Jeffs Headed to Empire State for NCAA Regionals
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. -- The NESCAC champion Amherst College baseball team will head to Falcon Park in Auburn, N.Y. for the regional round of the NCAA Championship, beginning Wednesday when the Lord Jeffs take on 23rd-ranked Rowan University (N.J.) at 4:30 p.m. Amherst is the sixth seed in the eight-team, double-elimination regional hosted by Ithaca College and will meet third-seeded Rowan, champions of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
The Jeffs are the only New England school heading to Auburn, where they will face off with a stacked field headlined by nationally fourth-ranked SUNY Cortland and 10th-ranked host Ithaca. Farmingdale State and Neumann are the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively, while RPI and Moravian round out the regional as the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds below Amherst.
Amherst will be making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history after capturing its first NESCAC title since 2005 with a 7-0 win over Wesleyan on Sunday. Winners of the eight regional tournaments will qualify for the double-elimination national championship May 24-28 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
Ticket prices at Falcon Park will be $3 for general admission, $2 for students and seniors. For a full tournament schedule and other links, see the table below.
The Lord Jeffs head into the NCAA Tournament after playing some of their most complete baseball of the season over the weekend en route to the conference title. After losing five of six games to tough opponents from April 26-May 1, Amherst has won five straight heading into the national tourney.
Leading the offensive charge last weekend were Bob Cook ’13, Conner Gunn ’16 and Mike Odenwaelder ’16. Cook went 7-for-12 (.583) with five runs scored during the tournament while Gunn started the final two games and went a blistering 7-for-8 with three RBIs. Odenwaelder continued to power the middle of the Jeff order, driving in six runs and scoring five as he doubled, tripled, and homered over the course of the weekend, his two-run game-tying shot in the eighth inning Saturday perhaps the biggest of many big hits during Amherst’s title run.
Pitching and defense were also strong for the Jeffs, with John Cook ’15 delivering 5.1 outstanding innings of relief on Friday before Bob Cook and the Amherst bullpen kept Wesleyan in check Saturday and Fred Shepard ’14 delivered the title with a Sunday shutout of the Cardinals. The Jeff defense turned in several gems along the way, most notably outstanding catches from Odenwaelder and catcher Dave Cunningham ’16 on Saturday and terrific infield work from third baseman Nolan Stewart ’13 and shortstop Taiki Kasuga ’14.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – At 25-11, the Jeffs stand one victory shy of tying the program record for wins in a season, set by the 1997 squad which posted a 26-6 mark and was ranked first regionally and seventh nationally.
5 – Consecutive losses by Amherst in NCAA Championship play. The program has not won in the national tournament since 1999, when the Jeffs defeated Williams, Trinity, and Southern Maine before falling to Brandeis in the regional final, the longest postseason run in team history. Since, Amherst has gone two-and-through twice, falling to ECSU and Endicott in 2004 before one-run losses to Wheaton and Trinity in 2005. Overall, the Jeffs are 5-10 in five NCAA Tournament appearances since the NESCAC began allowing participation in national championships in 1993.
94 – Seniors Bob Cook, Adam Medoff, Dan Pillitteri and Nolan Stewart own the most wins by a graduating class in program history. Improving to 94-42 (.691) over the weekend, the quartet surpassed the Class of 1999, which posted a 92-36 (.719) four-year mark. That also means that the Jeffs have reached the win column more times during the first four years of head coach Brian Hamm’s tenure than any other stretch in the program’s storied past.
.600 – Mike Odenwaelder’s slugging percentage during one of the finest rookie seasons in team history. The mark leads the NESCAC by 39 percentage points as the first-year has blasted eight doubles, five triples and three homers while also stealing 10 bases and leading the Jeffs in batting average (.365), runs (35), and RBIs (25).
