Junior middies Devine and Fresen named honorable mention
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University junior midfielders Mike Devine (Cheshire) and Tyler Fresen (Newington) have been selected to the 2013 USILA Division III All-America honorable mention men's lacrosse team.
At left: Mike Devine
The honor is the second in as many years for Devine, the team's second-leading goal-scorer and third-leading point-producer in 2013. Devine, a three-time All-Little East Conference selection and 2013 LEC playoff MVP, had 36 goals, 17 assists and 53 points in leading the Warriors to their second straight conference playoff title and NCAA tournament berth this spring and final overall record of 10-8 and final No. 8 ranking in the New England Division III poll.
Fresen, a two-time All-LEC selection used a second-half surge to finish first on the team in assists (26), second in points (57) and fourth in goals (31). The goal and point totals this year were the highest in his three-year career.
The pair were the only All-America selections out of the Little East Conference.
Below: Tyler Fresen
"I'm extremely proud of the efforts of Mike and Tyler," praised sixth-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel (71-36 record). "They both worked extremely hard last off-season, and have already set even loftier goals for the 2014 season. They are both great leaders, athletes, and incredible people who help continue to mold the "family" culture of Eastern lacrosse. Provided that we continue to stay focused and work hard as a team," noted Axel, "it will be a very exciting next year as we return two senior All-Americas."
In addition to repeating All-America honors, Devine repeated as a first-team ECAC New England All-Star (only one team was selected in 2013), released today. Devine was one of three midfielders named to the 13-person team, sharing midfield honors with seniors Andrew Fiamengo of No. 6 nationally-ranked Tufts University and Andrew Metros of No. 10-ranked Middlebury College.
This year, Devine ended the season with five multiple-goal matches to give him 13 in 18 matches. He totaled five goals in LEC playoff victories over Western Connecticut State University and Keene State College en route to LEC playoff MVP accolades. Against Keene, the 6-foot-3 inch, 220-pound Devine scored the tying and go-ahead goals a minute apart in the final six minutes.
Devine holds the Eastern record by scoring in 23 consecutive matches dating from early in his sophomore season to mid-March of this year. After three seasons, he ranks eighth all-time in goals (111) and 12th in points (147).
Fresen totaled eight goals and ten points in the first two matches of the season but managed only nine goals and nine assists in the next nine matches before striking for 14 goals and dishing out 15 assists in the last seven matches of the season which produced a 6-1 record.
Fresen heads into his senior season ranked sixth all-time with 75 assists and tied for 14th with 131 points.
A total of 146 players nationwide were voted to either the first, second, third or honorable mention All-America teams. Sixteen players were named to each of the first, second and third teams, and 98 were named honorable mention. Devine and Fresen were among six players from New England institutions selected among 28 honorable mention midfielders.
Eastern has had 14 All-America players since 1999.Prior to Devine this year, four Eastern players had gained the All-America award in back-to-back seasons: defenseman Shanon Sligo (1999-00), long-stick midfielder Pat Ammendolia (2002-03), attack Marc DiGiovanni (2002-03), and faceoff midfielder Eric Vasil (2010-11).
Andre Reynolds (above) broke the Eastern Connecticut State University men's outdoor track and field record in the qualifying round of the 110 meter hurdles on the first day of the 2013 ECAC Championships Thursday at Blake Track on the campus of Springfield College. Reynolds was timed in 15.00, breaking by .11 the three-year-old record set by Tyler Edwardsen at the New England Open. Others competing for Eastern Friday at the ECAC Championships were Lauren Hultzman (5-2 1/2), who missed All-ECAC honors by one place in a ninth-place finish in the long jump; Cora Gingras (5-0 1/2), who was 20th in the high jump; Luisantonio Rosado (56.48), who was 19th in the 400 hurdles; Fredrick Hewett (49.88), 20th in the 400, Akaya McElveen (1:00.36), 31st in the 400, and Nikki Chambers (2:26.58), 37th in the 800.
She becomes program's first to gain first-team recognition at 3B
Photos by Courtney Weber
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) has become the first third baseman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors when she repeated national honors at that position by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA).
A second-team All-America selection at third base as a junior, Cooper becomes the program's first first-team All-America selection at third base in the program's 37-year history and is the first full-time position player to earn first-team honors since outfielder Leanne Shoop in 1990.
