on Holy Cross with 12 doubles and is tied for third with 27 RBIs. Cipolla also has a pair of home runs this season. In his career, he is batting .312 with 112 hits, 74 runs scored, 23 doubles, eight home runs and 60 RBIs. The outfielder has been named second team All-Patriot League in back-to-back seasons.

MURRAY AND MARRA LEAD PITCHING STAFF: Donny Murray and senior Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) have both been the weekend starters for Holy Cross all season. Murray ranks second on the team with a 4.77 ERA, while leading the squad with a 6-3 record and 49 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched. In Patriot League games, Murray was 4-1 with a 2.96 ERA. He hurled a complete game one-hitter versus Army on April 28, 2013 to clinch the Patriot League regular-season title for the Crusaders. The second team All-Patriot League accolade was the first in his career. Marra is third on Holy Cross with a 5.19 ERA and a 3-4 record overall. In Patriot League games, Marra was 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA. During league games, Marra posted two complete game shutouts versus Lafayette and Navy.