Holy Cross Set To Face Army In Patriot League Semifinals

May 5, 2009

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Patriot League Tournament Semifinals
The Teams: No. 3 Holy Cross (21-25, 11-7 PL) vs. No. 2 Army (28-17, 13-7 PL)
Date: May 9-10, 2009
Place: Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field (880), West Point, N.Y.
Live Video Streaming: www.goarmysports.com
Army Radio: WBNR 1260 AM, Hudson Valley; WLNA 1420 AM, Hudson Valley; WGHQ 920 AM; Hudson Valley.
Series Record: Army leads, 52-25-2

CRUSADERS CLINCH TOURNEY BERTH: The Holy Cross baseball team is making its second straight appearance in the Patriot League tournament, marking the fourth time in school history that the Crusaders will be in the tournament. This season also marks the first time in school history in which the Crusaders will go to back-to-back league tournaments. Third-seeded Holy Cross will travel to No. 2 Army for a best-of-three series with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, May 9, beginning at 12:00 p.m. If necessary, a third game is scheduled for Sunday, May 10, starting at 1:00 p.m. Should Holy Cross win its series with Army, it will face the winner of the Bucknell-Lafayette series in a best-of-three series on May 16-17. The series would be played in Worcester if the Crusaders face Lafayette or in Lewisburg, Pa., if Holy Cross plays Bucknell. Holy Cross is looking to clinch its first Patriot League title.

Overall: Army leads, 52-25-2
Greg DiCenzo vs. Army: 4-4
Joe Sottolano vs. Holy Cross: 28-10-1
Current Win Streak: Army, two games

TRIO RECEIVES ALL-LEAGUE HONORS: Junior third baseman Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) has been named to the 2009 All-Patriot League first team, announced by the Patriot League on Tuesday, May 5. In addition, senior pitcher Dan Seip (North Carver, Mass.) and senior outfielder Billy Cupelo (Franklin, Mass.) were both named to the All-Patriot League second team. This is the first time that Perry, Seip and Cupelo have been named to the teams in their careers. Named to the first team for the first time in his career, Perry was also the recipient of the 2009 Hop Riopel Award, given to the baseball team's most valuable player. Starting all 46 games at third base, Perry leads the league in hitting with a .439 batting average, hits (75) and on-base percentage (.505). He is also tied for first with 111 total bases. With a career-high 54 and 2/3 innings pitched this season, Seip has led the team in innings pitched and struck out a team-high 37 batters. As the Crusaders' top pitcher this season, Seip was award the 2009 Ray Dobens Award, which is presented to the most improved player on the Crusader baseball team. Currently ranked third on the team in batting average (.305), Cupelo has scored 18 runs and has 16 RBI, three doubles, one triple and one home run in his 41 appearances this season. Cupelo also had 39 hits and only committed three errors for a .956 fielding percentage.

HC RECORDS BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS: With an overall record of 21-25 this season, the Holy Cross baseball team recorded its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1922 and 1923. The 17th 20-win season in school history, the 21 wins marked the most regular season wins for the Crusaders since 1978 in which Holy Cross finished the season with 23 regular season wins.

CRUSADERS MAKE NCAA LISTS: Holy Cross' strong infield has landed the Crusaders 23rd on the NCAA list for double plays turned with 46 through games of April 26. Holy Cross also ranks 65th in the NCAA in sacrifice bunts with 29. In the individual lists, Matt Perry ranks 27th in hits (69), 29th in batting average (.426) and 69th in on-base percentage (.495). Sophomore Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) is ranked 42nd on the individual list for sacrifice bunts with eight on the season.

HOLY CROSS TAKE ON THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross had another successful year in league play, posting its second winning record of in a row at 11-7, after finishing with an 11-9 record in 2008. The Crusaders split their four-game series with second-seeded Army for the second year in a row and picked up one win against top-seed Bucknell. Holy Cross picked up three wins against No. 4 Lafayette and Navy. Due to inclement weather, Holy Cross only played two games against Lehigh, winning both of them.

LAST SEASON AGAINST THE BLACK KNIGHTS: During the 2008 series between Holy Cross and Army, the teams split the four games, with Holy Cross winning by scores of 9-0 and 2-1, and Army picking up 16-0 and 8-1 wins. Junior Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) pitched a complete game of seven shutouts innings and gave up five hits while striking out four batters to earn the win in the Crusders' 9-0 victory. During the series, senior Jake Gorman (Norfolk, Mass.) scored two runs had one home run and one double while senior Billy Cupelo (Franklin, Mass.) had three RBI and two doubles.

