March 26, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

WINNING WARRIORS: Eastern Connecticut State vaulted to No. 1 in the both the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III poll and the NCBWA/ Division III poll after starting the season with a perfect record.  

The Warriors set a program record on March 24 with a 20-13 victory over the University of Chicago as they won their 12th straight game to open the season.  In the win, sophomore Jim Schult became the sixth player in program history to hit for the cycle and tied a school mark with six hits and six runs scored in the contest.

ECSU improved on its season-opening record as the Warriors edged No. 22 Buena Vista, 7-6, on March 25.  The Warriors ended BVU’s 11 game-winning streak with the help of Schult’s 3-for-5 outing.  Schult paces the squad with a .525 batting average.
Eastern looks to extend its flawless beginning against another nationally-ranked opponent as the Warriors open the Little East Conference season against No. 10 Southern Maine on March 28.

IN THE HUNT:  Millsaps College earned its highest national ranking in school history as it slid into the No. 2 spot of the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III poll after the Majors turned in their best start in program history with a 22-3 record.

Senior outfielder Hunter Owen sparked the Majors’ offense last week, batting .615 as they won three of four games.  The native of Jackson, Miss., belted three doubles, a trip and a home run as he compiled a 1.231 slugging percentage, while driving in four runs to garner Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of Week honors.

Owen raised his batting average 42 points to a team-leading .442, and moved into third place on the school’s all-time list with 52 doubles, just four shy of the school record.

STARRING FOR STOUT: UW Stout’s Ryan Stace was on fire at the plate during the Blue Devils’ spring trip to Phoenix, Ariz., posting a .656 batting average and 11 RBI in 10 games.

The senior registered six of his hits for extra bases, compiling a .938 slugging percentage for the week as he helped the Blue Devils to a 7-3 record.  Stace knocked in the game-winning run in an 8-7 victory over Knox College on March 17, and hit safely in nine of 10 games on the trip.

Stace, who moved to the catcher’s position for the first time of his career, was perfect in the field and threw out two runners on steal attempts.  He was named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his contributions.  Stace ranks second in the nation with a .618 batting average on the year.

NOTABLE:  Wooster junior shortstop Matthew Johnson tallied six multi-hit games in seven contests last week as he batted .538 with 10 runs scored and four RBI during a 6-1 week for the Fighting Scots.  The native of Orrville, Ohio, picked up North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors for his efforts.  Wooster is No. 4 in the latest ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III poll … Millikin senior outfielder Stefan Edwards – an All-CCIW football player for the Big Blue -- is playing baseball for the first time since his freshman year when he appeared in two games.  The native of Momence, Ill., has been a sparkplug for Millikin in the first few weeks of the season, batting .500 with five doubles, six RBI, eight stolen bases and 15 runs scored.  Edwards was named the league’s Player of the Week for his outstanding comeback … York (Pa.) College’s 16-game winning streak was snapped on March 25 as Stevenson University nipped the No. 12 Spartans, 6-5, with a clutch, ninth-inning RBI-single by freshman Justin Anderson.  The remainder of the Capital Athletic Conference series continues with a doubleheader on March 28.