"Arielle has made her mark on Eastern softball -- one which she deserves -- and one which I believe makes her best third baseman ever at Eastern," noted 12th-year Eastern head coach Diana Pepin. "She is a tremendous athlete who was driven to be successful. She was a competitor, with the heart of a champion. Our program has been elevated because of her work ethic and passion for the sport," added Pepin of Cooper, who set numerous season and career records this season en route to first-team NFCA All-New England Region honors for the second straight season and 2013 Little East Conference Player-of-the-Year and Eastern Female Athlete-of-the-Year plaudits. "What Arielle has done this season in terms of hitting is unbelievable, and being regarded as one of the best in the country is truly an honor."
Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629), runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set in 2012.
After setting the current consecutive game hitting streak of 33 as a junior, Cooper hit safely in 26 games this year. After failing to hit safely in one game that stopped her 33-game streak in 2012, Cooper had a hit in each of the team's final four games that year and in the first 26 this year, giving her at least one hit in 63 of 64
games in that stretch.
Cooper finished as the program's all-time leader in career batting (.406) and slugging average (.739), on-base percentage (.474), hits (221), runs (176), doubles (40), home runs (40), and total bases (403), was second in games (177), at-bats (545), and assists (310), third in RBI (129), and fourth in walks (68). Her assist total is the highest among fulltime third baseman.
Through regional tournament competition, Cooper is ranked second nationally in Division III in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in home runs, home runs per game and batting, sixth in runs per game and seventh in walks and toughest to strike out. Cooper fanned twice in 170 plate appearances this season.
The four-year starter appeared in all 177 games in her career, starting all 89 in each of her two All-America seasons and all but two in her career. She helped the team average 36.5 wins per game and compile an overall record of 146-30-1 (83.0 percent), qualify for three NCAA tournaments, win two regional titles and compete in two national tournaments, capture four Little East Conference regular-season (51-5 record) and three LEC tournament championships.
Senior closer voted New England's No. 1 pitcher for 2013
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior right-handed relief pitcher Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) has been voted Division III Pitcher-of-the-Year by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA), it has been announced today.
The selection helps cap a steady climb through a four-year career which began with exclusive work on the sub-varsity pitcher as a freshman to his selection as Division III New England's No. 1 pitcher. As a first-team selection, Purnell is eligible for ABCA All-America consideration when that team is released next Thursday, May 23. Purnell is also eligible to compete in the annual New England All-Star Game in June.
A total of 52 players were voted to the All-New England team: 15 on the first team, 18 on the second, and 19 on the third. Purnell was one of four pitchers named to the first team, which included seven players from the Little East Conference.
Previously named as the relief pitcher on the All-LEC first team, Purnell appeared in 29 of the team's 44 contests this year. His appearance total established season records for both appearances and relief appearances in a season. The 6-foot-2 inch, 200-pounder was 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA and nine saves (third-most in New England) and 51 strikeouts and only five walks in 38.2 innings. He shared the staff lead in wins and topped all pitchers in ERA and saves, the latter category one shy of the season record.
This season marked the first as the team's fulltime closer for Purnell, who did not have a save in 37 relief appearances throughout his sophomore and junior seasons. He was 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 30.0 innings over 20 relief appearances as a sophomore, and 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 34.0 innings over 19 appearances (17 in relief) as a junior.
This year, Purnell gave up earned runs in only six appearances, surrendering more than one in a game only once. He struck out 17 batters before issuing his first walk in his ninth appearance and recorded saves in three consecutive games in mid-April in conference victories over Western Connecticut State University and in both ends of road sweep at Rhode Island College.
In his career, Purnell appeared in 68 games - fourth-most among pitchers in program-history - with an 8-4 record, nine saves, a 2.89 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 102 2/3 innings.
Purnell becomes the program's third NEIBA Pitcher-of-the-Year, following Ryan DiPietro in 2004 and 2005.
In 2013, Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.
Though contrasting in style, Monroe natives remain 'blood brothers'
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
Editor's Note: This question-and-answer is with brothers Drew and Dean Accomando. Drew played four years of baseball - serving as a team captain this past spring - before graduating with honors last night (Tuesday, May 14) with a degree in Health and Physical Education. A Sport & Leisure Management major, Dean recently completed his second season with the lacrosse program and has been part of Little East Conference championships each year. The Accomandos, born 28 months apart (Dean turns 20 next week), played a variety of sports together while growing up in Monroe (the family has since moved to Shelton) and were football teammates at Masuk High School. While both consider football to be among their favorite activities while growing up, Drew settled on baseball in college. Dean followed his brother to Eastern two years later, choosing lacrosse.