GORMAN, OXFORD SET NEW HOME RUN RECORDS: Senior Jake Gorman (Norfolk, Mass.) broke the Holy Cross record for career home runs, hitting his 21st home run on Sunday, April 26 against Navy, surpassing Corey Czajka (1998-2001) and Ben Power (1996-1999), who both finished their careers with 20. Sophomore Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) set a new school record in single-season home runs on April 18 at Lafayette, driving in his eighth home run of the season, surpassing Ben Power who recorded seven during the 1998 season. Oxford now has 10 home runs on the year. In addition, Gorman has now moved into second place on the single season home run list with eight and Matt Perry is now tied for third with seven. Holy Cross has also shattered the single season record for home runs with 44. The old mark of 25 was shared by the 1978 and 2001 teams.

WINNING STREAK REVIVES CRUSADER SUCCESS: Holy Cross' seven-game winning streak this season from March 25-April 4 marks the longest winning streak for the team since 1991, in which the Crusaders won eight straight games.PERRY REIGNS SUPREME: Matt Perry has been the strongest player in the Patriot League this season, leading the league with a .439 season batting average. Starting in all 46 games this season, Perry has hit 15 doubles, seven home runs and batted in 36 runs this year. His strength at the plate was acknowledged by Holy Cross as he was the recipient of The Hop Riopel Award, which is presented each year to the most valuable player of the Crusader baseball team.

FIRST ARMY DOUBLEHEADER: Third baseman Matt Perry went five for eight with three home runs and six runs batted in, to lead Holy Cross to a sweep at Army in a doubleheader on April 4. The Crusaders won the first game 11-2, then posted a 10-4 victory in the nightcap. In game one, the Crusaders jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the middle of the third inning, then cruised to the victory. Perry led off the game with a solo home run, then hit a three-run homer in the second inning which put Holy Cross up 5-0. Pitcher Dan Seip picked up the victory on the mound, allowing just two runs on seven hits in a complete game performance. In the second game, Holy Cross took a 7-2 lead by scoring two times in the first, second and third innings, then adding one more run in the top of the fourth. Perry hit a two-run homer in the second inning, then added an RBI double in the fourth to help build the Crusader lead. After Army had trimmed the lead to 7-4, Holy Cross scored three more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away, led by a two-run single from outfielder Billy Cupelo. Pitcher Tommy Arrigg earned the win for the Crusaders, allowing just three hits and striking out four in five shutout innings of relief. Catcher Eddie Bleiler finished the day three for seven with three runs batted in. Outfielder Brendan McCrea, first baseman Eric Oxford and outfielder Chris Sintetos also added three hits each for the Crusaders.

SECOND ARMY DOUBLEHEADER: Tim Hughes drove in all three runs as Holy Cross fell to host Army in a Patriot League doubleheader on April 5, losing by scores of 8-1 and 5-2. In the first game, Holy Cross put up one run to start the game as shortstop John Sills hit a one-out single through the right side and then to advanced to second base on a failed pickoff attempt. Sills advanced to third on a single by first baseman Eric Oxford and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Hughes. Scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning, Army took a 3-1 lead. The Black Knights held Holy Cross scoreless while putting up one run in the bottom of third inning and four in the bottom of the sixth, winning the first game, 8-1. In game two, Army scored three runs in the bottom of the third and then two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 5-0 lead. In the top of the sixth inning, Holy Cross' Oxford picked up a two-out walk and then scored on a home run by Hughes, making the 5-2. Neither teams were able to score in the final three innings of the game as the Black Knights won the second game, 5-2.

CUPELO CONCLUDES CAREER ON HIGH NOTE: Senior Billy Cupelo (Franklin, Mass.) has made his final season at Holy Cross his strongest both at the plate and in the outfield. Making 34 starts in 41 appearances in the outfield, Cupelo is batting .305 on the season with 18 runs scored and 16 RBI. Named the Crusader of the Week for competition from April 20-26, Cupelo led Holy Cross to a 4-1 record in the five games played, including three wins over Navy that sealed the spot for the Crusaders in the Patriot League tournament. Cupelo batted .474 (9-for-19) with seven runs scored and four RBI. On Saturday, April 25, he hit his first triple of the season in the first game and then in the nightcap, Cupelo hit his first collegiate home run during the second game of the Navy doubleheader on Saturday, April 25. Cupelo also had a seven-game hitting streak, from April 19-28. To date, he has made 74 collegiate starts in 94 appearances and has 36 RBI, 30 runs scored, 13 doubles, three triples and one home run.

SECOND BASE IS SECOND NATURE: Senior Jake Gorman (Norfolk, Mass.) has made a great impact on the infield this year, starting in a career-high 46 games at second base. Both home run and RBI records are a single-season high for Gorman. Defensively, he has helped the Crusaders turn 24 of its 45 double plays and has tallied 82 putouts. On offense, he's ranked second on the team in home runs with eight and fourth in runs batted in with 30.

