#3 Stonehill Continues Pursuit Of Fourth NE-10 Title Friday Against #4 Adelphi

Senior Zack Soulier will take the mound tomorrow with an opportunity to both bring the Skyhawks closer to an NE-10 title and become Stonehill's all-time wins leader.

Third-seeded Skyhawks set to take on fourth-seeded Panthers Friday at noon in Manchester, N.H.

NE-10 Baseball Championship Home Page

EASTON, Mass. (May 8, 2014) – Northeast Division third seed Stonehill College, ranked sixth in the most recent NCAA Division II East Regional Rankings, will open the double-elimination round of this weekend's Northeast-10 Conference Championship with a contest against Southwest Division fourth seed Adelphi University tomorrow at noon at Southern New Hampshire University's Penmen Field.

The winner of tomorrow's contest will take on the winner of the University of New Haven/Southern New Hampshire University matchup on Saturday at 2 p.m., with a chance to advance to Sunday's final. The two losers from tomorrow's action will meet Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in a win or go home situation.

Admission for each day of this weekend's Championship will be $6 for adults, $4 for children/senior citizens, and $1 for students with a valid NE-10 ID. Live stats and video will be available courtesy of Southern New Hampshire for those who are unable to attend.

Stonehill (29-18, 17-10 NE-10) advanced to this weekend's action by virtue of its 11-4, first round victory at second-seeded Franklin Pierce University yesterday at Pappas Field in Rindge, N.H. Junior righthander Jim Duff (Garden City, New York/Garden City) earned the win for the Skyhawks after tossing a complete game and allowing just two earned runs, while senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) powered the offense with a third-inning grand slam.

Sophomore Brian Campbell leads Stonehill this season with a .303 batting average and 14 doubles.

Senior southpaw Zack Soulier (Milford, Connecticut/Jonathan Law) will take the mound tomorrow for the Skyhawks, looking to move Stonehill one step closer to its fourth NE-10 title in program history.  Soulier went 8-2 in ten starts this season, posting a 2.24 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 17 walks in 68.1 innings of work. The second team All-NE-10 selection limited opposing hitters to a .227 average while compiling the most wins in the conference. When he takes the ball tomorrow, Soulier will also have an opportunity to become Stonehill's all-time wins leader, as he tied the mark of 23, set by Billy Sittig, '06, in the Skyhawks' 9-5 win over Merrimack College on May 2nd.

Stonehill, which finished the regular season with the seventh lowest team ERA in all of Division II (2.50), also has a number of reliable arms in its bullpen. Junior Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown), also an All-NE-10 second team selection,  tied for the top spot in the conference in the regular season with 12 saves, while also posting an ERA of 1.24 and recording 37 strikeouts in 36.1 frames. Classmate Steve Pike (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) has yet to give up an earned run in 14.2 innings of work this season.

The Skyhawks utilize a balanced offensive attack in which five players have 20+ RBI and four are hitting .280 or above. Stonehill is led at the plate by sophomores Brian Campbell (Franklin, Massachusetts/Mount Saint Charles) and Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers), who are two of four Skyhawks to start all 47 games this season. Campbell is hitting a team-best .303 with 14 doubles (1st in NE-10), three triples, 18 walks, 22 RBI, and 35 runs, while Hoyt checks in at .291 with ten doubles, two triples, 12 RBI, and 35 runs scored. Both players are also effective on the basepaths, as Hoyt has swiped a team-best 23 bags (6th in NE-10), and Campbell has been successful on 13 steal attempts.

Junior infielder Christian Baglini (Milford, Connecticut/Notre Dame High) ranks second on the team with a .294 average to go with 17 walks, 19 runs, and 25 RBI. From April 6th to April 29th, Baglini posted a career-best 16-game hitting streak, a stretch in which he hit .414 (24-for-58) with two doubles, a triple, 11 runs, and 12 RBI.

Fratus is hitting .286 with three homers, 24 RBI, 26 walks, and a team-high .399 on-base percentage, while junior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/St. Bonaventure) leads all Skyhawks with 29 RBI. Senior Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, Rhode Island/Bishop Feehan) has been a key offensive piece as well, as the All-NE-10 second team outfielder has recorded seven home runs (2nd in NE-10), eight doubles, 24 RBI, and 30 walks while stealing 17 bases and scoring 34 runs out of the leadoff spot.

Senior shortstop Dan Fratus powered Stonehill to a first round victory over Franklin Pierce yesterday with his third inning grand slam.

Adelphi (22-21, 14-12 NE-10), which earned the fourth seed from the NE-10 Southwest Division after finishing with a 10-9 record in divisional play, ousted top-seeded Southern Connecticut State University in yesterday's first round contest by a 10-4 score. The Panthers landed two players on the NE-10 All-Conference first team, junior outfielder Cliff Brantley (Staten Island, New York/Wagner College) and senior third baseman Richard Mejia (Jackson, New Jersey/Perkiomen).

Brantley won the NE-10 batting title with a .405 average this season, while also recording 10 doubles, 20 RBI, 30 runs, and 22 steals. Mejia ranked third in the NE-10 with his .390 average to go with 12 doubles, 38 RBI, and a .521 slugging percentage. Adelphi's probable starter tomorrow afternoon is freshman righthander TJ Santiago (Linden, New Jersey/Linden). In eight starts this season, the NE-10 All-Rookie team selection went 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 53 frames.

Stonehill and Adelphi met twice this season, with both games coming in a doubleheader at Lou Gorman Field on Saturday, April 5th. Stonehill won the opener, 2-1, as Soulier tossed 7.2 shutout frames, before the Panthers responded with a 9-3 victory in game two on the strength of Mejia's four-RBI effort.

The second game tomorrow will pit the top seed from the Northeast Division, Southern New Hampshire, against the second seed from the Southwest Division, New Haven. Stonehill and New Haven did not meet this season, but the Penmen took two of three from the Skyhawks.

Southern New Hampshire is led by first team All-NE-10 senior outfielder Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Massachusetts/East Bridgewater), who hit .317 with 17 RBI and 41 runs this season, while freshman closer Benjamin Criscuolo (Branford, Connecticut/Xavier) earned Co-Rookie of the Year honors after going 5-0 with 12 saves and a 0.59 ERA in 30.2 frames.

New Haven boasts a pair of All-Conference first team selections, junior first baseman Zach Collett (Westbrook, Maine/Westbrook) and senior utility player Brendon Buckley (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk). Collett led the Chargers with his .377 batting average to go with 11 doubles and 33 RBI this season, while Buckley ranked second at .364 with nine doubles, four homers, 21 RBI, and 36 runs. Junior lefthander Joey Royer (Westbrook, Maine/Cheverus) anchored New Haven's pitching staff with a 3-1 record and a 2.25 ERA in 48 frames.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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