A month into the college baseball season and conference play in America East has arrived. Four series will get underway on Friday, UMass Lowell at Stony Brook, Maine at Binghamton, Albany at UMBC, and Hartford at NJIT. Over the next two months, these eight teams will battle it out for the regular-season title and a spot in the league postseason tournament that will take place in late May in Maine. Let’s look at where we are as the league begins.
The Albany Great Danes (9-5) are the only team that begins conference play with an above .500 record. In the four non-conference series played by the Great Danes, they won two of them, lost one to a nationally ranked team in Georgia, and split one. They lead the league in both hitting with a .298 team BA, and in pitching with a staff ERA of 4.90. They also lead in home runs with 20. They have been very good in the field committing only nine errors in their first 14 games, a .981 fielding percentage. Anthony Germinerio starts conference play with a 3-0 record, a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings, 18 SO, and nine walks. He has allowed three earned runs and has hit four batters. Anthony has given up five extra-base hits (four doubles, one home run). He should be the Friday starter for Albany. On the offensive side, Brad Malm has been ripping the cover off the ball so far. More on him a little later.
UMBC (6-9) leads the Baseball Division B as things get started. They ranked second in both team hitting (.268), and in team pitching (6.04 ERA). Luke Johnson leads the staff with a 1-0 record and a 3.15 ERA in four starts. He has pitched 20 innings, giving up 15 hits, seven earned runs allowed. 24 SO, and 11 walks. Keegan Leffler checks in with a 1-2 record, 4.50 ERA. in 18 innings, 24 hits, nine earned runs, 14 strikeouts, and only two walks. Keegan throws strikes and he has given up seven extra-base hits as well. The offense is centered around the league’s leading hitter at the moment in Myles Nicholson who is batting .467 (28-for-60) with 10 RBI and eight extra-base hits. He is also a threat on the basepaths as he has stolen 14 bases in 19 attempts.
NJIT (4-8) is the second-best defensive team in the league with 10 errors so far in 12 games played. At the plate, they have a .242 team batting average and have already struck out 132 times in 396 plate appearances. David Marcano is off to a hot start with the bat hitting .362 with an on-base of 1.006. David has struck out eight times in 47 at-bats. The staff ERA is high at 6.43 in 98 innings combined allowing 70 earned runs. The staff has already thrown 13 home run balls. Ryan Fischer has a 1-2 record with a high ERA of 6.33, 21.1 innings pitched, 25 hits, 15 earned runs, 26 SO, and eight BB. These numbers and those of the entire staff will have to improve if the Highlanders are going to defend their postseason title and get back to the NCAA tournament.
UMass Lowell (4-10) could be the team that sneaks up on everyone. Why? Because of a couple of freshmen that are producing already. Brandon Fish is off to a .278 start for the River Hawks. His on-base is .791 with two home runs and 16 RBI. He has started 13 of the 14 games UMass Lowell has played. With the loss of Vinnie Martin and Cam Clino in the middle of the River Hawk lineup, Fish was given a chance to claim one of those spots in the everyday lineup. So far, so good. On the mound freshman L.J. Keevan is already showing he could be a #1 of the future. However, if the River Hawks are going to have a good spring, two guys will need to come through. Robert Gallagher is third in the batting chase at .367 (18-for-49) with an on-base of 1.095. He is also a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases attempted. Robert has three home runs and 13 RBI so far. Gallagher is very important to this lineup at the top of it. Joshua Becker needs to be the #1 guy on the mound. So far it has been a bit of a struggle for him. He has a 1-3 record with an 8.20 ERA. In four starts he has 18.2 innings pitched, 31 hits, 17 earned runs. 10 SO, and nine walks in those innings pitched. These numbers must get better for Lowell.
The AE Player of the Week is Brad Malm of Albany. In three games last week, Malm had a slash line of .563/ .611/ 1.063. scored seven runs and drove in four more. He is the player of the week for the second time in three weeks. On the year, Malm is batting .453 with an on-base percentage of 1.538, with 10 HR and 24 RBI. He has fanned only nine times in 64 at-bats. He has also scored 23 runs. Malm is the early favorite for player of the year in America East.
The AE Pitcher of the Week is L.J. Keevan of UMass Lowell. In Saturday’s game two win over College of Charleston, Keevan improved his record to 2-1 by going six innings of one-run baseball. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk. He threw 95 pitches to get win number two on the year. In 23 total innings, Keevan has 17 SO, and five base on balls. He looks to be the Saturday starter for the River Hawks.
The America East Rookie of the Week is Maine right-hander Caleb Leys. In a start vs North Dakota State, Leys went four shutout innings and struck out seven hitters. He allowed two hits as Maine went on to win this game by a 7-0 score. They banged out 10 hits to support Leys pitching. For the season, Leys has thrown 13.1 innings, giving up six hits, four earned runs, 14 SO, and seven walks. Opponents are hitting .136 against him.
That’s a look at how the league shapes up as league play gets underway. Stay with us all season long for more from America East baseball.
- America East Conference2023.06.08America East Baseball: Three Named Collegiate Newspaper All-Americans
- ACC2023.06.07ACC Baseball: Three Teams Headed to NCAA Super Regionals
- Northeast Conference2023.06.06News from the Northeast Conference
- ACC2023.06.01ACC Baseball News & Notes: Eight Teams Called for Field of 64