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PGCBL Sets Another Record - Fourteen Win Weekly Awards

Seton Hall's Giuseppe Papaccio (Amsterdam 2012) was the BIG EAST Player of the Week. Photo courtesy SHU athletics

One month after setting a new league record as 12 former and future players took home weekly conference accolades, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League has done it again. Earlier this week, 14 former and future PGCBL players were honored by their respective conferences as weekly award winners. The Player and Pitcher of the Week accolades were based on play in games for the period of April 29 through May 5. Thirteen of the 14 award winners have previously competed in the PGCBL. The 14 award winners represent six PGCBL teams – Albany, Amsterdam, Glens Falls, Mohawk Valley, Newark and Watertown. 

America East – Pitcher of the Week
Austin Chase (Albany 2011-2012), UAlbany

University at Albany redshirt senior Austin Chase (Albany 2011-2012) fired a complete game three-hitter against Maine to garner his first America East Pitcher of the Week award this season. Chase went the distance for the Great Danes in a 4-3 home victory over the Black Bears; it was his second straight nine-inning complete game. The redshirt senior yielded three runs on three hits but held the high-powered Maine offense scoreless over the final five innings. Chase limited the Black Bears to one hit each in the first, fourth and fifth frames. The East Greenbush, N.Y., native set down 11 of Maine’s final 12 hitters and with a one-run lead in the final two frames, Chase seated six men in a row.  This spring, Austin is 6-3 with one save and a 4.07 earned run average through 11 appearances. He has struck out 44 and walked 16 in 55.1 innings. Chase is tied for the team lead in victories.

BIG EAST – Player of the Week
Giuseppe Papaccio (Amsterdam 2012), Seton Hall

Seton Hall University senior Giuseppe Papaccio (Amsterdam 2012) paced the Pirates to an undefeated week en route to the BIG EAST Player of the Week award. Seton Hall went 4-0 with a win over Saint Peter’s and a series sweep of conference opponent Cincinnati. Papaccio batted .556 (10-for-18) with two home runs, 13 RBI, six runs scored and three doubles. Half of the senior’s 10 hits went for extra bases and he amassed a 1.056 slugging percentage. Papaccio drove in at least two runs in all four games and had at least one hit in each tilt. The Nutley, N.J., native went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and one run scored in a mid-week victory at Saint Peter’s. The 2012 PGCBL All-Star Game MVP went on to bat .538 (7-for-13) in a three-game sweep at Cincinnati. Papaccio socked a three-run double in the opener and finished the night with four RBI on just one hit. Last Saturday, the Seton Hall shortstop slammed a home run in each of his first two at-bats against the Bearcats. He knocked in four runs for the second consecutive game and scored three times. The 2012 Amsterdam infielder ended the Cincinnati series with four hits in his final four at-bats. He knocked in three runs and scored two more in a 14-4 romp. Giuseppe is Seton Hall’s top offensive weapon as the team leading in batting average (.374), hits (71), doubles (21), runs batted in (47) and total bases (110).

BIG EAST – Pitcher of the Week
Nick Gonzalez (Glens Falls 2011), South Florida

University of South Florida junior Nick Gonzalez (Glens Falls 2011) completed the PGCBL’s sweep of BIG EAST awards with his first BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week prize. He is the second USF pitcher this season to win the award; Jimmy Herget (Glens Falls 2013) was the first. Gonzalez twirled seven shutout innings in a no decision at Notre Dame last Saturday afternoon. The Bulls eventually prevailed, 4-3, in 10 innings. Gonzalez scattered eight hits, walked one and struck out five. The junior forced the Fighting Irish to strand nine runners on base; this included Notre Dame leaving the bases loaded in the second inning of a scoreless game. The Tampa, Fla., native is 3-3 for USF and boasts a 3.53 earned run average. Gonzalez has amassed 68 strikeouts in 71.1 innings pitched. He is sixth in the BIG EAST in overall strikeouts.

Great West Conference – Pitcher of the Week
Mark Leiter Jr. (Amsterdam 2011-2012), NJIT

New Jersey Institute of Technology senior Mark Leiter Jr. (Amsterdam 2011-2012) struck out 20 and tossed a complete game four-hitter to lead the Highlanders to a 5-3 win over Chicago State last Friday night in Newark, N.J. Leiter broke his own school record for strikeouts in a single game (previously 14) and he became the first NCAA Division I pitcher this spring to register a 20-strikeout performance. The previous high this season was 18 which was recorded by Villanova’s Pat Young. Leiter fanned at least two batters in eight of nine frames and he struck out the side three times – in the second, eighth and ninth. The former Amsterdam ace recorded NJIT’s final eight outs via strikeout. In addition to being named the Great West Pitcher of the Week, Leiter was also honored as one of three Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball.