While the theory of 'sibling rivalry' may have its genesis with the Accomandos - the debate as to which is the better all-around athlete rages on - the brothers are in undeniable agreement that their college experience was enhanced and enriched by daily interaction for the past two years.
This is the third of a four-part series focusing upon sibling athletes at Eastern, following previous installments documenting swimming sisters Colleen and Katie King of Barkhamsted, and lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook. The final installment will be a story about the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which included three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann (the second and third Fechtmanns to play lacrosse at Eastern), and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.
Were you two inseparable growing up?
Dean: "No, we weren't really good friends until high school. He used to beat me up a little bit.
Drew: "I mean, we had our ups and downs but if we ever needed to go to the backyard and play a couple of sports, he was my guy. When we'd go ride a go-cart around, he was in the passenger seat all the time. We were best friends, but enemies."
Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Dean: "Our entire lives."
Drew: "Yeah, we were the only two out of our family to ever have to share a bedroom. It isn't easy sleeping on the top bunk over somebody you know. He steps on you when he comes down and he's waking me up."
Dean: "I like the TV on and he likes it off."
What kind of things do you both like to do together?
Dean: "We like to work out."
Drew: "We exercise together; we go fishing together."
Dean: "Video games."
Drew: "Yeah and we go to the supermarket together because we live together so we got to go shopping and get the food. Maybe like a drive to go somewhere if someone needs something."
Dean: "We party together."
Drew: "Yeah we go out together and meet new people."
What kind of things do you both have in common?
Dean: "We both played football our entire lives, and I used to play baseball up until about high school and switched to lacrosse."
Drew: "Football was probably both of our favorite sports growing up. That's what really kind of brought us together and separated us from my other brother and sister, because all we ever wanted to do was to go outside and tackle one another. In common, I'd say watch each other play sports because I would never want to miss one of his hockey games or football games in high school and he'd never want to miss one of my games when I played."
Dean: "Yeah I try to get to every single one of his baseball games I can. It's hard, because we practice at the same time but I usually make it to the last few innings that I can."
Drew: "For things together, pretty much everything, anything I do, I can do with him, too."
In what ways are you alike and in what ways are you different?
Dean: "One: the hair."
Drew: "He's got long hair and a beard and I'm clean cut and shave."
Dean: "I've always had the longer hair and the beard. Also, I'm the only one to play hockey and lacrosse in the family and I also have the tattoos."
Drew: "Yeah he's got tattoos, long hair and a beard and I don't have any tattoos and I have short hair. I play baseball and he plays lacrosse, kind of the opposite. I played basketball and he played hockey."
Dean: "I grew up in a big baseball family where my oldest brother went to play at Division I UConn and I wanted to take my own path."
In what ways would your parents or friends say you both are alike and what ways would they say you are different?
Drew: "Well he's napping on the couch and I'm in the gym, that's what they say. Nah, he's getting better now. I'd say that we're so passionate about sports and life like bettering yourself everyday like we both wake up with a mission. Whether it's we've got to get bigger, faster, stronger today or I got to go to the library to get x, y, and z done, definitely work ethic, determination, perseverance."
Dean: "Our difference I think would be academically, though."
Drew: "Yeah, academics."
Dean: "He's been blowing it out of the water."
Drew: "Yeah, I want to get straight A's and he's fine with getting B's and C's."
Dean: "It took me a little longer to get adjusted to college, so I'm figuring it out now and steadily improving."
When you both were in high school or junior high, did you both ever talk of maybe playing the same sport or just attending the same college?
Drew: "I would say football for a while. We always wanted to play on the same football team."
Dean: "The only time that was ever going to happen was high school because he's two years older than me, two grades above me."
Drew: "I got hurt a little bit in high school in football so I couldn't play anymore so that kind of shot that out of the water but I think that all along we always talked about one of us being a running back, one being a linebacker on the other team. I think we wanted to play football together but we took our own paths."
