March 16, 2009

Hanson and Balbach Grab NEC Weekly Honors

March 16, 2009

FAIRFIELD, CT - Senior first baseman Jeff Hanson (Woodstock, NY) and junior Jared Balbach (Pine Bush, NY) were both honored by the Northeast Conference today. Hanson grabbed his third straight Akadema/NEC Player of the Week award, while Balbach was named the Co-Pitcher of the Week.

Hanson's season-opening home run streak finally ended at five games, but the senior continued his hot hitting last week. Hanson batted .500 (14-for-28) with ten RBI over a six-game span on the second leg of the Pioneers' Florida trip. Sacred Heart's No. 3 batter recorded multiple hits in every game on the week, but one (1-0 loss to BGSU), which also marked the only game thus far this season he failed to reach base.

The right-handed power hitter opened the week with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate while driving in three runs in a 6-1 victory over Eastern Kentucky. Hanson ended the week just as hot as he started it. He produced six hits, two of which were home runs, as Sacred Heart scored 21 runs during the final two games of the trip. One of four Pioneers to homer in a 10-4 victory over Vermont, Hanson went 3-for-5 with a dinger, a double, and two RBI. Hanson, who is batting .553 in 11 starts this season, belted his seventh home run of the season as part of a three-hit, three-RBI day in a 12-11 loss to Army.

Balbach is the pitcher responsible for both of Sacred Heart's victories last week. The junior southpaw pitched to a 2.63 earned-run average and struck out 12 batters over 13.2 innings of winning baseball. Balbach, who allowed only one extra-base hit all week, limited Eastern Kentucky to three hits and one run in 7.0 innings of work during a 6-1 Pioneers' victory. The lefty preserved an early lead while scattering 11 hits and three runs over 6.2 innings on the way to a 10-4 triumph over Vermont.