03/12/2018 5:50 PM
Throughout the first month of the 2018 season, past and future PGCBL players have been among the best in college baseball. As we count down the days until the PGCBL season begins on June 1, PGCBL.com will spotlight some of the league alumni who are dominating college baseball.
Troy Squires, Kentucky (Elmira 2015)- Squires earned SEC Player of the Week honors on Monday afternoon following a stellar week for the Wildcats. Squires hit .571 with six runs scored, 11 RBI, five doubles and two home runs with a 1.095 slugging percentage for the week., which included a series victory over the nationally ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. On the season, Squires is second on the Wildcats' roster with a .373 batting average and 22 runs batted in.
Sean Hjelle, Kentucky (Elmira 2016)- The former Pioneer has proven himself as Kentucky's ace in his first four starts of the season. The reigning SEC Pitcher of the Year and Preseason All-American has posted a perfect 4-0 record with a 1.35 ERA. Hjelle has struck out 24 hitters in 26.2 innings, and has allowed only 14 hits. His best outing was a 13-strikeout performance against Oakland, where he did not allow an earned run over 7.2 innings.
TJ Collett, Kentucky (Amsterdam 2017)- The No. 6 Wildcats have started the 2018 season red hot, winning 14 of their first 17 games, which included a series win over No. 4 Texas Tech this past weekend. The offense has been boosted by the play of Collett, who spent his 2017 summer in Amsterdam. The sophomore entered the weekend with a national high of eight home runs, and is hitting .343 for the Wildcats. He hit eight home runs in an eleven-game span, and leads Kentucky with 26 runs batted in.
Brett Kinneman, NC State (Amsterdam 2016)- Joining Collett at the top of the national home run rankings is Kinneman, who played with the Mohawks a season earlier. Kinneman has twice been named the ACC Player of the Week, and earned National Player of the Week accolades from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. He leads the 13-3 Wolfpack in most offensive categories, including batting average (.418), home runs (9), runs batted in (27), and runs scored (17).
Greg Cullen, Niagara (Newark 2016)- Cullen has been one of the hottest hitters in the nation to start the season, hitting .513 in 39 at-bats for the Purple Eagles. The shortstop entered the weekend second in the nation in batting average, and leads the MAAC in batting average. He is also second in hits and third in on-base percentage in the conference. He was named the MAAC Player of the Week on March 1 after hitting .600 in a series against Longwood.
Zach Vennaro, Mount Olive (Mohawk Valley 2015-17)- One of Mohawk Valley's great pitchers has been lights out for the Division II Mount Olive Trojans. In 19 innings as Mount Olive's closer, Vennaro has struck out 27 hitters and has yet to surrender an earned run. The senior righthander, who won two championships with the Diamond Dawgs, boasts four saves and a 2-0 record.
Chas Hadden, Belmont (Jamestown 2016)- Hadden, who played in Jamestown during the Jammers' inaugural PGCBL season, is hitting .320 in 15 games for the Belmont Bruins. Hadden is one of four Bruins with ten or more runs batted in, and leads the team with a .493 on base percentage. The junior is also in the top ten in the Ohio Valley Conference in on base percentage and the top five in walks drawn.
Luke Pettersen, Minnesota (Saugerties 2017)- Petterson, who was a mainstay in the Saugerties lineup last summer, has been key to an 11-6 start for the Golden Gophers. The senior infielder, who was the Big Ten batting champion last season, is hitting .319 over his first 17 games of the season. Petterson's 23 hits are second on the roster, and he has converted all 72 of his fielding chances.
Christian Long, Wake Forest (Oneonta 2018)- An incoming Outlaw, Long has exploded onto the scene in his sophomore season at Wake Forest. After the first 16 games of the season, Long is hitting .300 with a .418 on base percentage, both of which are in the top three on the Demon Deacon roster. The outfielder helped Wake Forest to a series victory over No. 5 Florida State in Winston Salem this weekend.
JT Genovese, UAlbany (Oneonta 2014; Albany 2015)- In his senior season, the Great Dane has dominated out of the bullpen. Genovese, who played for Oneonta in 2014 and the Albany Dutchmen in 2015, has stuck out 12 hitters in nine innings, and has not allowed a run. He picked up his first win of the season on March 11 after working four scoreless innings in a victory over Seattle University.
Will Trochiano, Manhattan (Mohawk Valley 2018)- An infielder who will be playing for the defending PGCBL champions this summer, Trochiano was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week in the first week of March. Trochiano has been the leader at the plate this season for the Jaspers, hitting .347 with a .448 batting average, both team highs. He also leads the Jaspers in hits (17), and is one of three players to score ten or more runs.
If you know of a great performance by a former or future PGCBL player, please let us know! To see your favorite PGCBL player spotlighted on PGCBL.com, tweet us @PGCBLBaseball.