Dean: "College-wise, I ended up making a decision one, basically (Eastern) was close (to home)and two, it helped me having Drew here because I wasn't that great in school and I knew that if I needed help or had a question on my classes, he would be there for me. And now we live in the same building off campus."
Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college or did they leave it entirely up to you two?
Drew: "They definitely left it to us, for sure. I think it just influenced him a little bit that the adjustments at college would be easier with his older brother there. I had a bunch of friends on campus, I knew the ins and outs of Eastern, I would be a junior so I've been here for two years, so I think it was comforting for them to know that he was going to go to Eastern so they sort of pushed him in that aspect and once that he showed that he wanted to go, they gave us the option 100 percent."
Dean: "And also it makes it easier for (our parents). Now they can come to one school to see one of our games. Last weekend I had a lacrosse game and he had two baseball games and they were able to watch our games."
Why did the two of you choose Eastern?
Drew: "I chose Eastern a while ago because it was a good fit for me to play baseball, go to school to get a good academic degree, and play at a very competitive program."
Dean: "I think it was fitting for me because he was here. I got in a few schools but this was 1. economically better, cheaper, in-state, got some good financial aid, and 2. He was here, it was close, I had the ability to play a Division III sport and compete. That was also good it was at a high level and it's a pretty good team."
What do you guys do to each other that get you angry at one another?
Drew: "Tell the other one..."
Dean "... to do something."
Drew: "If I say 'Dean clean the dishes', I might have a plate flying at the back of my head. Pretty much if he tells me something to do or if I tell him something to do, it's like stepping on each other's toes. It doesn't work very well."
Dean: "Yeah, we got to work on our own clocks."
Who is the better all-around athlete?
Drew: "I am."
Dean: "No way."
Dean: "He's definitely bigger and stronger (but) I don't know about faster anymore."
Drew: "He played more sports and he was a three-sport athlete in high school and I only played two sports in high school. I played baseball, football and he played football, hockey and lacrosse."
Dean: Yeah, and I played baseball that covered up my whole life."
Drew: "He played more sports, but when it comes down to the little guy throwing the Frisbee or bean bag toss I have, but he played three sports in high school and he has more sport experience under his belt I'd say."
What do you do better than Dean?
Drew: "What do I do better than Dean?...I have consistent time-managing schedules."
Dean: "That's for dang sure."
Drew: "I think that comes with being older. I can wake up every day and know what I'm going to get done, what time I'm going to the gym, and what time I got to study. I think he wakes up and he's still got to figure it out."
What do you do better than Drew?
Dean: "Probably the best napper in the family. No."
Drew: "I think you're better with your friends, like caring about your friends."
Dean: "I care about hanging with my friends more, keeping in touch and keeping close relationships and stuff like that. I'm kind of more free-going like whatever comes up or if I think of it I'll do it. I usually don't have a set schedule and I do as I please."
How much contact do the two of you have in an ordinary day at school?
Drew: "Since we live together, a lot of contact. But say we didn't live together, because we didn't live together last year, almost every single day. We had to talk every day. Maybe there'd be a day or two where we wouldn't. I would say like one to two times a day saying 'what are you doing', 'you got any food', 'what are you doing later', 'you have work to do', 'what time's this game', 'what time's that game', talk about the family a little bit with what's going on."
Dean: "This year it's multiple times a day. Whether it's texting, phone calls, seeing each other..."
Drew: "...if he's locked out of the house."
Dean: "Or 'Yo, make me food? No'"
What do you guys both like best about Eastern?
Drew: "I like the ability to see my friends every day, play a sport and still get a good degree. It allows me to manage all areas of my life. If we had a bigger school, I'd be too consumed with the friends and what-not and wouldn't be able to focus on my sport. It's just a smaller together community so it allows you to have friends, play a sport, and go to school."
Dean: "I definitely like the fact that the size of the classes at Eastern, some aren't too big and you can actually get one-on-one help with teachers in your class if you needed it. That's helpful sometimes because I need that one-on-one help. Also, I like the fact that I have so many friends here and I get to see them all the time, where as in a big school you'd have to call them to hang out. Here, I can be walking in the student center or walking to class or walking home and I can say "what up' to them. It's a lot closer, it's more down to earth, the campus is pretty nice and I like that."
What are your plans for next year? As Drew will be graduating and you'll be the only one here, how do you feel about that?