Great West Conference – Player of the Week
Alberto Morales (Glens Falls 2012), UTPA

University of Texas Pan-American junior Alberto Morales (Glens Falls 2012) completed the sweep for the PGCBL as he was honored as the Great West Conference’s Player of the Week. Morales started five UTPA games and batted .529 (9-for-17) with one home run, six RBI, four runs scored, two HBP and one double. The junior had at least one hit in all five games and he recorded a trifecta of multi-hit contests for the Broncos. The Bronx, N.Y., native collected four hits and drove in two runs in a mid-week twin bill with in-state rival Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Morales banged out five hits in a four game conference series at North Dakota. His best performance came in the third game of the series last Saturday. Morales smashed an RBI double in his first at-bat and then launched a two-run home run his next trip to the plate. He finished 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Heading into this weekend’s action, the Clarendon College transfer is batting .300 for UTPA with five home runs and 24 RBI.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference – Player of the Week
Steve Laurino (Newark 2013), Marist

Marist College sophomore Steve Laurino (Newark 2013) hit his way to the MAAC Player of the Week award. Laurino led the Red Foxes to a 4-2 week which included a three game conference series sweep of Saint Peter’s. Overall, Laurino hit .565 (13-for-23) with six runs batted in, four runs scored, four doubles and two sacrifice flies. He recorded five multi-hit games and drove in at least one run in a game four times. The sophomore pounded out two hits apiece in mid-week tilts with Binghamton and Brown. The Carle Place, N.Y., native erupted against Saint Peter’s. He batted .643 (9-for-13) in the SPC series and drove in five runs. Laurino went 4-for-6 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored in the opener of a twin bill last Saturday. In the night cap, the future Newark Pilot socked three hits, including his fourth double of the week, and plated two runs. The Marist outfielder ended the series with a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort in a 7-6 Sunday win. The sophomore currently leads the Red Foxes with a .394 batting average.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference – Pitcher of the Week

Matt Gage (Amsterdam 2011-2012), Siena

Siena College sophomore Matt Gage (Amsterdam 2011-2012) blanked red-hot Canisius with a complete game three-hit shutout to win the MAAC’s Pitcher of the Week award. Gage spread out three hits, walked one and struck out four in a 107-pitch gem. Canisius entered the game with 14 wins in its last 16 games. Two of three hits recorded by the Golden Griffins were infield singles; the only ball hit safely to the outfield came in the top of the first inning. Gage faced four batters over the minimum for a nine-inning contest and just once was opposed by more than four swingers in a single frame. The Griffs also did not have a runner advance past second base. Canisius began the fifth inning with an infield single. Gage responded by inducing his second double-play groundout of the game and he went on to retire the next 11 batters in a row. The Broadalbin, N.Y., native leads the Saints with five wins, 82.0 innings pitched and 65 strikeouts in 12 starts. 

Mid-American Conference – East Division Pitcher of the Week
Anthony Magovney (Watertown 2012-2013), Buffalo

University at Buffalo sophomore Anthony Magovney (Watertown 2012-2013) whirled a complete game four-hit shutout against Ohio last Saturday to garner his second East Division Pitcher of the Week prize. The miserly Magovney needed just 85 pitches to blank the Bobcats; 61 of the 85 tosses went for strikes. The UB sophomore scattered four hits, walked none and struck out four in his sixth win of the spring. Magovney opposed just three batters over the minimum and never faced more than four men in an inning. He seated 14 of Ohio’s first 15 swingers as UB raced out to a 3-0 lead. Heading into this weekend’s games, the Watertown, N.Y., native is tied for first on the Bulls in wins (six). Through 12 starts, Magovney is 6-3 with 51 strikeouts and a 3.24 earned run average.

Ohio Valley Conference – Co-Player of the Week

Kane Sweeney (Newark 2012), Morehead State

Morehead State University sophomore Kane Sweeney (Newark 2012) shared the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Week award with Austin Peay’s Craig Massoni. Sweeney carried a hot stick last week for the Eagles. He batted .688 (11-for-16) over four games with two home runs, four RBI, four runs scored, two doubles and a .722 on-base percentage. Sweeney reached base 13 times in 18 plate appearances. He had at least one hit in all four games and logged three multiple-hit efforts. The MSU lead-off swinger went an unblemished 3-for-3 with a walk in four plate appearances against Marshall in a mid-week tilt.  Sweeney’s best performances came in back-to-back games against Austin Peay; in both games, he fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. In the Friday opener, Sweeney went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two singles, two runs scored and one RBI. The next afternoon, he slammed his second home run in as many days and finished up 3-for-4 with three RBI.  The former Newark Pilot reached base twice in the series finale. Sweeney leads MSU in batting average (.385), hits (72), doubles (12), total bases (98), walks (28), slugging percentage (.524) and on-base percentage (.477).

