PGCBL Players Among Best at Schools Big and Small

Sean Aspinall (Azusa Pacific)

This week's spotlighting of PGCBL alumni includes players from several divisions of college baseball. Former PGCBL players have been making impacts across the country, regardless of the size or affiliation of the school.

Sean Aspinall, Azusa Pacific (Albany 2014-15)- A former PGCBL All-Star, Aspinall has been a leader for the No. 7 Division II team in the nation. In four games this week against Holy Names, the senior drove in eight runs on five hits, and stretched his hitting streak to ten games. Azusa Pacific, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation by the NCBWA, holds a 27-3 record, and Aspinall leads the Cougars with eight home runs and 31 runs batted in.

Justin Bureau, Ave Maria (Albany 2017)- Coming off his All-PGCBL season this past summer, the senior righthander has been the ace of staff for Ave Maria University, an NAIA program in Florida. Facing Florida Memorial University, who is receiving votes in the NAIA national poll, Bureau worked eight innings with just one run allowed and six strikeouts. In his first eight appearances this season, Bureau has posted a 2.12 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 46.2 innings.

Eric Rivera, FAU (Amsterdam 2017)- Rivera, who hit multiple walk-off home runs for the Mohawks last summer, belted a walk-off grand slam for the Owls in a victory over Miami on Tuesday. His homer capped a seven-run comeback, which saw him go 4-for-5 with five runs batted in. Rivera was selected as the Conference USA Player of the Week last week, and helped the Owls to a victory over Southern Mississippi in the series opener on Friday.

Brett Kinneman, NC State (Amsterdam 2016)- Kinneman continued to be one of the best power hitters in college baseball, belting his 12th home run of the season in NC State's victory over Georgia Tech on Sunday. His two-run homer helped the Wolfpack clinch an ACC series victory over the Yellow Jackets. Through 24 games this season, Kinneman leads NC State in batting average (.353), home runs (12), and runs batted in (34).

Russ Olive, UMass Lowell (Newark 2016; Mohawk Valley 2017)- A two-year PGCBL player, Olive has been the offensive leader for the River Hawks thus far this season. The former Pilot and DiamondDawg hit two triples in UMass Lowell's victory over UAlbany, which started the River Hawks' series victory. Olive currently leads UMass Lowell in numerous offensive categories, including batting average (.380), runs scored (19), hits (27), home runs (6), and on base percentage (.494).

Richie Barrella, Manhattan (Saugerties 2016)- One of the best hitters in the MAAC led the Manhattan Jaspers to a dominant three-game sweep of Saint Peter's this weekend. Barrella, who is in the top three in the conference in hits and runs batted in, recorded six hits and seven runs batted in as the Jaspers started conference play 3-0. In the first 21 games of the season, Barrella is hitting .370, and has started every game for Manhattan.

James Varela, LIU Post (Glens Falls 2017-18)- Glens Falls has re-signed Varela for the 2018 season, and he has gotten off to a fast start for the Division II Pioneers. In his six starts, he has posted a 5-0 record with a 2.00 ERA. Varela has struck out 56 hitters in 45 innings with only eleven walks. In his most recent start, Varela tossed a complete game in a 6-1 LIU Post victory over NYIT, where he allowed only one run and struck out nine hitters.

Joe Foran, Saint Rose (Glens Falls 2015)- Saint Rose began play in the NE-10 this week with a sweep of Saint Anslem on the road. In the Golden Knights' 9-6 start to the season, Foran has been the team's leading hitter. He leads the team with a .381 batting average, is tied for the team lead with 15 runs scored, and is one of three players on the roster with a dozen or more runs batted in. He scored three runs and drove in another two in a 9-4 win for Saint Rose on Sunday.

Houston Roth, Ole Miss (Elmira 2017)- Roth improved his season record to 3-0 on Tuesday, as the Rebels became the first NCAA Division I team in the nation to 20 wins. The former Pioneer struck out seven hitters over five innings in Ole Miss' 9-4 victory over New Orleans. Roth has struck out 36 hitters in 26.2 innings on the mound for the Rebels, who hold a 22-3 record and are ranked fifth in the nation by Perfect Game.

Ben Brookover, UTSA (Jamestown 2017)- The former Jammer drove in four runs in back-to-back multi-hit games for the Roadrunners, who won four games in a row this week. Brookover helped UTSA clinch a sweep over Marshall with three runs batted in during the series finale, which included two hits and a run scored. Brookover is one of three players on the Roadrunner roster with 20 or more hits through the first 21 games of the season.

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, tweet us @PGCBLBaseball.

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