Dean: "It's going to be different. I'm not going to have too many people to turn to if I've got something to talk to. There is always phones but it's a lot easier if I could just walk upstairs and go talk to him. It's going to be definitely different because I'm going to be the only one coming back to the house because all my roommates are seniors. I'm going to have a fresh group of friends, they're on the lacrosse team and stuff, but it's going to be different not being able to go upstairs and talk to him or having him to go to the grocery store or something like that. It's going to be different, I think it's going to be good, but at the same time I'm probably going to miss him leaving."
Darby, Purnell, Vaccarelli and Lynch are all first-time honorees
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Senior pitchers Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) and Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) of Eastern Connecticut State University have been selected to the Little East Conference all-conference first team and have been joined by second-team infielders Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), both juniors, it was announced today.
Darby, a lefty, was one of two starting pitchers named to the first team, while Purnell, a righty, was tabbed as the first-team relief pitcher. Lynch was selected as one of two shortstops on the second team ,while Vaccarelli was the second-team all-conference third base.
All four are first-time all-conference honorees.
Darby and Purnell shared the staff lead in wins, with six, with both pitchers losing one decision. Darby led all starters with a 2.97 ERA, while Purnell's 1.63 ERA topped all pitchers on the staff. Darby also led the staff with 67 strikeouts (against just 16 walks) and shared the team lead with 11 starts. Purenll collected nine saves - one shy of the season record -- setting program records for appearances in a season and relief appearances in a season, with 29.
Among hitters with at least 100 at-bats, Vaccarelli led all players with a .347 batting average. He started all 44 games, all of them at third bases, and batted second in the order behind Lynch in 42 games. Defensively, Vaccarelli was second to Lynch with 67 assists.
Lynch started all 42 games in which he appeared, 41 of those starts coming at shortstop. He was the team's starting leadoff hitter in 28 games, but also spent time at six other positions in the order. Lynch batted .315 with a team-high 14 doubles. He drove in 28 runs and was the team leader with 134 assists.
Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.
Cooper named to NFCA regional team for third time in her career
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Eastern Connecticut State University softball program was well-represented with five selections - the most of any institution - on the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) All-New England Region Team.
Senior All-America third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) was named to the all-region team for the third time and was joined on the first team by sophomore DP Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and third-team picks Kelly Paterson (Southington), a senior, and juniors Mattie Brett (Waterford), and Megan Godwin (Manchester). All third-team picks are selected on an "at-large" basis. Paterson played primarily first and second base this season and Godwin second base and outfield. Brett started all but one game in center field.
Fifteen players were named to each of the first, second and third teams, with first-team honorees eligible for NFCA Division III All-America consideration. That team will be announced Thursday.
Cooper was a first-team repeater, while Godwin was voted to the third team for the second time in three years. As a freshman in 2011, Godwin was the team's starting shortstop.
All five selections were earlier named first-team All-Little East Conference, with Cooper additionally recognized as LEC Player-of-the-Year.
All except Rossetti started all 42 games for Eastern (28-14), which claimed its fourth straight LEC regular-season title and finished third in the LEC tournament.
Batting primarily leadoff, Cooper put the finishing touches on a sterling career and brilliant final season. She led Eastern in virtually every offensive category, among them batting (.538), slugging (1.076), total bases (142), on-base percentage (.629), runs (61), hits (71), RBI (43), home runs (16), doubles (13), and walks (34). Her marks for batting, slugging, total bases, on-base percentage, runs, hits and home runs represented program season records, and her final season batting average was 99 points above her previous-season best, set last year.
Through post-season conference tournament competition, Cooper is ranked second nationally in on-base percentage, third in slugging, fourth in home runs, home runs per game and batting, and seventh in walks and runs per game.
Paterson batted a career-high .356 this season to push her career average over .300 to .309. She was second to Cooper with 42 RBI - more than twice as many as her previous high total in a season. Playing primarily first base, but also second, she completed her career ranked fifth all-time with 642 putouts and tied for sixth with a .984 fielding average.
Brett was second to Cooper in most offensive categories, batting .378 (73 percentage points better than her sophomore season) with 41 runs, 51 hits and 12 stolen bases (in 12 attempts).
In her first season as a starter, Rossetti also played first base and right field and batted .368 - third best on the squad - with five home runs and 35 RBI. Godwin started 20 games in the middle infield and 16 in left field. She posted career-highs in batting (.344), hits (42), RBI (26), runs (28) and on-base percentage (.434).
