With league play still two weeks away, it is good to see teams in America East getting some non-conference wins under their belt. This league has some good players and teams and it’s good to see that both are getting a chance to shine. As the third weekend of college baseball is about to begin, let’s take a look at what is happening in the league.
The team that had the best week in non-conference play was the Albany Great Danes (5-3). They have won five in a row, including a sweep of Maryland-Eastern Shore last weekend. Albany outscored UMES by a 27-6 count over the three-game series. Not only did the Great Danes get it done with the bats, but they also got strong pitching as well. On Saturday, Anthony Germinero gave Albany six strong innings of four-hit zero-run baseball. Rob Manetta would get the final two outs of the game for his first save of the season in Albany’s 3-2 victory. On Sunday, pitching and hitting were on display in a 13-0 win. The offense would bang out 13 hits while starting pitcher Connor Eisenmann and three bullpen mates would combine for a two-hit shutout. Eisenmann went the first five to get his first win of the season. From there, the Great Danes would play a mid-week game against Fairleigh Dickenson. The game was a bit of a slugfest with Albany scoring 12 more runs and getting 18 more hits to win 12-7. So far, Albany has shown they can win the tight low-scoring game as well as the high-scoring contest. That should be a big advantage to them come conference time.
Playing a ranked team this early in the season can be a difficult assignment. The Binghamton Bearcats (2-5) had to do just that last weekend when they played the #23 Old Dominion University. The weekend got off to a great start for the Bearcats on Friday night when they defeated ODU by a 4-1 score. Thomas Babalis would pitch into the sixth inning allowing only a HR to Andy Garriola of Old Dominion in that sixth inning. The bullpen duo of Gabe Driscoll and Jack Collins would go 3.2 innings to preserve the win with Collins getting the save with two innings of shutout baseball. ODU would take the series by winning the next two games, However, Binghamton did earn themselves a quality win.
The same can be said of the Maine Black Bears (1-5) who picked up their first win of the season versus a power-5 school in Penn State. The 5-3 win was sandwiched around a couple of losses. In the win, the Black Bears exploded for four runs in the ninth inning to get the win with the big blow being a two-run triple to center field by Scout Knotts. Leif Bigelow came out of Maine’s pen to throw three innings of one-hit, one-run baseball to get the win. Matthew Pushard pitched the bottom of the ninth to get his first save of the year. The Black Bears schedule has been rough to start the season with five straight games vs power-5 schools in LSU and PSU. Hopefully, it will pay off for them down the road.
On the other side of the coin is the Stony Brook Seawolves (1-6). They have lost five in a row. Last weekend they were in Tampa, Florida to take on South Florida. The Bulls would sweep the series by outscoring the Seawolves by 29-7. On Friday night, Stony Brook took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately, the Seawolves pen sprung a bit of a leak and gave up two runs that would prove to be the game-winning runs in a 3-2 South Florida win. Walks would be the undoing of the Stony Brook pen as they would give up back-to-back free passes to allow the tying and winning run to cross the plate.
The AE Player of the Week is Brad Malm of Albany. He had himself quite a week for the Seawolves. He batted .389 with five HRs in the weekend sweep of Maryland-Eastern Shore. In seven games to date, Malm has eight home runs which have him second in all of Division One. In AE, he leads in slugging at 1.118%, OPS at 1.543%, runs scored with 12, runs batted in at 18, and is tied for the lead in sac flies with two.
The America East Pitcher of the Week is Thomas Babalis of Binghamton. In his victory over ODU, Thomas went 5.1 innings, struck out seven, did not issue a walk, and gave up a HR for the lone mistake in his outing. His 0.87 ERA is second in the conference. Opponents are hitting .189 in 10.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 10 while walking only two. Thomas has allowed only the one earned run in those ten innings pitched.
The America East Rookie of the Week is Adam Kuzmicki of Stony Brook. In the series finale against South Florida, Kuzmicki went 2-for-3 in that start with a home run. In his first two games as a member of the Seawolves, Adam has a slash line of .500/.500//.1.000. Those numbers may get him more playing time for Stony Brook.
Next week we will have more from America East.