The Patriot League Conference Tournament starts up this weekend with Holy Cross heading to Navy and Army hosting Bucknell in best two out of three series to decide which team will advance to the conference championship series next weekend. Navy ended up taking three out of four games this season against Holy Cross while Army lost three out of four games against Bucknell. We previewed the Patriot League in our preseason season previews which can be read here.
Holy Cross at Navy
The Holy Cross Crusaders enter the weekend with a 20-26 record while going 11-9 in the Patriot League. The Crusaders have made a drastic turnaround under first year head coach Greg DiCenzo as he took over a team that went 12-23 with a 8-11 conference record in 2007. The Crusaders top hitter is Brendan Akashian who has been one of the top catchers in the northeast throughout the season while hitting .344 in only 20 games as he was injured during the middle of the season. The top pitcher is Matt Shapiro who was honored this week with the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year award. He has a 3-1 record with a 1.78 ERA.
The Navy Midshipmen enter the weekend with a 30-22-1 record while going 11-9 in the Patriot League but holding the tiebreaker over Holy Cross by winning their series against each other. They are led by third year head coach Paul Kostacopoulos who has turned the Navy program around with three straight seasons with more then 30 victories. The top hitter on the Navy squad is Thomas Hamilton who is hitting .388 on the year with three homers and 45 RBI. Mitch Harris has been the number 1 starter for Navy throughout the year as he has accumulated a 2-1 record with a 2.10 ERA. He has only made five starts on the season as he was injured in preseason workouts and just recently returned to the field. They also have one of the top closers in the conference in J.D. Melton who is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA while picking up seven saves in 17 appearances.
CBB Prediction: Navy sweeps Holy Cross to make the Patriot League final.
Bucknell at Army
The Bucknell Bison enter the weekend with a 22-21-2 record while going .500 in the Patriot League with a 10-10 record. They are led by legendary head coach Gene Depew who is in his 27th season in charge of the program. Bucknell’s top hitter is Jason Buursma who was named the Patriot League Player of the Year after hitting .400 with 34 RBI. The ace of the Bucknell pitching staff is Matthew Wilson who went 4-1 with a 3.89 ERA.
The Army Black Knights have a record of 23-23 while they went 13-7 in the Patriot League. They are led by 9th year head coach Joe Sottolano who has led them to three NCAA Regionals with the last one coming in 2005. The top hitter on the Army squad is Cole White who is hitting .371 with six homers and 26 RBI. He is coming off an injury in the season opener against Louisiana (Lafayette) who kept him out for a portion of the non-conference schedule. He entered the season as the team’s number 1 starter but the injury hampered his mechanics as he only has a record of 2-5 with a 7.07 ERA but pitched an eight inning complete game shutout against rival Navy late in the season. Drew Clothier has made 11 starts accumalting a 5-5 record with a 4.54 ERA. The CBB has a full report on Clothier that is available here.
Bucknell Series Notes
Army Series Notes (N/A RIGHT NOW)
CBB Prediction: Army will knock off Bucknell in three games.