May 6, 2009
Heading In...This weekend the Pioneers will take the field at the NEC tournament for the first time in program history. The tournament will be double elimination as Sacred Heart opens play Friday at 12:15 as the #3 seed against #2 seed Robert Morris. The other first round matchup features the regular season NEC champion Long Island Blackbirds and the #4 seed Monmouth Hawks.
Heating Up at the Right Time... The Pioneers enter the 2009 NEC tournament riding a nine game winning streak, the programs longest win streak in Division I. Sacred Heart’s run began against Monmouth in a sweep of a mid-April double header to keep its season alive. SHU then rattled off two wins over Siena, Fairfield, Fairleigh Dickinson, and one against Bryant.
Russell Keeps Rolling... Sophomore Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) leads the NEC in ERA at 1.58 and is second against league average at 0.95. Russell went 4-0 in the Pioneers last four conference games, pitching both ends of each double header. She enters the postseason just as hot as the Pioneers winning her last seven decisions. Russell is third in the league in wins and strikeouts while holding hitters to a second best .201 batting average.
Froelich Leads the Way... Leadoff hitter and center fielder Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) is hitting .406 against conference opponents and also leads SHU in overall batting average at .338. Froelich also leads the Pioneers in slugging percentage, runs scored, doubles, and home runs.
Harvey’s Hit Streak... Senior Betsy Harvey (Unionville, CT) enters this weekends action with a six game hitting streak. The second baseman is nine for her last 17 with six runs scored and three RBI. In the Pioneers regular season finale her RBI single broke a 2-2 tie and provided the game winning run as the Pioneers extended their winning streak to nine games.
Lee Lights Up the NEC... First baseman Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) is hitting an impressive .410 against NEC pitching. She has also displayed her speed in conference action notching three triples and five stolen bases. The California native also boasts a .541 slugging percentage and a .438 on base percentage in NEC contests.
Vicente’s Glove... Sacred Heart third baseman Jasmin Vicente (Wantagh, NY) has had a defensively superb season leading the conference with a .976 fielding percentage. Perhaps more impressive is her error free perfect 1.000 percentage in NEC play.
Scoring First... In the Pioneers first 48 games this season the team that scores first as had a decisive advantage. Sacred Heart is 17-8 when pushing across the first run and 5-18 when the concede the first score.
Closing the Door... SHU has displayed its ability to finish games with a lead in 2009. The Pioneers are 21-1 when leading after six innings of play and have six one-run victories on the year.
Long Island Blackbirds: The Blackbirds enter the 2009 NEC tournament looking for their fourth consecutive league championship. LIU is led by the trio of Bianca Mejia, Blair Porter, and Jenny Giles.
Mejia is batting at a .404 clip on the year and has smashed 13 home runs and 31 RBI. She is slugging .742 and boasts a .486 OBP. Porter and Giles are the top pitching duo in the NEC. Porter is 8-1 in conference play with a 0.55 league ERA. Giles is undefeated against NEC schools, going 9-0 while holding opponents to a .203 batting average.
Robert Morris Colonials... Robert Morris is the last team other than LIU to claim the NEC crown, doing so in 2005. A glance at the Colonials stat sheet shows that two freshman, Jaci Timko and Alexa Bryson, have played key roles in RMU’s success.
Timko, the Colonial shortstop, has been a model of consistency hitting .388 both overall and against NEC opponents. She has popped eight round trippers and 29 RBI in her first collegiate season. Bryson has emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the NEC posting a league high 19 wins and a 1.65 ERA in league games. She has also struck out 184 batters in 2009, good for second place in the conference.
Monmouth Hawks... After missing the playoffs in 2007 the Hawks return to postseason play as the #4 seed in this years tournament. Monmouth has one of the most dangerous hitters in the league in its order in Emily deLong.
deLong was a three-time NEC player of the week in the regular season. The sophomore outfielder is batting .391 overall and slugged 15 dingers in 2009. She has an impressive cumulative slugging percentage of .917 and has posted a .650 mark against NEC opponents. deLong also possess dangerous speed, swiping a league high 19 bases while only being thrown out once.
Regular Season Matchups
Long Island (6-0) • Robert Morris (2-4) • Sacred Heart (3-3) • Monmouth (1-5)
Robert Morris 4, Sacred Heart 2 • Moon Township, PA • April 5
Sacred Heart 9, Robert Morris 6 (12) • Moon Township, PA • April 5
Long Island 2, Sacred Heart 1 • Fairfield, CT • April 13
Long Island 2, Sacred Heart 0 • Fairfield, CT • April 13
Sacred Heart 5, Monmouth 4 • West Long Branch, NJ • April 19
Sacred Heart 4, Monmouth 3 • West Long Branch, NJ • April 19