Final 2013 CAA Baseball Report
CAA TEAMS POST FOUR WINS IN NCAA REGIONALS: The CAA’s three teams combined for four wins in the NCAA Baseball Regionals, which was the most NCAA victories for the conference since 2001. William & Mary went 2-2 and advanced to the Raleigh Regional finals. The Tribe defeated Ole Miss twice for their first wins ever in NCAA play, but suffered a pair of losses to host N.C. State. Towson defeated Florida Atlantic 7-2 in its opening game in the Chapel Hill Regional before dropping contests to host North Carolina and FAU. UNCW topped Army 9-5 in an elimination game, but fell twice to Elon.
11 PLAYERS SELECTED IN MLB DRAFT: Eleven CAA players were picked in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Hofstra pitcher Bryan Verbitsky was chosen in the 3rd round (86 overall) by the San Diego Padres, which was the highest selection ever for a Pride player. Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo went in the 7th round (226) to the Washington Nationals, followed by Blue Hens’ pitcher Chad Kuhl in the 9th round (269) to the Pittsburgh Pirates. UNCW pitcher Justin Livengood was selected in the 10th round (298) by the Padres. Other selections were ODU outfielder Ben Verlander (14th rd - 426 - Detroit Tigers), Delaware pitcher Matt Soren (19th rd - 571 - Philadelphia Phillies), William & Mary infielder Ryan Lindemuth (20th rd - 599 - Pittsburgh Pirates), ODU pitcher Ryan Yarbrough (20th rd - 602 - Milwaukee Brewers), W&M pitcher John Farrell (21st rd - 638 - Tampa Bay Rays), UNCW infielder Michael Bass (27th rd - 808 - San Diego Padres) and Delaware outfielder Nick Ferdinand (35th rd - 1,051 - Philadelphia Phillies).
FIVE PLAYERS NAMED TO ALL-REGIONAL TEAMS: Five CAA players were honored for their performances at three different NCAA Regionals. W&M catcher Ryan Hissey and pitcher Brett Koehler were named to the Raleigh All-Regional team, UNCW designated hitter Corey Dick and outfielder Tyler Molinaro made the Charlottesville All-Regional team and Towson pitcher Mike Volpe was chosen to the Chapel Hill All-Regional squad.
THREE CAA TEAMS EARN NCAA BERTHS: For the first time since 2001, three CAA baseball teams earned berths in the NCAA Baseball Championship. CAA champion Towson was joined by at-large selections UNCW and William & Mary. Towson made its first NCAA appearance since 1991 and third overall. The Tigers have gone 1-2 all three NCAA trips (1988, 1991, 2013). UNCW made its sixth NCAA appearance since 2003 and its third as an at-large selection. The Seahawks are now 9-12 all-time in the NCAA Championship after going 1-2 this year. UNCW reached the regional finals in 2003, 2004 and 2008. W&M made its third NCAA trip and its first as an at-large selection. The Tribe reached the Raleigh Regional finals after beating Ole Miss twice for their first ever NCAA wins.
SEVEN TEAMS REACH 30-WIN MARK: For the first time in CAA history, seven teams reached the 30-win mark. William & Mary led the way with a school-record 39 victories, followed by UNCW (38), Georgia State (35), Delaware (33), Northeastern (31), Old Dominion (30) and Towson (30).
FOUR RECEIVE ALL-AMERICA HONORS: Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo, UNCW second baseman Michael Bass, ODU outfielder Ben Verlander and Towson designated hitter Kurt Wertz earned All-America honors. Yezzo was named to the Louisville Slugger All-America first team and the Baseball America third team. Bass was chosen to the Baseball American second team and the Louisville Slugger and NBCWA third teams. Yezzo is the first UD player to be chosen as a first-team All-American since 1988 and Bass is UNCW’s first All-American since 2008. Verlander and Wertz were both selected to the NCBWA All-America third team.