1.24 – The combined walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (WHIP) of Amherst’s staff. The figure ranked 15th nationally as of May 7 while the Jeffs’ team earned run average (3.12) was good for 30th. Leading the way is Bob Cook, who paced the nation in ERA for much of the season and, at 0.78, currently trails only Michael Dolce of Farmingdale State (0.68). Both Cook’s ERA and the team’s combined mark are the lowest since the program began archiving statistics in 1999.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
As the only team from New England to be sent out of the region for NCAA play, Amherst enters an unfamiliar and talented baseball landscape this weekend. In Ithaca, Cortland and Farmingdale State, Auburn will welcome the top three teams in the New York regional rankings while Rowan (No. 4) and Neumann (No. 8) sit among the top teams in the Mid-Atlantic. Amherst, meanwhile, was ranked eighth in New England – first among NESCAC teams – as of May 9. Here’s a closer look at each of this weekend’s eight participants:
Ithaca College Bombers
NCAA Championship History: 34 appearances, 96-69 (.582), 2 titles (1980, 1988)
2013 Results: 34-6 (10-1 Empire Eight), Pool B bid (no conference auto-qualifier)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Bridgewater, Cortland (2x)
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Pomona-Pitzer, Kean
Top Hitters: SS Tim Locastro (.424 AVG/.538 OBP/.636 SLG, 61 R, 32 SB), C Matt Connolly (.403/.469/.537), OF Max Addy (.370/.402/.460), C Corey Caswell (.356/.405/.523), 2B/3B Tim Henry (.354/.466/.409)
Top Pitchers: RHP Pat Lemmo (9-0, 1.60 ERA, 84.1 IP, 59 K, 14 BB), RHP John Prendergast (8-0, 2.39, 60.1 IP, 40 K, 8 BB), RHP Jimmy Wagner (8-0, 3.00, 54.0 IP, 51 K, 29 BB), RHP David Jasukonis (2.20, 5 SV, 16.1 IP, 17 K, 11 BB)
SUNY Cortland Red Dragons
NCAA Championship History: 21 appearances, 79-45 (.637)
2013 Results: 34-9 (15-3 SUNYAC), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Salisbury, RPI, Webster, Franklin & Marshall, Rowan, Misericordia
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Salisbury, Western New England, Rowan, Ithaca (2x)
Top Hitters: OF Zack Graczyk (.429/.481/.547), 1B Max Rosing (.393/.479/.521, 43 RBI), OF Donny Castaldo (.375/.472/.489), SS John Adornetto (.363/.484/.514), OF Chris Jackson (.344/.471/.645, 6 HR)
Top Pitchers: RHP Brandon Serio (4-1, 1.45, 37.1 IP, 34 K, 11 BB), RHP Kyle Barkley (7-1, 1.59, 51.0 IP, 38 K, 17 BB), LHP Brandon McClain (4-0, 2.42, 48.1 IP, 48 K, 12 BB), RHP Tyler Scott (0.42, 3 SV, 21.1 IP, 11 K, 10 BB)
Rowan University Profs
NCAA Championship History: 21 appearances, 58-40 (.644), 2 titles (1978, 1979)
2013 Results: 32-12 (12-6 NJAC), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Randolph-Macon (3x), Cortland, Washington & Jefferson, Franklin & Marshall, Neumann, Kean (2x), Ramapo
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Cortland, Western New England, Ramapo (2x), Kean
Top Hitters: OF Nick Kreiger (.364/.439/.391), C Stephen Petriello (.360/.444/.461), OF Eric Perez (.324/.416/.394), IF Casey Grimes (.321/.422/.571, 7 HR), C/IF Sean Kelly (.306/.424/.475, 38 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RHP Dylan Johannink (4-0, 1.95, 37.0 IP, 40 K, 6 BB), RHP Steven Melchiorre (7-3, 2.01, 76.0 IP, 77 K, 12 BB), RHP Jeff White (5-0, 2.84, 50.2 IP, 36 K, 14 BB), RHP Patrick D’Ascenzo (0.00, 5 SV, 8.1 IP, 6 K, 5 BB)
Farmingdale State College Rams
