Baseball Journeys To Joust Jaspers Wednesday
Photo: Freshman Matt Hinchy
ALBANY, N.Y. – Coming off a series win over Hartford, the University at Albany baseball team travels to Manhattan for a midweek non-conference matchup Wednesday. The game will be played at 7:00 p.m. at Provident Bank Park, the home of the Rockland Boulders, in Pomona, N.Y.
SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES (16-16-1, 10-8 America East)
UAlbany comes off an exciting conference series win over Hartford. UAlbany exploded for 23 runs and 20 hits in game one, winning 23-8, before falling 11-5 in game two. In the series rubber match, junior Josh Nethaway broke a 9-9 stalemate in the bottom of the 12th inning with a walk-off double. The victory gave the Great Danes sole possession of second place in the conference standings with a 10-8 record. On the season, UAlbany is batting a collective .273 average led by Nethaway (.352), freshman Matt Hinchy (.344) and senior Nolan Gaige (.297). Defensively, the Danes are fielding .963, while the pitching staff owns a 5.15 earned run average.
THE UALBANY COACH: Jon Mueller (14th season, Eckerd College ‘92)
Jon Mueller is in his 14th season as the head coach of the University at Albany baseball program. The Stillwater, N.Y. native has had proven success as both a player and coach throughout his career. Mueller ranks first among UAlbany’s career leaders with 295 coaching victories, and was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2004. He also led the Danes to the program’s first America East Conference tournament championship title and NCAA appearance in 2007. Mueller has produced dozens of all-conference standouts and has had six players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft under his direction, including one in each of the past two seasons.
SCOUTING THE JASPERS (16-21, 6-9 MAAC)
Manhattan, the reigning MAAC Champion, looks to turn its luck around this week after being swept by conference foe Canisius in last weekend’s three-game series. The Jaspers will host NYIT Tuesday evening before meeting the Great Danes Wednesday. On the season, Manhattan is batting .241 collectively, led by Ramon Ortega (.313) and Nick Camastro (.271). Defensively, the Jaspers own a .968 fielding percentage and 5.24 ERA.
THE COACH: Jim Duffy (2nd season, Seton Hall ’01)
Jim Duffy was named the 25th head coach in Manhattan baseball history on August 24, 2011. He made a splash in his first year at the helm leading the Jaspers to their third Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship. The landmark season also featured the only undefeated home record in NCAA Division I in 2012 as the Jaspers recorded a perfect 18-0 mark at Van Cortlandt Park. The Jaspers made conference history in their title run by rallying through the elimination bracket of the MAAC Tournament. Duffy's club became the first team to win four games in three days to earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Manhattan was sent to the Columbia Regional to face two-time defending National Champion South Carolina.
NETHAWAY HONORED BY AMERICA EAST AGAIN
For the second time this season, junior Josh Nethaway was named the America East Player of the Week, announced by the league office Monday. Batting .500 (10-for-20) with a .750 slugging percentage, Nethaway led UAlbany to a 3-1 week, including a series win over Hartford. With one out in the bottom of the 12th inning, Nethaway played hero with his fourth hit of the game -- a walk-off game-winning double -- leading the Danes to a 10-9 victory over the Hawks in Sunday’s rubber match. In their 23-8 game one win against Hartford, Nethaway finished a triple shy of the cycle as he went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. The Fonda, N.Y. native pounded out a double, home run, and single in his first three at-bats. Nethaway also recorded multiple hits in UAlbany’s 8-6 win over St. John’s University -- the reigning BIG EAST champion and 2012 Super Regional participant. On the season, Nethaway owns a team-high .352 batting average with 12 doubles and three home runs, while also hitting .386 in conference play.
TOP HURLER OF THE WEEK
Making two appearances on the mound last week, senior Austin Chase earned wins in both outings, while boasting a 1.00 ERA. In UAlbany’s 8-6 triumph over St. John’s University -- the reigning BIG EAST champion and 2012 Super Regional participant -- Chase (4-3) earned the win, tossing the opening three frames, allowing one run and three hits, while striking out two. Chase also earned the win in UAlbany’s, 10-9, 12-inning series-clinching victory over Hartford. Chase did not allow any runs and struck out seven in the final six innings of the game.
TOP ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Freshman Matt Hinchy hit .333 (4-for-12) with three runs batted in, three runs scored, and lined a double in UAlbany’s series win over Hartford. As the designated hitter in all three games, Hinchy played a key role in setting the tone in UAlbany’s 23-8 series-opening win, belting a bases-clearing double with the bags full in the first inning and a single in his second at-bat. Hinchy also had a multi-hit performance in game two with a pair of singles, while scoring a run. On the season, Hinchy leads the team with a .429 batting average in conference play, while hitting .344 overall.
In UAlbany’s most recent series with Hartford, the Danes totaled 38 runs, 33 RBI, and 48 hits, including nine doubles, a triple, and two home runs across three games. The Great Danes also batted .397 as a squad with a .537 slugging percentage.
UAlbany head coach Jon Mueller now has 295 career wins. Mueller is in his 14th season at the helm and ranks first in UAlbany baseball coaching victories with a 295-399-5 record.
GAIGE’S RECORD-BREAKING HITS
With 229 career hits, senior Nolan Gaige ranks first in UAlbany’s Division I program history and is tied for first all-time. He is just one away from stealing Michael Oliva’s record (229: 1997-01). In addition, Gaige is UAlbany’s all-time triples leader with 15 in his career.
UAlbany returns to Varsity Field Saturday and Sunday, hosting UMBC for a three-game America East Conference series.