May 5, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

‘CATS POUNCE: Wayne State (Neb.) claimed its sixth straight Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title with a sweep at Minnesota, Crookston last weekend, while head coach John Manganaro registered his 500th career victory on May 3.

The weekend was highlighted by a combined no-hitter by John Snyder and Reid Lancaster in a 16-0 victory on Sunday for just the Wildcats’ third no-hitter in school history, and first since 2001. 

Offensively, junior Joe Wendte was the story, batting .714 with four home runs, 20 RBI and 14 runs scored in a 6-0 week.  The native of South Sioux City, Neb., picked up his third NSIC Player of the Week award for his contributions.  In the series against Crookston, Wendte knocked in a game-high eight runs in the 16-0 win on Sunday.

WSC improved to in NSIC play, giving the No. 18 Wildcats the most wins ever for a conference baseball team in league play, surpassing the Wayne State’s 2007 squad that posted a 25-5 mark in league games. Manganaro is now 500-305-1 (.620) in 17 years at the helm of the program.

PIRATES’ BOUNTY: Armstrong Atlantic State climbed into the Collegiate Baseball Division II poll at No. 22 for the first time this season after sweep Lander to conclude the regular season last week.

The Pirates are now 38-17 despite starting the season with a 6-8 mark thanks to an 11-1 finish to the regular season and an 18-game winning streak in March. AASU is one of five Peach Belt Conference teams in the national rankings.

Senior right-hander Jeff Chase tossed a complete-game four-hitter to open the Lander series, striking out seven batters to earn PBC Pitcher of the Week honors.  The native of Albuquerque, N.M., retired the first nine batters in the nine-inning contest.

AASU is the No. 5 seed in the PBC Tournament beginning May 9 against North Georgia – a team the Pirates lost two of three games to this season.

HE’S A HIT: Abilene Christian shortstop Willie Uechi made his Lone Star Conference-leading 90th hit of the season count on May 4 as he belted the game-winning RBI-single in a 5-4 victory against Tarleton State to advance the Wildcats to the championship round of the league tournament.

Uechi, a native of San Antonio, Texas, paces the squad with a .411 batting average, and was recently named the LSC’s first-team shortstop.

The No. 14 Wildcats, who have not won the LSC title since 2002, will vie for the title against Angelo State on May 5 in the conclusion of the double-elimination tournament.

WHEN IT COUNTS: Franklin Pierce clinched its third Northeast-10 Conference title in the last four years, earning the top seed in the league tournament, as well as hosting rights for the double-elimination portion of the championship.

Junior right-hander Kyle Vazquez hurled a 10-inning, three-hit shutout as the Ravens edged UMass-Lowell, 1-0, to earn the regular season title.  The native of Berlin, Conn., struck out a career-high 15 batters, earning NE-10 Pitcher of the Week recognition. 

The Ravens received a bye in the first round, and will begin tournament play in the semifinals on May 8.

CHARGING ON:  Dominican College put together a 7-1 record last week as the Chargers claimed the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular season title, advancing to the league tournament for the fifth straight season.  The Chargers, who are ranked No. 1 in the East Region, have won 20 of their last 21 games.

Sophomore designated hitter Michael Munoz sparked the Chargers offensively with a .480 batting average, 12 RBI, seven runs scored, three doubles and a home run to garner CACC Player of the Week honors.

The Chargers look to secure the CACC Tournament title this weekend, beginning with a contest against Nyack on May 7.