College Notebook

Mitch Savoca (Newtown/Fairfield Prep), a sophomore midfielder for the University of Richmond lacrosse team, is our newest area All-American. In his first two seasons with the Division I Spiders, he had scored 50 goals.

Have news about local athletes playing a college sport next fall? About a local baseball or soccer player going pro? About a baseball player in a summer league? Please share the news with us at john.addyman@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading College Notebook in VOICES.

The latest athlete from the area to earn All-America recognition is University of Richmond sophomore lacrosse midfielder Mitch Savoca (Newtown/Fairfield Prep). He was named Honorable Mention All-America on May 23 by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.

The Spiders have only had lacrosse as a varsity sport for six years, but Mitch becomes the fourth player to win All-America honors.

Mitch was third on the team in scoring with 24 goals this season, adding seven assists in 17 games. He scored multiple goals six times on the year, including four goals against Bellarmine and No. 11 High Point.

He scored seven goals in the final four games of the season, including two in the NCAA Tournament against No. 5 Duke.

He already ranks eighth in program history with 50 goals, having scored 26 as a freshman and 24 as a sophomore, and he has two years of eligibility left.

Richmond finished its season 10-7, ranked 18th in the country, losing a 12-11 game to fifth-ranked Duke in the NCAA playoffs.

Baseball

Last week we had two Newtown players from different colleges still alive in the NCAA Division III College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a third Newtown player working through the NCAA Division I playoffs in a Regional.

This week, we have none.

Babson College junior center fielder Jake Oliger (Newtown) and UMass/Boston senior shortstop Charlie Huegi (Newtown) saw their seasons end in the Division III semifinals, and Central Connecticut State right fielder Dave Matthews (Newtown) and his blue Devil teammates were stopped in the Division I playoffs.

Let’s unfold the stories…

UMass/Boston

College Notebook

Charlie Huegi (Newtown) - UMass/Boston senior shortstop sees season end just short of College World Series championship series.

The Beacons had the best chance of playing for a national title. UMass/Boston won its first two games at the College World Series and made it to the semifinals – farther than any of the college’s teams had ever gone.

On Sunday, June 2, the Beacons met sixth-ranked Chapman University.

If the Beacons could grab the win, they were on their way to the championship series; if they lost, there was still another game left against Chapman, where a win would put the Beacons in the finals.

The game on Sunday was 4-4 after nine innings. In the top of the 10th, the Cougars scored four runs and the Beacons couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning. Charlie batted 0-for-3 as the Beacons dimmed, 8-4.

On Monday, the Beacons scored two runs in the top of the first and things looked positive until the bottom of the second, when Chapman tied the game, and the fourth and fifth innings, when Chapman put six runs across altogether, on the way to another 8-4 win. Charlie was 0-for-4 in that game.

On Tuesday, Chapman beat Birmingham Southern twice and claimed the national championship. UMass/Boston was so close…

The Beacons finish their spring with a 37-14 record, the second-most wins in program history for the second year in a row, and the third-straight season with 37 wins.

The 51 games the Beacons played this season are the most in program history.

Very few programs can make that claim. The Beacons earned a third place in the national championships.

Charlie is a member of a team that was the most successful in school history with three Little East Conference titles, and two NCAA Regional championships. Charlie saw the team compile a 142-52 record in four years.

And Charlie was pivotal to the Beacons’ success: he played in all 51 games this year, hit .287 with 27 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

Babson

College Notebook

Jake Oliger (Newtown) - Babson College junior center fielder sees season end just short of the College World Series.

When we left the Beavers last week, they were ready to play a Sunday game at the College World Series against Johns Hopkins University that would either send them to the semifinals, or home.

Babson had already lost once, to this same Blue Jay team on the first day of the World Series, in a crazy 10th-inning finish.

The Jays had a 5-0 lead before Babson could get a couple of runs across in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jake hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning that brought the Beavers close, 5-4. Both teams scored a single in in the ninth inning and Babson closed its season with a 6-5 loss.

Jake batted 2-for-5 in the contest with the RBI.

Here again was a team that finished a historic season: the Beavers were playing in the College World Series for the first time in program history, and ended up with a 39-10 record.

Jake has a big memory to tell his grandkids about: a walk-off double in the College World Series in an impossible come-from-behind win over Heidelberg College.

He finishes his season with a team-leading .333 batting average, the most RBIs on the team (55), and leadership in stolen bases (15). He also smacked eight home runs and had a sparking .991 fielding average. He had a very, very good year.

Central Connecticut

College Notebook

Dave Matthews (Newtown) - Central Connecticut State junior right fielder named to NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.

On Saturday, June 1, the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut had also done something historic for the program – they won their first-ever NCAA playoff game, beating University of California, 7-4.

The next day, the Devils took on Texas Christian University in another elimination game. Central kept pace with the Horned Frogs until the sixth inning, when TCU broke into a 7-4 lead. The final result was a 9-5 loss for the Devils.

Dave batted 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI single in the first inning.

Central Connecticut finished up with a 31-23 record; Dave ends his season after playing in all 53 games, batting .303 with seven home runs and a team-leading 43 RBIs. He finished with a .508 slugging average.

Honors

College Notebook

Ryan LaMay (Washington Depot/Gunnery), a sophomore pitcher at Sacred Heart University, was a workhorse for the Pioneers this spring, pitching 74.2 innings, which ranked fourth in the Northeast Conference. He was just named All-Conference, Second Team.

Sacred Heart University sophomore baseball pitcher Ryan LaMay (Washington Depot/Gunnery) earned All-Northeast Conference Second Team honors last week.

Ryan ended the year with a 3-5 record, 46 strikeouts and 5.42 strikeouts per nine innings average.

