The Patriot League Championship will be held on Friday and Saturday in Worcester Massachusetts between the Holy Cross Crusaders and the Bucknell Bison. The Crusaders enter the weekend with a 25-24 overall record after taking the first and last games of their three game Patriot League Semifinal series against Lehigh. Bucknell enters with a 21-31 overall record after they took Game 1 and Game 3 of their Patriot League Semifinal against Army. The Crusaders and Bison last met for a four-game series held in Lewisburg, Pa. on April 10-11. Holy Cross took three out of the four games, outscoring Bucknell 32-12.
The Holy Cross Crusaders are looking for their first Patriot League title while they haven’t appeared in the NCAA Tournament since the 1978 season. The Crusaders have a 25-24 overall record while they went 10-10 in Patriot League play. The Crusaders are led by third year head coach Greg DiCenzo who has a career record of 69-79 while being 34-27 in Patriot League play.
The Holy Cross offense had a team batting average of .316 which was the best in the Patriot League. They are led at the plate by senior third baseman Matt Perry who was the 2009 Patriot League Player of the Year last season. He led the squad with a .398 batting average while hitting four homers and driving in 32 runs. Freshman catcher Stephen Wadsworth won the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year award as he has a .351 batting average while hitting two homers and driving in 35 runs. Jake Laurendeau (.367 BA) and Nick Ciardello (.366 BA) are the other two hitters in the everyday lineup with batting averages above .350.
The Holy Cross pitching staff had a team ERA of 5.85 which was fourth in the conference this season. Nate Koneski leads the starting pitchers with a 6-2 record and a 3.41 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts). Ryan George has been the best reliever for the Crusaders as he is 3-4 including six saves with a 3.13 ERA.
Bucknell are looking for their second Patriot League title in the last three years as they won the 2008 conference title before shocking Florida State in their opener in the Tallahassee Regional. The Bison are 21-31 overall this season while they went 8-12 in Patriot League play. The Bison are led by Gene Depew who is in his 29th season in charge of the program with a career record of 541-628-7.
Bucknell finished second in the Patriot League with a .315 batting average while leading the conference with 63 homers which is 22 more then the next closest team in the conference with Holy Cross hitting 41. The Bison are led at the plate by Ben Yoder who finished third in the conference with a .388 average with 10 homers and 43 RBI. Doug Shribman is third on the squad with a .372 batting average but has hit conference leading 17 homers on the year. Teammate Andrew Brouse is right on his heels with 15 homers while hitting .370.
The Bucknell pitching staff had a staff ERA of 6.12 which was fifth in the six team Patriot League. They are led by Dylan Seely on the mound as he is 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 12 starts including three complete games. Michael Dallanegra is the top reliever for the Bison as he is 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings of work.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Game One- Nate Koneski (LHP, So.), 6-2, 3.41
Game Two- Matt Shapiro (LHP, Sr.), 4-3, 5.33
Game One- Dylan Seeley (RHP, Jr.), 5-3, 3.81
Game Two- Trey Frahler (RHP, Jr.), 4-6, 6.82
I will be in attendance for all three games and if I have internet access at the stadium which is a question mark right now, I will run a Live Blog from the event. Stay tuned to The College Baseball Blog for more information Friday evening.