In the last six years, 22 Eastern players have been named to the all-region team, with this year's total of five equaling the most since six were tabbed in 1993.
A total of 21 institutions were represented with at least one all-region pick, with regional champion Tufts University, as well as Wellesley College and Springfield College all garnering four. The Little East Conference was also represented by first-team pitcher Mariah Crisp of Keene State, second-team second baseman Sue Killilea of UMass Boston, second-team selection Julia Bocek (at-large/1b) of Western Connecticut, and third-teamer Allie Sabith (pitcher/at-large) of Western Connecticut.
In LEC baseball tournament, Corsairs hold on for 7-6 victory
NCAA Tournament Field
Although it was ranked No. 5 in the final NCAA New England regional rankings (through the regular season), Eastern was not one of the 56 teams chosen to the 2013 tournament. The Harwich, Mass. regional was comprised of six automatic qualifiers (Southern Maine, Wheaton, Endicott, Saint Joseph's, ME, Salem State and Daniel Webster), and two at-large selections (MIT and Western New England). A ninth New England team -- automatic qualifier Amherst -- was moved to the Ithaca, NY regional. Of those nine New England teams, Eastern won two (vs. Amherst) and lost five (three vs. Southern Maine and one each to Western NE and Wheaton).
GORHAM, Maine - Three Eastern Connecticut State University pitchers held the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to one run over the final six innings but the Warriors were unable to complete a comeback from six runs down in a 7-6 loss in the losers' bracket final of the 2013 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament Saturday morning at the USM Baseball Stadium.
At right: First-year junior catcher Nik Ververis (19) led Eastern with a .500 tournament average, ending the season with 19 RBI on only 23 hits.
Top-seeded University of Southern Maine (37-7) completed a four-game tournament sweep with a 4-2 win over UMass Dartmouth (18-23) in the first game of the championship round which gives the Huskies their second straight tourney title, fourth overall. USM had gone 12 years without a tournament championship before surviving a first-game loss to win four straight and down Plymouth State University in the 2012 title tilt.
Seeded second, Eastern (30-13-1) won its first two tournament games - 10-9 over UMass Dartmouth Wednesday and completed a 9-1 victory over fourth-seeded Massachusetts Boston which began Thursday and concluded Friday. In Friday's winners' bracket final, Southern Maine hammered Eastern, 22-9, sending the Warriors into Saturday's losers' bracket final against UMass Dartmouth Saturday morning. Prior to the Eastern game, UMD completed a 21-5 victory over UMass Dartmouth which was suspended due to darkness in the top of the eighth inning.
At right: Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer had three hits and two RBI and scored three runs Saturday.
Making his first start in his 27th career appearance Saturday, junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor) was raked for six runs on seven hits in the first two innings, but settled down to give up only a two-out fourth-inning solo home run until giving way to freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) with one out and one on in the seventh.
Down 6-0, the Warriors bounced back with four runs on six hits and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, chasing UMD starter George Bent. Trailing 7-4, Eastern pulled to within one with two runs in the seventh on a leadoff double by junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), singles by junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and senior centerfield Mike Riemer (Ellington) and a ground ball by senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin), which scored the second run despite resulting in a double play.
In the four-run fourth, Balowski and No. 8 hitter Nik Ververis (Plainfield) doubled, Ververis' sending home two runs, and Riemer, junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford), junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA), and No. 9 hitter Tyler Caserta (Stratford) singled. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, with McKenna's single also plating a run.
With Eastern looking to even the game in the top of the ninth, Riemer walked with one out, but junior righty Karney Boff earned his second save of the year by getting a 4-6-3 game-ending double play.
Each team recorded three double plays in the game. The Warriors got a difficult 3-6-3 twin killing started and ended by Balowski at first base in the third, snuffed out a UMD rally with an inning-ending DP started by Lynch in the seventh, and upon entering right field as a late-inning defensive replacement in the eighth, sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford), caught a fly ball and doubled UMD's Corey Allison off first to end the inning.
Every Eastern starter had at least one hit in the 15-hit Eastern attack, with Lynch, Riemer, Balowski, Accomando, Lavallee and Ververis all collecting two. Riemer's RBI single in the seventh was the 98th hit of his four-year career.