COACHING AWARDS: Towson’s Mike Gottlieb was chosen as the ABCA East Region Coach of the Year after guiding the Tigers to their first CAA championship while William & Mary’s Jamie Pinzino was named Coach of the Year in the state of Virginia by VASID after leading the Tribe to a school-record 39 wins.
FIVE CAA PLAYERS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS: Five CAA basebal players were chosen to the Capital One Academic All-America squad. Earning first-team honors were Hofstra senior pitcher Joe Burg and Towson graduate student third baseman Zach Fisher. Making the second team were Georgia State senior catcher Scott Sarratt, UNCW senior second baseman Michael Bass and UNCW junior third baseman Ryan LaGrange.
THREE NAMED FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICANS: Georgia State outfielder Josh Merrigan and infielder/pitcher Matt Rose were selected to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team, while William & Mary catcher Ryan Hissey was chosen to Baseball America's Freshman All-America second team. Merrigan batted .353 with 15 doubles, four homers, 52 runs scored and 36 RBI. Rose hit .283 with four homers and 32 RBI and was 3-2 on the mound with five saves and a 2.55 ERA. Hissey batted .281 with 37 runs scored and 36 RBI.
TOWSON CAPTURES FIRST CAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Senior Mike Volpe threw his first career complete game and designated hitter Kurt Wertz drove in three runs as fourth-seeded Towson captured its first CAA baseball championship with a 5-2 victory over #2 William & Mary. The Tigers finished the tournament 4-0 to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991. Volpe (9-3) allowed just seven hits in the game, including just one over five shutout innings to close the contest. He struck out six and walked two. Wertz hit his team-leading 13th homer in the first and then had a two-run triple in the ninth that gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game.
OFFENSES DOMINATE CAA TOURNAMENT: Offenses dominated the 2013 CAA Baseball Championship. The six teams in the event combined for a .352 batting average, with tournament finalists Towson (.406) and William & Mary (.405) leading the way. There were 191 runs scored over the 10 games, with Towson and W&M plating 47 apiece. Conversely, the six teams combined for an 8.88 earned run average in the tournament, with Northeastern (6.60) the only squad with an ERA under 7.60. Individually, W&M’s Ryan Lindemuth batted .647 (11-17) with four doubles, two homers and 12 RBI and NU’s Jason Vosler hit .591 (13-22) with seven RBI and nine runs scored. Towson’s Zach Fisher, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, batted .476 with three homers and 10 RBI and TU’s Dominic Fratantuono hit .600 with two HR’s and seven RBI.
HITS RECORD TOPPED TWICE IN A DAY: The CAA tournament record of 38 hits by both teams combined was broken twice in one day. William & Mary (22) and James Madison (23) combined for 45 hits in the Tribe’s 20-19 walk-off win, and Towson (23) and W&M (17) combined for 40 hits in the Tigers’ 20-13 triumph. In the W&M/JMU game, there were also a record 13 hit batters.
YEZZO, BATTS HEADLINE ALL-CAA TEAM: Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo was named the CAA Player of the Year and UNCW left-hander Mat Batts was chosen as the CAA Pitcher of the Year in voting by the league’s head coaches. Yezzo, who was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Awards, batted a league-best .410 with 28 doubles, 13 home runs and 64 RBI. Batts was 9-4 with a 3.47 ERA. He led the conference with 114 strikeouts and six complete games. William & Mary’s Jamie Pinzino and UNCW’s Mark Scalf shared CAA Coach of the Year honors, Towson catcher Andrew Parker was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year and Georgia State outfielder Josh Merrigan was the Rookie of the Year.
YEZZO TOPS ALL-ECAC SQUAD: Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo was chosen as the ECAC Division I Eastern Player of the Year. Yezzo was joined on the All-ECAC first team by Towson designated hitter Kurt Wertz, Delaware outfielder Nick Ferdinand and William & Mary pitcher John Farrell.