Heartland Conference – Pitcher of the Week
Matt McClain (Watertown 2012), St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s (Texas) University sophomore Matt McClain (Watertown 2012) scooped up his second Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week honor after a near perfect performance last Thursday against McMurry. McClain retired 21 of 23 McMurry batters over seven shutout innings and struck out 14 to improve to 8-3. The sophomore yielded just a lead-off double in the second and then a one-out walk in the seventh. McClain struck out at least one batter in all seven innings and he fanned multiple batters in a single inning five times. The San Antonio, Texas, native struck out the side in order twice. He fanned five in a row between the second and third innings and then replicated the same feat between the fourth and fifth. For this performance, McClain was also chosen as the NCAA Division II South Central Region Pitcher of the Week by the NCBWA. The St. Mary’s sophomore finished the regular season with 98 strikeouts in 96.2 innings. His 98 strikeouts are tied for seventh nationally

Liberty League – Player of the Week
Tyler Heck (Mohawk Valley 2012), Union

Union College senior Tyler Heck (Mohawk Valley 2012) ran his way to the Liberty League’s Offensive Performer of the Week award. Heck helped the Dutchmen clinch their first ever Liberty League regular season championship. In six games last week, the senior batted .476 (10-for-21) with 10 stolen bases, seven runs scored, five runs batted in, four walks, one double and one home run. He had at least one hit in all six Union contests and scored multiple runs in three of six games. The Clinton, N.Y., native was most dangerous in a pair of mid-week clashes with Williams and Utica. Heck swiped three bases, scored twice, walked twice and notched two hits in a one-run setback versus the Ephs in Williamstown. The next day, Heck stole four bases, scored three runs, drove in two more, walked twice and finished with three hits in a 16-15 triumph over Utica. Heck had at least one hit in all four games of a conference home-and-home series with Vassar. The Union utility man slugged the Dutchmen past the Brewers in the second game of the series with a home run; he went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. The 2012 All-PGCBL selection completed the regular season as Union’s leader in batting average (.415), runs batted in (26), walks (15), hit-by-pitch (eight), on-base percentage (.500) and stolen bases (37). Most impressive, Tyler struck out just seven times in 118 at-bats.

Liberty League – Pitcher of the Week

Jordan Keysor (Glens Falls 2011-2012), Skidmore

Skidmore College senior Jordan Keysor (Glens Falls 2011-2012) tossed a complete game two-hit shutout to blank travel partner RPI, 8-0, last Saturday in Saratoga Springs. Keysor allowed just three base runners on two hits and one walk. The senior struck out six and retired 21 of 24 Rensselaer batters faced. All three RPI runners were stranded on base and just one of the three advanced safely past second. The economical Keysor needed just 88 pitches to shut down the visiting Engineers in the second game of a seven-inning doubleheader. Keysor completed the regular season as Skidmore’s leader in ERA (2.36). The Cadyville, N.Y., native struck out 40 and walked 15 in 49.2 innings over nine appearances.

Empire 8 – Pitcher of the Week
Justin D’Amato (Newark 2011), St. John Fisher

St. John Fisher College junior Justin D’Amato (Newark 2011) nabbed his third Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week of the season after tossing a one-hit shutout for six innings against conference opponent Utica. D’Amato gave up a lead-off single in the third for Utica’s lone hit. The junior walked two and struck out nine to improve to 6-2 overall. D’Amato seated 10 of the last 11 UC batters he faced between the third and sixth innings. The two-time Empire 8 Pitcher of the Year stranded two Pioneers on base to end the third and afterwards limited UC to a single base runner in the sixth inning on a two-out walk. Heading into the postseason, the 2011 All-PGCBL pitcher is 6-2 with a 1.64 earned run average. He leads the Cardinals in wins, strikeouts (63) and innings pitched (60.1).

State University of New York Athletic Conference – Pitcher of the Week
Mike Hughes (Albany 2010-2011), Cortland State

SUNY Cortland senior Mike Hughes (Albany 2010-2011) pitched the Red Dragons to their 31st overall SUNYAC tournament championship. Hughes logged seven strong innings in the SUNYAC championship game and was the winning pitcher as the Red Dragons downed Oswego State. The senior held the Lakers to one run on six hits, walked one and struck out eight. He kept the second-seeded Lakers scoreless through the first five frames while the Red Dragons amassed a 9-0 lead. Oswego’s lone run came in the sixth inning on a two-out RBI single that was preceded by a triple. Hughes faced six batters over the minimum in his sixth win. Heading into the NCAA regionals, the Albany, N.Y., native is 6-1 with a 3.20 earned run average in 11 appearances. He leads the Red Dragons in innings pitched (56.1).



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