Trinity Baseball Opens NESCAC Championship Tournament Play Against Wesleyan Friday

Bantams will make their ninth appearance and first since 2013 in the NESCAC Championship Tournament
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Jed Robinson

Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College baseball team, which is 15-19 overall and finished second in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East Standings with a 7-5 division mark, will make its ninth appearance and its first since 2013 in the NESCAC Championship Tournament on May 13 to 15 at Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H.  The three-day, double-elimination event features the four-time NESCAC Champion Bantams, Amherst, Tufts, and Wesleyan. The Bantams, who swept a three-game series against Bates in late April to clinch its bid to the post-season, will play NESCAC West No. 1 seed Wesleyan on Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. and Tufts plays Amherst on the same day at 3 p.m. to open NESCAC Tournament play.

Trinity, coached by Bryan Adamski (3rd Season), returned from an eight-day, 10-game trip South for the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational with a 4-6 record and went 5-8 over its first 13 games up North to sit at 9-14 after a dropping every game of a three-game series at Tufts in mid-April.  Trinity turned its season around with a six-game winning streak that included a post-season-clinching, three-game sweep against Bates, but enters the NESCAC Championship Tourney on a five-game losing skid.  Tufts, ranked No. 3 in New England, won the NESCAC East at 11-1 and boasts a 26-6 overall mark, while Wesleyan and Amherst were 7-5 in the NESCAC West Division but the Cardinals took two of three against the Purple and White to earn the top seed.  Wesleyan is 22-10 overall, and Amherst, ranked No. 6 in New England, is 21-10 overall. The first round losers will play an elimination game on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and the winners will play at 2 p.m., followed by a second elimination game between the two remaining teams with a loss.  The last two teams remaining will face off on Sunday morning with the undefeated squad needing just one win to clinch the title.

The winner of the NESCAC Tourney earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.  The Bantams earned their first NESCAC title the hard way during the 2003 championship, as they won twice on the final day over host Amherst. Trinity's run to the 2008 championship was one part of a remarkable season in which the Bantams strung together an unbelievable 44-game winning streak to start the year and capped things off with an NCAA title in one of the greatest single seasons in NCAA sports history. Trinity's third NESCAC crown came a year later at Williams, as the Bantams went 3-0 over the three-day event.  In 2012, Trinity ran through the league tournament yet again, winning three games in a row by a combined score of 26-8.  Trinity has won five of the six games between the Bantams and the Cardinals in the NESCAC Tournament, but the Cardinals prevailed in the most recent meeting, 8-4, in Middletown, eliminating Trinity from the 2013 tournament.

The Trinity offense has batted a respectable .277 as a team this spring, led by junior SS Nick DiBenedetto (Fort Myers, Fla.) who ranks 10th in the NESCAC with a .365 average to go with seven doubles and 12 RBI.  First-year 1B John Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.) is hitting .324 with 27 runs, eight doubles, a league-high four triples, two homers, 12 RBI, and a team-high 19 walks for a .457 on-base percentage, while senior OF Nick Pezzella (Worcester, Mass.) adds a .319 batting average, 19 runs, three homers, 20 RBI, and a league-best 16 stolen bases in as many tries.  Senior 3B Dan Pidgeon (Darien, Conn.) is hitting .299 with 21 runs, team-highs of 10 doubles and 27 RBI, and three homers, while senior co-captain C Scott Cullinane (East Greenwich, R.I.) has a .265 average, 21 runs, and 14 RBI while catching 33 of Trinity's 34 games, and sophomore OF Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.) was an all-league honoree in 2015 and is hitting .253 with seven doubles and 16 RBI this year.

Trinity senior LHP Jed Robinson (Winchester, Mass.) leads the Bantam hurlers, having worked 56.1 innings and struck out 31 batters with 16 walks, a 2-1 record, one save, and a 4.63 ERA.  Sophomore RHP Anthony Egeln Jr. (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) has emerged as a solid starter, winning four of six decisions with a 4.47 ERA, 33 K's and 12 walks in 52.1 innings pitched, while senior southpaw Sam Jordan (Sherborn, Mass.) anchors the bullpen with a 3-3 record and 18 strikeouts in 18 appearances and 19 innings for a 3.32 ERA, and Pidgeon has two saves and 16 K's in nine appearances.