At right: Senior reliever Matt Purnell established a season record with his 29th appearance of the year in Saturday's loss to UMass Dartmouth
Senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) broke the 12-year-old season record for appearances when he entered the game for the 29th time this season, recording the final five outs of the game. Purnell, who fanned one and allowed one hit, had
earlier this year set the season record for relief appearances, breaking the previous mark of 26. He has nine saves, one shy of the season mark.
Eastern and UMass Dartmouth split four games this year, each winning by a run in the LEC tournament, and splitting an April 27 doubleheader at the Eastern Baseball Stadium, the Warriors winning the first game by a run.
In four games in the tournament, Eastern batted .338 -- above its regular-season average of .292 -- but had an 8.49 earned-run average (inflated largely by Southern Maine's 19 earned runs in Game 3). Ververis batted .500 (5-for-10) with six RBI, Riemer .467 (7-for-15) with five RBI and Accomando and McKenna .385 (both were 5-for-13). Lavallee reached nine times with four hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, and scored a team-high six runs. Caserta matched Ververis with six RBI. Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston), Purnell and sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) combined to pitch 11 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on eight hits with eight strikeouts.
Ranked fifth in the most recent NCAA Division III regional ratings, Eastern will be considered for an at-large berth to its 33rd NCAA tournament when announcements are made Monday.
Above: Lauren Hultzman clears an opening height at Saturday's New England Open en route to All-New England honors for the fourth time in the event in her career.
On final day of NE Open, women's 4x400 smashes program record
EASTON, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) earned All-New England honors for the fourth time in her career in the high jump when she finished in a tie for third at the New England Open Championships which concluded Saturday at W.B. Mason Stadium on the campus of Stonehill College.
Hultzman, the program outdoor record-holder in the high jump and pentathlon, posted a mark of 5-5 (3/4 inches off her program record set two weeks ago when winning at the New England Alliance/Little East Conference championships). Laura Pomphrey of WPI (5-7) won the event and Shannon Meehan of University of Rhode Island (5-5) was second.
The meet features New England teams from all three divisions.
In three outdoor seasons, Hultzman has won two NEA/LEC championships and placed in a tie for third in the Open this year and was sixth in 2012 and has been second twice in the New England Division III Championships.
Additionally on Saturday, the Eastern women's 4x400 relay broke the school record by five seconds with a time of 4:03.71, which placed it 24th overall. Running the relay were juniors Akaya McElveen (New Haven) and Tacia Bryant (Guilford), senior Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton).
Chambers just missed All-New England recognition when she placed ninth in the 800 in a time of 2:15.66 (.13 off her program record).
Senior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) was tenth in the high jump (5-3) - equaling her personal record - and 18th in the triple jump (33-9 ¼), and the 4x100 relay was 20th in a time of 51.12. Runners were Bryant, freshman Sherry Gilronan (Darien), McElveen, and Charpentier.
For the Eastern men Saturday, the 4x400 relay placed 15th in a time of 3:21.31. Competitors were junior Fredrick Hewett (New London), sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven), freshman John Boisette (East Hartford), and sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington).
Eastern competes in the two-day ECAC Championships beginning Thursday at 11 a.m.
Sophomore Luisantonio Rosado (above) clears the final hurdle on his way to establishing a program record of 56.07 in the trials of the 400 meter hurdles Friday afternoon at the New England Open at W.B. Mason Stadium on the campus of Stonehill College. Rosado broke the ten-year mark of 56.13, set by Peter Kellogg at the ECAC Championships in 2003. Rosado placed fifth in his heat in the meet which included athletes from Division I, II and III. Also competing Friday were junior Frederick Hewett in the 200 and 400 meter trials, and sophomore Andre Reynolds in the 110 high hurdles trials. Reynolds set a personal-best time of 15.39 in taking third place in his heat. Hewett was third in his heat in the 400 in a time of 49.04 and fifth in his heat in the 200 with a time of 22.81. None of the three advanced to Saturday's finals.
Competing from Eastern Saturday on the final day of the Open are senior Cora Gingras in the triple jump and high jump, junior Lauren Hultzman in the high jump, sophomore Nikki Chambers in the 800, the women's 4x100 and 4x400 relays and the men's 4x400 relay.