Battle With The Birds: Pioneers Host LIU and Wagner
April 9, 2009
Heading In...The Pioneers host NEC opponents Wagner and Long Island to Pioneer Park for double headers on Easter week. SHU currently is tied for second in the Northeast Conference at 5-3. Sacred Heart will take on the two teams at opposite ends of the NEC standings as the Blackbirds (5-1 NEC) sit in first as the defending conference champions while the Seahawks have had a rough start to the conference schedule and are looking up at the rest of the pack.
Rough Road Trip... Sacred Heart has spent its last eight games away from Pioneer Park and compiled a 2-6 record and went 1-3 in NEC play. The Pioneers dropped both ends of a double header to Saint Francis (PA) but salvaged a split with Robert Morris after winning a 12 inning marathon in game two. Most recently SHU traveled to New Hampshire where they lost a pair of decision to Ivy League member Dartmouth.
Blackbird Power... Long Island enters the 2009 season as the three-time defending NEC regular season and tournament champions. They are lead this year by the slugging of Bianca Mejia who is hitting .400 with six homers and 18 runs batted in. Sacred Heart will look to defeat LIU for the first time since 2000. LIU took a pair from SHU last year in two tight contests, 8-6 and 1-0.
SHU’s Chance at Redemption... Last year the Pioneers and Seahawks split a pair of games that ultimately decided the playoff picture. Wagner would finish the regular season one game in front of SHU and claim the last playoff spot in 2008. This year Wagner has struggled early but should not be taken lightly with Andrea Lazzari’s .390 batting average and Kaelynn Armenta posting a 1.86 ERA through the first half of the year.
Froelich on Fire... The Pioneer leadoff hitter and center fielder has caught fire in the month April. The California native is batting .449 for the month with three homeruns as well as six runs scored and six RBI.
Unearned Runs... Sacred Heart continues to struggle in the field this year behind its starting pitching, despite raising its fielding percentage to .950. SHU has given up 46 unearned runs in 2009 and made several errors in pivotal spots last week.
Up Next... SHU will have a busy week as theytravel to Yale and Stony Brook for mid-week games before continuing NEC play next weekend at Mount St. Mary’s and Monmouth.