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM: The third member of the Perry generation to wear a Crusaders baseball uniform, junior third baseman Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) has followed in the footsteps of the success of his father, Ronnie, who was a member of class of 1980 and grandfather, Ron, who graduated in 1954. This season, he etched his named into the school record books as he broke the single-season record for hits with 75, surpassing his father, Ronnie, who had 66 during the 1978 season. He also surpassed his father for total bases in a single season, concluding the regular season with 111. Perry's father finished the 1978 season with 99 total bases.

SEIP LEADS CRUSADERS ON THE MOUND: Making nine starts this season, senior Dan Seip (North Carver, Mass.) finished the regular season with a 3-3 record and two complete games. His best performance of the season was on April 4 at Army when he pitched his first collegiate complete game, giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out three batters in seven innings pitched. He also struck out a season-high eight batters in 6-1/3 innings pitched against Quinnipiac. Making 33 collegiate starts in 46 appearances, Seip has an overall record of 12-13 and has pitched 196 innings throughout his career while striking out 133 batters.TKOWSKI ROCKS ROOKIE SEASON: Freshman catcher Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) has shared the the starting duty behind the plate this season, and has turn in some strong performances. Appearing in 24 games and making 14 starts, Tkowski is ranked second on the team in batting with a .411 average including 14 runs scored, 13 runs batted in, five doubles and three home runs. For his efforts during his first season at Holy Cross, Tkowski has been named the 2009 recipient of the Ron Soucie Award. Created by his former teammates Rick DeAngelis (Class of 1970) and Tom Kelly (Class of 1967), the Soucie Award is presented annually to the Rookie of the Year on the Holy Cross baseball team.

SHAPIRO ADDS TO PITCHING SUCCESS: Returning from a stellar season and being named the 2008 Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, junior Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) has started in nine games this season and earned two complete games, bringing his career total to four. He is tied on the team in strikeouts with 37 and ranked second on the team in innings pitched with 51-2/3 innings. Shapiro's strongest start of the season was on Sunday, April 26, in the second game against Navy, pitching a complete game of seven innings while striking out a career-high 10 batters and giving up five runs on nine hits. Shapiro also struck out six batters in the first game against Army on Sunday, April 5 and in game one at Towson on Saturday March, 14.

OXFORD STAYS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) entered his second season with Holy Cross with much success following 36 appearances in 49 starts during his freshman year. His experience at first base paid off as he has started in the role in all 46 games this season. On offense, the left handed batter, leads the Patriot League in home runs with 10 and is ranked fifth in runs batted in with 44. He is batting .288 overall in addition to taling 10 doubles and 36 runs scored. On defense this year, he has been the foundation of the Crusaders' 45 double plays turned and has accumulated 405 putouts. With just four errors on the season, Oxford has a .991 fielding percentage.

ARRIGG TOPS APPEARANCES LIST: Junior Tommy Arrigg (Andover, Mass.) took on the role of Holy Cross' top relief pitcher with full force, recording 22 appearances on the season with a 2-0 record and one save. Ranking him first in the Patriot League, Arrigg's 22 appearances also set a new school record at Holy Cross for most relief appearances in a single season. Prior to this season, Arrigg had totaled 22 appearances throughout his career, but has crushed his career total during the last two seasons with his record-breaking junior year.

ROOKIE REPORT: Holy Cross' newest pitchers have made a great impact on Holy Cross' bullpen. Making 14 appearances including six starts, freshman Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) leads the underclassmen with 43 innings pitched and 31 strikeouts while earning a 2-2 record. Freshman John Pedrotty (Portsmouth, R.I.) has also had a good start to his career, making four starts in 17 appearances. Finishing the regular season with a 2-2 record, Pedrotty pitched 33 and 1/3 innings and struck out 15 batters. Leading the freshman squad with seven starts, Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) finishes the regular season with a 1-2 record and 34 and 2/3 innings pitched. Croglio is also ranked second among the freshmen in strikeouts, fanning 25 batters. Posting a 2-0 record, freshman reliever Derek Klinka (Westford, Mass.) pitched 15 and 2/3 innings and struck out 10 batters in 11 appearances. Freshman outfielder Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) made 21 starts in 34 appearances in his first season with the Crusaders, batting .256 with 21 hits, eight runs scored, five RBI and two doubles.

THE DICENZO FILE: Now in his second year as Holy Cross' head baseball coach, Greg DiCenzo has carried over the success from his debut season with the Holy Cross baseball team. Dicenzo led the team to another 20-win season, finishing the regular season with an overall record of 21-25. He also led the Crusaders to another winning record in Patriot League play, finishing with a record of 11-7. DiCenzo's efforts also led Holy Cross to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1922 and 1923 seasons. His career record now stands at 42-53, including a 22-16 mark against Patriot League opponents.