NCAA Championship History: 5 appearances, 9-11 (.450)
2013 Results: 28-13 (15-1 Skyline), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Southern Maine
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Western New England, Wheaton (Mass.), Southern Maine,
Top Hitters: OF David Zilnicki (.446/.563/.554, 41 R, 35 SB), IF Daniel Paccione (.403/.424/.694), 2B Tom Rydzewski (.395/.455/.474), 3B Ron Remi (.346/.414/.404), 1B Dalton McCarthy (.314/.430/.552)
Top Pitchers: RHP Michael Dolce (5-1, 0.68, 52.2 IP, 37 K, 19 BB), LHP James Powers (5-2, 2.36, 34.1 IP, 26 K, 18 BB), RHP Alex Weingarten (3-2, 2.76, 45.2 IP, 24 K, 8 BB), LHP Cameron Kitt (1.21, 22.1 IP, 23 K, 5 BB)
Neumann University Knights
NCAA Championship History: 1 appearance, 2-2
2013 Results: 29-13 (13-5 CSAC), at-large bid (conference runner-up)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Alvernia, Salem State (2x), Moravian, Ramapo
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Kean, Alvernia, Keystone (3x), Rowan
Top Hitters: OF Matt Sheneman (.367/.465/.550, 43 RBI), OF Will Flores (.363/.421/.459), IF Buddy Elgin (.361/.443/.555), IF Tyler Drinkard (.358/.433/.497, 23 SB), C Bill Pace (.301/.366/.444)
Top Pitchers: LHP Matt Spillman (8-1, 1.84, 68.1 IP, 55 K, 13 BB), LHP Russ Gilliam (3-3, 2.77, 55.1 IP, 51 K, 19 BB), RHP Kristian Deluzio (4-2, 3.18, 45.1 IP, 33 K, 10 BB), RHP Erik Klimoff (3.41, 4 SV, 31.2 IP, 31 K, 7 BB)
Amherst College Lord Jeffs
NCAA Championship History: 5 appearances, 5-10 (.333)
2013 Results: 25-11 (9-3 NESCAC West), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Endicott
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Western New England, Ramapo, MIT
Top Hitters: OF Mike Odenwaelder (.365/.421/.600), P/1B Bob Cook (.361/.487/.508), 3B Nolan Stewart (.358/.439/.415), OF Jonathan Ramirez (.356/.434/.479), C/1B Conner Gunn (.347/.417/.390)
Top Pitchers: RHP Bob Cook (4-2, 0.78, 57.2 IP, 34 K, 6 BB), RHP Dylan Driscoll (7-0, 2.72, 53.0 IP, 31 K, 4 BB), LHP Fred Shepard (3-3, 3.08, 52.2 IP, 51 K, 8 BB), RHP Adam Medoff (2.08, 13.0 IP, 17 K, 8 BB)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers
NCAA Championship History: 17 appearances, 27-34 (.443)
2013 Results: 28-13 (16-9 Liberty League), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: None
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Farmingdale State, Cortland
Top Hitters: C/3B Michael Croke (.383/.444/.468), OF Shane Matthews (.354/.420/.551), 1B Chuck Erickson (.342/.428/.608, 6 HR), IF Tim LeSuer (.333/.409/.366), SS Jonny Rio (.308/.379/.397)
Top Pitchers: RHP Sean Conroy (7-1, 1.91, 70.2 IP, 50 K, 8 BB), RHP Mike Campisi (6-4, 2.42, 74.1 IP, 44 K, 17 BB), RHP Jared Jensen (6-1, 3.55, 58.1 IP, 29 K, 18 BB), RHP Tim Gallagher (2.13, 2 SV, 38.0 IP, 21 K, 13 BB)
Moravian College Greyhounds
NCAA Championship History: 1 appearance, 0-2
2013 Results: 24-17 (10-8 Landmark), automatic bid (conference champs)
Wins vs. NCAA Field: Adrian
Losses vs. NCAA Field: Kean, Misericordia, Neumann, Alvernia
Top Hitters: OF Matt Hanson (.364/.455/.530), OF Joseph Connell (.360/.398/.520), 3B Ryan Luke (.331/.366/.497, 42 RBI), C Mike Roethke (.323/.405/.396), 1B Charles Savite (.315/.388/.397)
Top Pitchers: RHP Anthony Zaloga (4-4, 3.28, 60.1 IP, 40 K, 14 BB), RHP Thomas Mariano (4-3, 3.72, 46.0 IP, 29 K, 9 BB), RHP Rob Solano (5-2, 3.72, 65.1 IP, 38 K, 18 BB), RHP Chris Soltys (1.36, 4 SV, 33.0 IP, 27 K, 9 BB)
2013 Ncaa baseball championship -- new york regional