CAA Baseball Weekly Report - April 22
Colby Roberts, James Madison
Sr., OF, Benton, Ark./Benton
Roberts batted .667 (12-18) with four doubles, two homers, seven runs scored and 15 RBI’s in JMU’s 4-1 week. He was 4-4 with two homers and 5 RBI’s in a win over Radford and drove in six runs in the opener vs. GSU last Saturday. Roberts, who is riding an 11-game hitting streak, entered last week with only seven RBI’s for the season.
CAA BASEBALL PITCHERS OF THE WEEK:
Chris Huffman, James Madison
So., RHP, Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance
Huffman was 1-0 with three saves and a 0.00 ERA in four relief appearances last week. He allowed just four hits over 6.0 innings. Huffman threw the final 3.0 frames to get a win vs. GSU last Saturday and saved tight games vs. Radford, Longwood and GSU.
Bryan Verbitsky, Hofstra
Jr., RHP, Levittown, N.Y./Island Trees
Verbitsky was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances last week. He allowed just one hit over 8.2 innings and struck out nine. Verbitsky threw a career-high 7.1 innings of one-hit ball against Delaware, striking out six and retiring 22 of the 23 batters he faced.
Ryan Yarbrough, Old Dominion
Jr., LHP, Lakeland, Fla./All Saints
Yarbrough threw a complete-game, 4-hit shutout in ODU’s 1-0 victory over William & Mary on Sunday. The junior, who struck out four, retired 17 straight batters at one point before giving up a single in the ninth. He evened his record at 3-3 for the season.
CAA BASEBALL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Josh Merrigan, Georgia State
Fr., OF, Marietta, Ga./Walton
Merrigan batted .333 (6-18) with three runs scored and two RBI’s in Georgia State’s 2-2 week. He had at least one hit in all four games and drove in two runs in the Panthers’ 14-12 victory over JMU. He leads all CAA freshmen in batting (.341) for the season.
DELAWARE (26-12, 11-7 in CAA)
The Blue Hens defeated Villanova 8-3 to win the Liberty Bell Classic, but dropped two of three at Hofstra. Jimmy Yezzo, who leads the nation with a .459 average, hit .589 (10-17) with a double, two homers and nine RBI’s last week. He had multiple hits in all four games. Brock Niggebrugge was named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is given to the nation’s top shortstop. Joe Giacchino batted .450 last week after three 3-hit games. Pitcher Dan Gatto limited Villanova to two earned runs on seven hits over 8.0 innings and fanned seven. Ken Fetchko gave up just one hit in 4.0 scoreless innings out of the pen on Sunday and Stephen Richter threw 4.1 shutout frames on Saturday.
GEORGE MASON (13-28, 5-16 in CAA)
The Patriots went 0-5 last week, which included tough one-run losses to Georgetown and UMBC before being swept by first-place UNCW. Junior outfielder Josh Leemhuis was a bright spot offensively, batting .571 (12-21) with four doubles, a triple, seven RBI’s and five runs scored. He was 3-for-5 against GU and UMBC and was 6-for-11 in the UNCW series. Pitcher Jared Gaynor limited UNCW to three earned runs and eight hits over 8.0 innings on Friday but suffered the loss. Tanner Love threw 3.1 shutout innings of relief on Saturday.
GEORGIA STATE (26-16, 6-9 in CAA)
The Panthers topped Kennesaw State 3-2 in 10 innings, but lost two-of-three at JMU in CAA play. Chase Raffield batted .467 (7-15) with two homers and five RBI’s. He drove in four of those runs in GSU’s 14-12 triumph in the opening game of the GSU series. Chad Prain had his streak of 37 straight games reaching base come to an end, but is still hitting .418 with 41 RBI’s. Freshman Matt Rose earned his fifth save and has a 1.32 ERA in 13 appearances. GSU has won 10 of its last 13 games and has a 4.29 team ERA in that stretch. The Panthers’ last eight games have been decided by a total of 11 runs.
HOFSTRA (20-21, 8-10 in CAA)
The Pride went 3-1 last week, including a CAA series victory over Delaware. Jared Hammer batted .438 (7-16) with a double, homer and six RBI’s. He was 3-for-5 with a game-tying double in Saturday’s 4-3 13-inning win over UD and has reached base in 20 straight games. Kenny Jackson has reached base in 25 straight contests. Bryan Verbitsky allowed just one hit in 8.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen last week and fanned nine. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances. Hofstra’s pitching staff limited UD to a .266 batting average. Nick Kozkowski held the Hens to three runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings in his first start since March 13. He struck out five in the outing.