He had 74.2 innings of work this season, which ranked fourth in the NEC, and he held opponent batters to a .257 batting average against him, which was the second-lowest among pitchers in the conference. He made 15 mound appearances, 13 of those as starts.

The Pioneers took their 19-32-1 record (11-13) into the Northeast Conference playoffs and were eliminated after two games, a 4-0 shutout by Bryant University, and an 11-7 loss to Wagner College.

Ryan got the ball for the start in the Wagner game and went 2.1 innings, allowing six hits and six runs (five earned), striking out one and walking two. He took that loss.

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Central Connecticut State junior right fielder Dave Matthews (Newtown) was named to the Fayetteville (Ark.) NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team. Dave hit .385 (5-for-13) and led the Blue Devils with five RBIs in three games. He also scored three runs and hit a pair of doubles. In the win over University of California, Dave went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs. He tied the game with an RBI single in the third inning and then put Central ahead with a three-run home run in the fifth inning. He had two hits and scored a run against TCU on the last game of the season for Central. He also hit an RBI single in the first inning.

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Villanova University freshman baseball pitcher and infielder Nick Lorusso (Masuk) has been rewarded for a really remarkable first season, garnering Big East and Big 5 conference honors.

He played third base for the Wildcats, and on May 22, was named the Big East Freshman of the Year and filled a spot on the All-Big East Second Team. The awards were voted on by the seven Big East head coaches, who recognized Nick for his outstanding play at the plate and on the mound.

This is the first time in 25 years that a Villanova player has been honored with a BIG EAST major postseason award.

In his first year of college baseball, Nick emerged as the top hitter in the Wildcat lineup early in the season and went on to have one of the best rookie campaigns in recent program history. He ended the regular season ranked 10th in the Big East, leading all league rookies in batting average, and he was also among the conference leaders in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Nick led the Wildcats in all three of those categories, as well as in hits and walks. He was second on the team in home runs and runs batted in, and third in doubles and runs scored.

He ended his season with a .302 batting average, played in 49 games and started all but two of those appearances. He had 54 hits on the year, including 13 multi-hit games and had three or more hits five times. Nick smacked eight doubles, one triple and four home runs to go along with 29 RBI, 26 runs scored and 28 walks. One of the best indicators of the strong season Nick had was his consistency – he reached base safely in the first 12 games of the season and in 42 of 49 games overall; he never went consecutive games the entire year in which he failed to get at least one hit or walk.

In the Big East Conference, Nick batted .290 (18-for-62) with a .371 on-base percentage while starting all of 17 of Nova’s conference contests. His batting average against league pitching is the highest for a Villanova true freshman since 2005, and he led this year’s team in batting during conference play by a margin of better than 50 points. Nick was chosen for the Big East Weekly Honor Roll twice during the season

But there’s so much more to Nick’s remarkable season that what he did in the batter’s box because he was also a steady and reliable member of the Wildcat pitching staff. He made 16 appearances on the mound (six starts) and collected a win and two saves while recording 32 strikeouts in 41.2 innings. He finished with a 1-1 record with one save, a 4.71 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 21 innings in the conference.

In the season, he was a noteworthy utility player: 19 starts at third base, 15 at first base, seven as designated hitter and six as the starting pitcher. He batted in the lineup and remained in the game as the designated hitter all six times that he began the game on the mound.

Villanova, despite Nick’s heroics, finished with a 13-38 record (4-13 Big East).

Last Tuesday, Nick was also named to the All-Philadelphia-Big 5, adding one more honor to his season. All these earned accolades have put Nick in elite company in the Villanova record book: beyond the significant Big East honors, he is also the team’s first corner infielder in seven years to earn Big 5 postseason honors.

Nick is believed to be the first player since Big 5 baseball awards began in 2006 to be chosen on separate occasions as the Big 5 Player of the Week and the Big 5 Pitcher of the Week.

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College Notebook

Tim Quinlan (Masuk) - Utica College senior infielder named to Academic All-America Division III Third Team.

Utica College senior baseball infielder and physical therapy major Tim Quinlan (Masuk) has been named to the 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Division III baseball third team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The All-Academic team recognizes the nation’s top student athletes for their combined performances in the athletic realm and in the classroom. Nine of the 33 student-athletes selected have a perfect 4.00 cumulative GPA. The 11 members of the first team have an average cumulative GPA of 3.97 and the 33 student-athletes that make up all three teams have an average cumulative GPA of 3.84.

Tim played in 128 career games and set the new program standards for hits (176), RBI’s (125) and doubles (47). He scored 95 career runs (second all-time) and added 14 home runs (third all-time). He capped his career with a .369 batting average. He was a four-time Empire 8 All-Conference selection and a 2018 D3baseball.com All-Region pick.

Professionals

Alyssa Naeher (Seymour/Christian Heritage/Penn State) was set to backstop the US Women’s National Soccer Team on Tuesday against Thailand in the World Cup, past our deadline.

Hope Solo, a very good and very popular and very outspoken goalie for the US Women’s Team, isn’t on the field this year, but she’s been chippy on the airwaves and less than supportive of the coaching staff and downright catty about some of her former teammates.

Alyssa, on the other hand, has been the focused adult in the room, and her humility and honesty are incredibly refreshing for a professional athlete on the world stage. USA Today did an analytical piece comparing Solo’s stats with Alyssa’s, and in many important ways, Alyssa is the superior goalie.

For the moment, though, what a treat to watch Alyssa, a very visible local athlete, compete against the world’s best as the USA women work their way through the World Cup field.

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Have news about local athletes playing a college sport next fall? About a local baseball or soccer player going pro? About a baseball player in a summer league? Please share the news with us at john.addyman@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading College Notebook in VOICES.

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