With eight games left in the America East regular season, the playoff races could not be tighter. In Division A, UMass Lowell (14-16) went up to Maine and took three out of four from the Black Bears (11-14). Albany and Hartford traded body blows in upstate New York with the Great Danes (16-14) taking three of four from the Hawks (15-15). If there is a team that could have an advantage it might be the River Hawks who will play their final eight games all at home. This week, Albany heads to Lowell. The last time the two teams met it was the Great Danes winning three of four. Hartford is home this week to take on Maine and the last time they met each team won a game with two other games lost to weather.
In Division B, Stony Brook is a lock to win the division. They have an eight-game lead on the rest of the group. The feature series is between NJIT (16-16) and Binghamton (14-14. The last time the two teams met in Mid-April it was the Bearcats taking three of four. This time the two teams will meet at the home of the Highlanders. Let’s take a look at what else is going on in the league.
Maine senior right-hander Nicholas Sinacola has a chance when he takes the mound this week at Hartford to become the school’s all-time single-season strikeout king. He will face the Hawks having struck out 107 hitters so far this season. He will need one to tie the record and two to break the mark that was set by Larry Thomas (108) back in 1991. This may be a forgone conclusion since Sinacola has had double-digit strikeouts in every start he has made this year.
NJIT heads into their big series with Binghamton with some interesting team numbers. They are dead last in both hitting (.246) and fielding at (.956). Not numbers you would associate with a team that has a .500 record in the league. On offense, they have whiffed the most (296), and have grounded into the second most double plays at 14. They have stolen the third-fewest bases so far at 44, however, they have only tried 50 times all year to steal a base. When they do make a contract with the baseball, extra-base hits seem to be the result Of their 285 total hits, 49 are doubles, 31 are home runs, and 11 are triples. On defense, they have made 54 errors the most in America East. They have turned the fewest double plays at 14 while the opposition has been able to steal bases at an 81.9% clip (59 steals, 13 caught stealings).
UMass Lowell has been able to add an arm to their pitching staff for the stretch run. Redshirt senior John Polichetti has returned to the River Hawk rotation after spending most of the year on the shelf with an injury. He has made four appearances since returning with each one getting a little longer and better. Versus Albany, he pitched one inning allowing one hit, and one run on April 17. On April 23 he tossed two innings, allowed three hits, and one earned run vs Maine. On May 1 vs Hartford he got in three innings, giving up five hits, three runs, with two earned. This past Saturday it was five innings, one hit, and zero rubs against Maine. His addition to the staff gives head coach Ken Harring another option to use in the final two weekends that could be a big help as the River Hawks fight for a playoff spot.
The America East Player of The Week is also the Rookie of The Week. Jimmy Sullivan of the River Hawks was a key reason why Lowell had such a good weekend in Maine. His slash line of .500/.529/.688 was huge for the team. He reached base safely 11 times in the series. Sullivan also scored three times, Behind the plate, Sullivan was also key with 12 putouts, two assists, and threw out a would-be base stealer. Sullivan now has a .371 batting average which leads the team and is second in the league. His on-base percentage of .440 is fifth in the league. Behind the plate, Sullivan has thrown out five base stealers which ranks him fifth in the conference. For Sullivan, this was his first weekly award.
Last week may have been a rough time in general for Hartford athletics. But on Saturday, the baseball program shined some light on a bad couple of days. Senior left-handed pitcher Nicholas Dombkowski went out in game two of the doubleheader and threw a no-hitter. It was the first one in the league this season, and the first one thrown by a Hartford pitcher since Sean Newcomb did it back in 2014. Dombkowski struck out nine and walked two while throwing 121 pitches in the nine-inning game. For Nicholas, it was the first no-hitter of his career. It was the bright spot of the weekend in Albany as it was the lone win for the Hawks. This is Dombkowski’s first weekly award and the sixth of his career at Hartford.
Next week we will look ahead to the final weekend of baseball in America East.
- America East ConferenceDecember 9, 2023River Hawks Fight to 2-2 Tie Against Holy Cross; Secure Shootout Victory
- ACCDecember 8, 2023ACC Basketball News & Notes: Clemson on Top in the Early Going
- NCAABDecember 7, 2023Northeast Conference Adds Chicago State for the 2024-25 Season
- America East ConferenceDecember 6, 2023UMass Lowell Returns Home and Defeats Fisher, 117-69