JAMES MADISON (18-21, 8-12 in CAA)
The Dukes went 4-1 last week to end an 11-game slide, beating Radford and Longwood before taking two-of-three from GSU. Colby Roberts batted .667 (12-18) with four doubles, two homers, seven runs scored and 15 RBI’s last week after entering the week with 7 RBI’s for the year. He’s riding an 11-game hitting streak. Connor Brown batted .471 for the week, including .636 with 8 runs scored in the GSU series. Brown became the first JMU player in 13 years to hit for the cycle in the opener vs. GSU. Johnny Bladel batted .450 last week and raised his on base percentage to .518 for the season. Reliever Chris Huffman was 1-0 with three saves and a 0.00 ERA last week. He gave up just four hits in 6.0 innings. Freshman J.T. Root earned his first collegiate win after allowing one hit and one run in 4.0 innings of relief against Longwood.
UNCW (30-11, 12-2 in CAA)
The Seahawks, who are ranked #23 by Baseball America this week, topped rival East Carolina 7-2 before expanding their lead atop the CAA standings with a sweep at George Mason. Ryan LaGrange batted .722 (13-18) with three doubles and six RBI’s. He’s hitting .537 during his current 10-game hitting streak. Michael Bass hit .647 (11-17) with four doubles, five runs scored and five RBI’s. He also stole four bases to up his season total to 19 and extended his on base streak to 37 games. UNCW’s pitching staff compiled a 2.00 ERA last week while limiting opponents to a .237 average. Mat Batts (6-2) limited Mason to one earned run over. 5.0 innings and fanned seven. Jack Lane allowed just two hits over 5.2 innings. UNCW is 36-6 in CAA play over the past two seasons.
NORTHEASTERN (22-15, 7-8 in CAA)
The Huskies earned a 10-6 victory over Fairfield in their only game last week. Sophomore Rob Fonseca went 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI’s as NU rallied from a 4-1 deficit. Fonseca has 13 multi-hit games and has hit safely in 29 of 37 contests. Aaron Barbosa is second in the CAA with 20 stolen bases this season and is three away from NU’s all-time steals record of 66. Connor Lyons has a hit in 28 games this season and has reached base safely in 33 of 37 games. The Huskies host Georgia State this weekend.
OLD DOMINION (21-18, 11-10 in CAA)
The Monarchs rebounded from losses at Liberty and Virginia by sweeping a three-game CAA series over William & Mary. Josh Eldridge batted .455 with eight RBI’s for the week. He drove in the winning runs in Friday’s 6-5 victory over the Tribe and had a grand slam and five RBI’s in Saturday’s 10-1 win. Ben Verlander is now hitting .402 with eight homers and 22 RBI’s in CAA play. On the mound, Ryan Yarbrough (3-3) threw a complete-game 4-hit shutout in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over W&M. He retired 17 straight batters at one point. Andy Roberts (3-3) held the Tribe to five hits over 7.0 shutout innings on Saturday. ODU faces VCU in the Key Dog Strikeout Cancer Game on April 23 in Hampton.
TOWSON (19-19, 9-6 in CAA)
The Tigers dropped extra-inning games at Bucknell (5-4 in 11) and George Washington (10-9 in 10) last week. Towson is now 2-8 in one-run contests and 1-4 in extra inning affairs. Junior Kurt Wertz has at least one RBI in the last seven games and has four homers and 13 RBI’s during that stretch. Towson leads the nation with 54 double plays in 38 games. Towson entertains Maryland on Wednesday before hosting a three-game CAA series with first-place UNCW.
WILLIAM & MARY (26-16, 9-6 in CAA)
The Tribe picked up a 7-6 victory over Richmond but fell into a tie for third in the CAA after being swept in a three-game series at Old Dominion. Sophomore pitcher Jason Inghram suffered a tough loss in Sunday’s 1-0 loss at ODU after giving up just one run on seven hits over 8.0 innings. He struck out eight. Ryan Lindemuth was 3-for-5 with three RBI’s in the win over Richmond, while leadoff hitter Ryan Brown was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. The Tribe hosts George Mason in a three-game series this weekend.