NIU's Eli Anderson (Adirondack 2013) tossed a complete game shutout against 2012 CWS participant Kent State. Photo courtesy Northern Illinois athletics/MAC sports
Six current or former Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League players have earned weekly awards from their respective conferences based on their play in games for the period of Mar. 19 through Mar. 24. Three of the six will suit up for PGCBL teams this coming summer and two others were part of the PGCBL’s inaugural season in 2011.
America East – Player of the Week
Nolan Gaige (Albany 2012), University at Albany
University at Albany senior center fielder Nolan Gaige (Albany 2012) led the Great Danes to a conference series victory over UMBC. The UAlbany lead-off swinger batted .500 (7-for-14) during the three-game set. He drove in five runs, scored three and tripled thrice. Gaige, the very first batter of the series, opened a Mar. 23 twin bill with a lead-off triple. His biggest hit in doubleheader lid-lifter came in the final regulation frame with UAlbany trailing 3-1. Gaige, with runners on second and third, drilled a one-out pitch into center field that chased home a pair of Great Danes to knot the score 3-3. The UAlbany senior finished the game with a team high three hits and two RBI. The East Greenbush, N.Y., native sparked a 13-run explosion in the night cap as he went 3-for-5 with three RBI, two triples and two runs scored. Two of Gaige’s three hits came in an eight-run eighth inning. He singled and scored early in the frame and then capped off the eight-run surge with his third triple of the day, a three-run smack into right field.
Mid-American Conference - West Division Pitcher of the Week
Eli Anderson (Adirondack 2013), Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois University junior Eli Anderson (Adirondack 2013) twirled a complete game shutout as the Huskies blanked 2012 College World Series participant Kent State on Mar. 23 in Chicago. Anderson limited the Golden Flashes to six hits; he walked three and tied a career high with eight strikeouts. The NIU hurler forced Kent State to leave eight men on base overall and seven in the first frame frames. On a cold night in the Windy City, Anderson saved his best for last. The junior seated 15 of the final 16 Kent State batters and held the Golden Flashes to one base runner in the final four frames. Heading into the final weekend of March, Anderson leads the Huskies in strikeouts (24) and he is tied for the team lead in victories (two).
Northeast-10 Conference - Pitcher of the Week
Ryan Davis (Glens Falls 2013), LeMoyne
LeMoyne College sophomore Ryan Davis (Glens Falls 2013) struck out a career-high 12 in a complete game four-hitter to help the Dolphins upset nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire, 2-1, on Mar. 24. Davis scattered four singles, walked two and forced SNHU to leave five runners on base in a 134-pitch masterpiece. The LeMoyne sophomore threw 92 pitches for strikes and just one SNHU batter managed a full count in the final six innings. Davis recorded nine of the first 15 outs via strikeout and he struck out three men twice in the opening five frames. SNHU tallied its lone score in the third. Afterwards, Davis retired 14 of the next 15 batters with the lone runner reaching on a strikeout-wild pitch in the fifth. The Queensbury, N.Y., native already has thrown three complete games this spring in five starts.
Empire 8 - Player of the Week
Tim Locastro (Newark 2013), Ithaca
Ithaca College junior infielder Tim Locastro (Newark 2013) was instrumental in a three-game Empire 8 sweep of conference foe Houghton. The Ithaca shortstop batted .636 (7-for-11) with six runs scored, four runs batted in, four stolen bases and two triples. Locastro recorded at least two hits in all three games and scored twice in two of the three Empire 8 tilts. He went 2-for-4 and accounted for a pair of scores in the first game of a Mar. 23 doubleheader at Cornell’s Hoy Field which Ithaca won 7-2. Locastro sparked a decisive four-tally rally in the third with an RBI triple, which plated the eventual winning run and then he immediately scored on a base hit. The Auburn, N.Y., native had his best offensive performance in the second game of the twin bill. He reached base five times in five plate appearances on three hits and two HBP. Locastro scored three runs and added a pair of stolen bases in an 11-4 victory. He concluded the weekend with two hits, two runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases in the series finale. Locastro has reached base safely via hit or walk in all 15 games that the Bombers have played this spring.
Ohio Athletic Conference - Co-Hitter of the Week
Aaron Hopper (Elmira 2011), Marietta
Marietta College senior outfielder Aaron Hopper (Elmira 2011) shared the OAC Player of the Week award with Otterbein sophomore Sean Kettering. Hopper slugged the nationally-ranked ‘Etta Express to wins last week over out-of-region opponents Montclair State and Huntingdon (Ala.). The senior finished the three-game week for Marietta with a .538 (7-for-12) batting average, .625 on-base percentage and eight RBI. The Worthington, Ohio, native accounted for half of the Pioneers nine runs in an 18-1 thrashing of Montclair State on Mar. 22. Hopper went 3-for-4 with six runs batted in, three runs scored, two doubles and two walks. He reached base safely in five of six total plate appearances. Following a loss to Huntingdon in the first game of a doubleheader on Mar. 23, Hopper was an unblemished 4-for-4 with two RBI, one run scored and one walk in a 9-4 victory. Heading into this weekend’s games, Hopper has 54 career doubles which rank third on Marietta’s all-time list.
The Sun Conference - Player of the Week
Ricky Claudio (Glens Falls 2011), St. Thomas (Fla.)
St. Thomas (Fla.) University senior utility player Ricky Claudio (Glens Falls 2011) paced the Bobcats to four victories last week in six games overall. Claudio hit .391 (9-for-23) with one home run, nine RBI, six runs scored and two doubles. He had at least one hit in all six contests and went for multiple hits in three-straight games. Claudio made his first start of the spring against NAIA powerhouse Lewis and Clark State on Mar. 18; he bunted for a base hit in his first at-bat. The following day, the Miami, Fla., native put together a two hit, two run and two RBI performance against Clearwater Christian. Claudio clouted a grand slam later in the week versus conference opponent Ave Maria and finished the game with five RBI. The senior ended his week as a two-way threat the Bobcats series’ finale win over Ave Maria. He scored twice and tossed 1.2 innings of shutout relief in an 8-3 victory.